First time changing bass strings

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by fwguitar, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. fwguitar

    fwguitar Member

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    I've been playing bass for about a year and I'm due to change strings.
    First time I have to change strings on a bass.

    I heard flatwounds cause less string noise. Is there a downside to them?

    Also, do you have to cut the strings? I would think it's more difficult to do than on a guitar?
     
  2. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    I personally don't care for flats - tried 'em many times, and always take 'em back off - I much prefer the punch and clarity that I get from nickle rounds... Sure, flats cause less string noise, but that isn't an issue for me - flats also last for many years, whereas rounds need to be changes occasionally - so most see those as plusses...

    Yeah, you've pretty much gotta cut the strings for a proper installation, but it's not that hard - any decent pair of diagonal cutters will do... Make sure you leave enough length for 2-3 wraps around the post, and be careful not to put a twist on them...


    - georgestrings
     
  3. olejason

    olejason Supporting Member

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    Flats vs. rounds really just comes down to the sound/feel you want. IMO it is much easier to make rounds sound like flats than the other way around.

    Also keep in mind flats sound like absolute crap when they are new. You need to break them in quite a bit. It is not uncommon for people to buy used flats or to purposefully gunk up new strings with lotion or whatever. As far as string noise I wouldn't really worry about it. Even with super bright roundwounds I doubt the string noise is audible in the context of a mix.
     
  4. Lowlands Erik

    Lowlands Erik Member

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    I love La Bella 760FL flatwound strings.
    The feel great and sound great too.
    But it all depends on what you're looking for soundwise.
     
  5. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    Agreed on all of the above...


    - georgestrings
     
  6. Gotham City Blues

    Gotham City Blues Member

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    They have less finger noise due to their flat surface. The "up/downside" is that they're not as bright as rounds.

    You likely will have to cut the string but it's no big deal. Just make sure the windings don't come undone. I usually kink the string just before I make the cut to prevent this. Also, make sure the string isn't twisted going from the nut to the bridge. You don't change bass strings -you install them.
     
  7. fwguitar

    fwguitar Member

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    I just want a good all around bass sound.
    I play rock (anything from Pink Floyd to Metallica)
     
  8. retroLS1

    retroLS1 Supporting Member

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    You would be better served with a good set of round wound strings then. Check youtube for some video tutorials and tips installing them.
     
  9. windmill

    windmill Member

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    Whoa ! hold on there.

    One year ? You sure you you need to change them ?
    :)
     
  10. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Round wounds eat frets unless you've got stainless steel frets.
    Then stainless steel frets eat the strings.

    Yes they sound good, but countless bass players are going back to flats and black nylon wraps because of the way they record and reduce unwanted artifacts. It's a fatter smoother sound.

    You're talking like $34.00 to try a set.

    I strongly recommend D'Addario .105 Black Nylon Wraps for recording with any Fender. Slicky fast, quiet and a nice ring to them. The nylon wrap is over a round wound core.
     
  11. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Don't get me wrong I like nice round wound strings and for hard rock, metal you problably will want rounds wounds or maybe half rounds.

    What I said about eating frets is correct, but if you have a modern bass, it may have stainless frets, so its not an issue except for string life.

    I was changing strings every two weeks to a month playing full time.
    They broke before they wore out.

    The reason there's a Rick 4001 and then a 4003 is because all the guys who went down the Chris Squire route with Roto-sounds started noticing fret wear on their 4001s.
    The 4003's have stainless frets.
     
  12. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    I'd say the part in red is an extreme overstatement - especially if we're talking about nickle rounds... I've been playing for 35+ years, have played several thousand gigs - and have only worn frets down enough to need a fret job one ONE bass over all those years...

    Regarding the part in blue - to my knowledge, the number of flats players is miniscule when compared to those playing rounds...

    There isn't anything wrong with playing flats, but you're way over selling them here, IMO/IME...


    - georgestrings
     
  13. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    You are entitled to your opinion.

    That's actually a direct quote from my luthier.

    I had fret wear on every bass I own using round wounds.

    All my basses are vintage so I'm a bit more cautious.
     
  14. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    Honestly, I don't care what your luthier said - by far and away, rounds are more commonly used than any other string type... If what you're claiming is true, refret jobs would be getting done constantly, and every used bass on a rack would have beat frets...

    You're also entitled to your own opinion - but not your own reality... I get that some people really like flats, and that they have their uses - but you don't have to make wild claims to hype them...

    Also, if what you're saying is true, certainly no one would be able to use rounds on a fretless, right??? After all, if they eat frets like you say, surely they'd chew into a rosewood or maple fingerboard in one night of playing...


    - georgestrings
     
  15. wynsmth

    wynsmth Supporting Member

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    I agree 100% with georgestrings. 45+ years of playing myself. I use mainly stainless steel rounds & play a lot of funk & slap bass. It takes me years & years to get to where I need a fret level, let alone a re-fret. I also use rounds on all my fretless basses. To the OP, use what sounds best to you. I would much rather have my tone & do occasional maintenance than compromise. I also agree with what was said earlier in that I can emulate a flat wound sound with rounds. I cant emulate rounds with flats at all.
     
  16. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    Yup - agreed with the rounds can sound like flats, but flats can't sound like rounds part, as well...


    - georgestrings
     
  17. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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  18. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    wait what? of all the big established mainstream guitar companies, rickenbacker is the one that makes the leap to stainless frets?

    sorry man, you're on your own with this one! rounds are the "normal" bass string for most all kind of music, and basses stand up to them just fine; flats and especially those black tapewounds are a niche item.

    and yes, the OP will have to cut them, they're installed just like vintage fender guitar strings; cut a ways past the key (more for big fender keys), jam the end down in the hole, bend over, wind the key up.

    leave more length for fender A strings (so there's enough downforce over the nut) and just before you get the string tight push the ball end out of the bridge so that it's free to spin, which will untwist the string and improve the vibration.
     
  19. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Well, my gigging bass is an all original '74 4001 which has been strung up with SS Roto 66s for at least the last 30 years. Frets are original. Normal fret wear for a 41 year old bass.

    I have never heard and can't find anything anywhere which confirms modern 4003s using SS frets.
     
  20. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Literal LOL.

    Yes, the 4003 has been around for what, 20 years longer than SS frets have existed?
     

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