Guitar Musician News

Bass Guitar Strings

by on May.08, 2009, under General, Guitar Talk

Bass guitar strings are one of the most vital elements in the style, tone, and appearance of your instrument. There are several different types of strings made by dozens of different manufacturers, so it is important to have a good idea of what type of string is best suited to your play before you purchase a set.

Unlike guitars, bass strings are much less likely to break on a player. This is because of the much heavier gauge that allows the strings to make the deeper sound. Of course, the lighter strings may be prone to breakage, especially depending on your style of play. Aggressive play that includes a lot of slapping will mean that your strings break more often than players with a lighter style. If you do not play aggressively and find that you are having trouble with frequently breaking strings, you might want to check and make sure that you are stringing the bass guitar correctly in the first place; check your bridge to make sure the strings aren’t cutting on any sharp outcroppings.

Aside from breakage, basses may need their strings changed in order to maintain a sound that is clear and bright. Changing your strings for tonal maintenance will mean that the frequency you change the strings at depend on what you want to hear from your instrument and how often you play; some players may prefer the deader sound that well-used strings give off.

Types of Bass Strings

Bass guitar strings are classified according to how they are wound. Bass strings are actually made of two different strings; the core string and the winding string. The core string is pretty thick, while the winding string coils about the core in a wrapping pattern; this is why strings appear grooved.

Each type of bass string is named after the winding string used to wrap the core. Roundwound strings have a round shape, while flatround are created flat. Both will produce a different sound. Roundwounds sound very clear and are the most widely used type of string, as they can be applied to all sorts of musical styles. Flatround have flatter wrapping strings, and produce a mellower sound than roundwound. They are also very durable, as they have fewer grooves due to their broad makeup.

Re-using Bass Strings

Because of the durability of bass guitar strings, they do not have to be replaced as often as those used on acoustic and electric guitars. In fact, many players find that they can regain some of the brightness of the strings just by cleaning them. To do this, denatured alcohol is used (do not use water, as it will rust the strings). All the musician has to do is soak the strings in the solution for a half a day or more.

Because bass guitar strings are so important to your individual sound, it is best to gain a lot of knowledge about the way you play each type of string. As noted above, some players might find that they prefer the deader sound of old strings. When changing your strings, make sure not to bump your bass guitar pickups out of position!


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