Some people change them before every gig, some never change them. Some keep a huge supply of favorites; some use only one kind and go get them when they need them.
So, what am I talking about? Socks? Women? Condoms? No, I’m talking about strings! Bass strings to be exact, and the MANY different kinds available (and knowing me by know, my feelings about them).
Ah yes, the simple bass string. Simple? Uh….no. We have a choice of round wound, flat wound, tape wound, round core, hex core, nickel, stainless steel, bronze, nylon, frozen, thawed, hermetically sealed, coated, blue ones, pink ones, green ones, black ones, not coated…..whew!
ALL of the above might work for you. You can spend years and LOTSA money trying to find the right bass string on your own, or less time and money perhaps checking out the players in the style you play and see what they use (though a LOT of top players have endorsement deals to SAY what they use).
I truly encourage you to look at and try a number of bass strings, I have and I’ve settled on a brand that I REALLY enjoy. I used to be a Roto-Sound guy, very happy with their strings AFTER they were worn in for awhile. First play after installation, I found them to be rather sharp feeling to my fingers. After a number of gigs, they felt better after I left some skin in the grooves, preferably after eating a piece of chicken.
Now days, I’m a HUGE fan of a string company you’ve probably never heard of, but will, I’m sure, very soon. Go on the internet and check out RND Strings.com. RND is run by one of the nicest and most knowledgeable of people; Bobby Diamond (bobbydiamondmusic.com). Bobby get’s a lot of his string expertise from years of experience (he’s a killer guitarist) on the road with Dr. John and from being a first call session player in Chicago.
Google up Roscoe Beck…he loves RND’s. According to Bobby, he and a lot of players he talked to were really tired of strings made poorly; either with a bad finish, or out of obviously poor material. So, about four years ago, a number of heavyweights from the music biz, the metal (as in materials, not the music) biz and even a guy who has a lot to do with nuclear submarines got together. They discussed material properties, winding pressure, the spacing of said windings (these guys measure winding space by the mm, nice and tight, so the crap from your hands won’t find it’s way through the windings to the core, thereby affecting the tone), studied the best and worst qualities of strings from Tomastic, Pearse, Markley (both frozen and thawed) and Pyramid. They researched what causes finger fatigue, invested a lot of time and a LOT of money and finally came up with a round core, nickel/stainless string that I would call a winner.
Now I’m not an owner, principle, or even a MASCOT for RND, but I appreciate a good product when I play one (remember the Ibenez SR bass? I gushed over them and Ibenez never sent me one, which is fine with me. A good product deserves praise). Do I play RND strings? NOW I do (I pay for them), and you should certainly give them a try. They feel friendly from the time they go on your bass and their tone lasts for quite awhile. Oh yeah…they don’t come in pink…
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