We're constantly asked about bass strings, and are on a constant project to match up the basses in the showroom with strings that show them off at their best. As jazz players, classical players, and period-performance players, we have personal experience with a large number of brands on a wide variety of basses.
Here you'll find:
A chart listing the CHARACTERISTICS of the major brands of strings, listed alphabetically by brand.
Our exclusive, innovative BASS STRING CHOOSER for suggestions of strings brands for your bass and playing style!
Even MORE suggestions for strings for special situations (bottom of this page)!
Coming soon: better than a string color identification key: ACTUAL PHOTOS of nearly every brand of bass string!! No more deciphering by graphic or verbal description!
We supply a huge selection of quality bass strings at the best prices of any authorized dealer: CLICK HERE to shop on our web store.
What strings should I get? Try our INTERACTIVE BASS STRINGS CHOOSER!!
Strings for School Basses
School basses need strings that help students sound good: clean string crossings, quick articulation - that make bad basses sound better, and that are durable and cost-effective.
- Eurosonic chromesteel light gauge
- Corelli 370M
- Spirocore - ask your district to buy the 10-set bulk pack to make them cost-effective. They will outlast virtually all other brands, saving replacement costs.
NOT RECOMMENDED: Using Helicore Orchestra as a default string on all the school basses of the world. Choose these strings if they offer the sound you want - they do meet the cost-effective requirement, but are not the easiest for beginners to play.
Strings for fractional basses
It's essential to use the correct size string on your small bass! And, it's essential for beginners to have fresh strings - it's a challenge to start playing the bass, and dead strings are an uphill battle beginners don't need. Here are some that are very well-engineered at each size:
- Eurosonic: down to 1/10 size
- Corelli: down to 1/10 size
- Prelude: down to 1/8 size
- D'Addario special-order strings for 1/16 size
- SPIROCORE is available in 1/2 and 1/4 size - we recommend these for adults or experienced young players who prefer small-sized basses. They make the basses sound loud and have more low end.
Strings for horrible basses
Putting horrible strings on a horrible bass is a culmination of evils. When you're stuck with THAT bass that belongs to your school, recording studio, cruise ship etc - when its owners are not going to pay to fix or replace it - when you're on tour and everyone else in the band gets to bring his own instrument, but you're at the mercy of whatever warped-neck plywood the promoter rented because it was cheap. Your uncle gives you his old bass that's been in his garage since the 1970's, therefore your parents are not going to get you another bass -
it sounds totally dead and the strings are an inch off the fingerboard. THAT horrible bass. Fine strings like Bel Canto and Oliv that sound amazing on great basses are casting pearls before swine in this instance. Here are some that help:
- Evah Pirazzi Weich has a practically miraculous effect on basses that are dead or vacant-sounding.
- Spirocore makes basses sound louder and have more sustain. The Weich gauge can exacerbate a thin, metallic sound, though. Usually a good fit for older, carved basses.
- Try Zyex if you are trying to boost a Kay or Engelhardt for jazz or bluegrass playing.
- Pirastro Flat ChromeSteel (not to be confused with the more-expensive, darker sounding Original FlatChrome) has given very good results for arco playing on plywood basses. Makes the bass loud, clear, and full-sounding. If the strings are too high off the fingerboard, though, choose the Evah Weich set instead - Flat ChromeSteel will be too tight.
- Helicore Hybrid makes basses louder and more open. Cost-effective for when you are having to buy strings for a bass you don't own. Works for arco and pizz (hence the name).