#1
Over the past few years I've spent more on strings than my entire rig combined, just through experimenting with different types (to the great displeasure of my ATK's trussrod.) But money is shorter now so I'd rather find out before I give someone some money.

1. Gold plated strings, e.g. optima gold, are they just a gimmick or do they help?

2. Rotosound 99s (Piano String Design), the core rests on the bridge rather than the coiled wire. Does this affect the tone noticeably?

3. How do coated strings work? And which is better, coated or chrome/gold plated?

4. Rickenback own-brands, any good? Or are they total shite like Fender's.

5. Is there a difference between pressure wound strings (e.g. Roto 55s) and normal flatwounds (e.g. 77s) that is actually noticeable?

6. Are groundwounds closer to roundwound or flatwound in terms of tone?

Feel free to just shout your favourite strings, just remember to say why. So far my favourites have been good ol' Roto 66s. They aren't perfect as they too harsh (on the ears, fingers and frets) for the first few days of use and they did a little to quickly.

Ta x
Last edited by Spaz91 at Jun 19, 2010,
#3
d'addario phosphor bronze are my personal favorite they last me quite good time about a month or so(which is good considering i play quite alot) they seem to go well with my sweat and skin because they dont get dirty or rusty after playing with them a problem i had with some other brands
even after their prime they still sound good but the first few days is like tone heaven
i use medium gauge btw on my acoustic
#4
I use DR Low Riders because of the punch and the long life of them.

In fact I haven't swapped them out in three months.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#5
Quote by Spaz91
Over the past few years I've spent more on strings than my entire rig combined, just through experimenting with different types (to the great displeasure of my ATK's trussrod.) But money is shorter now so I'd rather find out before I give someone some money.

1. Gold plated strings, e.g. optima gold, are they just a gimmick or do they help?

2. Rotosound 99s (Piano String Design), the core rests on the bridge rather than the coiled wire. Does this affect the tone noticeably?

3. How do coated strings work? And which is better, coated or chrome/gold plated?

4. Rickenback own-brands, any good? Or are they total shite like Fender's.

5. Is there a difference between pressure wound strings (e.g. Roto 55s) and normal flatwounds (e.g. 77s) that is actually noticeable?

6. Are groundwounds closer to roundwound or flatwound in terms of tone?

Feel free to just shout your favourite strings, just remember to say why. So far my favourites have been good ol' Roto 66s. They aren't perfect as they too harsh (on the ears, fingers and frets) for the first few days of use and they did a little to quickly.

Ta x


I'll try to take your questions one at a time:

1.) Gold is a better conductor of electricity than a lot of other metals, so gold plating may increase the efficiency of how the pickups transmit the vibrations of the string. Optima strings are made to very high standards in small quantities in Germany. They are ruinously expensive and I suspect the price reflects they way they are made and their limited quantities rather than the gold plating. Dean Markley Randy Jackson Alchemist strings are gold plated and cost about 1/4 of what a set of Optima strings sell for.

2.) Taper core strings and bare core strings like the Rotosound Piano wounds are supposed to allow for much greater vibration across the length of the string. They certainly make it easier to set the intonation accurately; particularly with short-travel bridge saddles like those found on a lot of Ibanez basses. Some people swear by them while others find that they don't make much difference.

3.) Coated strings use a micro-thin polyester coating (the original Elixirs used the same material as found in Gore-Tex) to prevent dirt, oils and corrosion from getting into the string windings. This is what makes them last longer. Different companies use different versions of the coating material, but they all do the same thing. The coating is better at protecting the strings from dirt and corrosion than either gold or chrome plating.

4.) I have no experience with Rickenbacker's strings. I've never seen them for sale in a shop. I doubt that they make their own strings; rather, they buy strings from someone else and re-brand them as their own. This is what Carvin does for their bass strings. Carvin bass strings are made by La Bella.

5.) Pressure Wound strings are slightly flattened roundwound strings (at least GHS Pressure Wounds are). They are smoother than roundwound strings, but not so much as groundwounds. They cut down on finger squeak when you slide your fingers up and down the strings.

6.) Groundwounds are closer to roundwounds than flatwounds in tone.

I prefer nickel-plated strings to stainless steel, but I've got stainless Rotosound Swing Bass 66's on a few of my basses right now and they sound great. All of the major brands make good strings, and you have to try as many of them as possible to see which ones you like. I find most nickel-plated strings sound brighter and more lively than stainless, and they feel better on my fingers. A lot of stainless steel strings are real cheese graters and some people like that. Try the GHS Boomers, Dean Markley Nickel Steels and Rotosound nickel-plated Swing Bass 66's for starters. Sadly, any bass string is going to cost a fair amount of money and some (like the Optima or some of the offerings by Thomastik-Infield) are insane. But hey, that's the price of being a bass player.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jun 20, 2010,
#6
^While gold is a good conductor, it's audio based properties are of great debate. It's more it's corrosion resistance which is the biggest benefit of the strings. In fact, I wouldn't have thought that the conductivity would have anything to do with it since magnetic pickups pick up the vibrations of the magnetic strings, which causes the magnetic flux to fluctuate, which causes the wire coil to produce alternating current. It has nothing to do with conductive materials of the string. Gold is a piss-poor magnet, so I highly doubt it will be a pure gold coating either.
#7
Quote by Spaz91
1. Gold plated strings, e.g. optima gold, are they just a gimmick or do they help?

2. Rotosound 99s (Piano String Design), the core rests on the bridge rather than the coiled wire. Does this affect the tone noticeably?

3. How do coated strings work? And which is better, coated or chrome/gold plated?

4. Rickenback own-brands, any good? Or are they total shite like Fender's.

5. Is there a difference between pressure wound strings (e.g. Roto 55s) and normal flatwounds (e.g. 77s) that is actually noticeable?

6. Are groundwounds closer to roundwound or flatwound in terms of tone?


1. Optima Golds are great. I swear by the things. Definitely not a gimmick. Yes, even on eBay they cost 3 times as much as most brands, but last 3 times as long. And even after they're dead, they will be very usable for a long time. I've had the same set on my Spector for the past 3 months, and they still sound good, albeit not as good as new ones.

2. They're supposed to be even brighter than their normal rounds. I've never tried them though

3. They have a plastic coating that protects the strings from the sweat, dirt, and grime that makes strings go dead, so they last longer. This coating can range from thick and plasticy (Rotos) to thing and almost unnoticeable (Elixers, DRs). I used to use DR Extra Lifes a lot before I discovered Optimas. As for which is better, that's very subjective, and depends on the string. Roto's coated strings are... odd. Not bad, but weird. Weird feel (really slick, since the coating is very thick), weird tone (that thick coating muffles a lot of the treble, but they have a lot of midrange. Unlike anything I've ever tried), and weird silks (each string has a different colored wrapping). DR Extra Lifes, on the other hand, last just as long and have a far thinner coating, and sound almost the same as normal DR round wounds.

Gold plated strings are very bright and crunchy, but not overwhelmingly so (at least IMO). I absolutely LOVE them.

4. No idea

5.Yes, definitely. Pressure wounds are closer to rounds than flats. In fact, IIRC most DR strings are pressure wound

6. In theory, they're supposed to be half way in between. I've never used them, but a lot of people complain they sound more like really dead rounds then a true hybrid
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#8
Since the questions have mostly been answered, i'll just say i'm using a set of Roto 77's jazz strings, I like them better then 66's

Also, I think Roto 99's are supposed to be brighter and louder, Paul McCartney used to steal piano strings off the club that they played at before the Beatles were famous.
#9
I think I'm going to go for either Roto 99s or DR Low Riders. I've had 99s before but I strung them up wrong (i.e. no contact core) but at the very least they were as good as 66s. I like the sound of higher tension strings too as it might help with my slightly sloppy technique.

Edit: I'll need another set up once I get them, though. Anyone know a good guitar multi-tool that won't break the bank?