In all my years of plugging away on bass i've never really strayed from using D'Addario strings. It is my preferred guitar string, but bass is a different animal and now it's restring time i'm seeking out options.

I'm primarily a guitarist, but I record heaps in my home studio and it's crucial to have a well sorted bass at my disposal. On average i'll probably play my bass an hour a week, and I want strings that'll last a year without their tone falling in a heap.

Mine is a '62 reissue P-Bass, running a regular E tuning 1/4 of the time, half a step down the other 3/4 of the time. I like funky/perky basslines, but always with a footed in rock. I hate flappy strings, but don't like my strings too beefy either. Always DI'ed and plugged through an Ampeg SVT simulator.

So what brands/guages can you recommend?
Last edited by ravenhaller at Mar 22, 2012,
I'm not really sure which strings you'd like specifically but I use Rotosound 66 Swingbass. I've had D'Addario strings before but I prefer Rotosound for bass.
Rotosound get another vote from me.

I've tried near enough all the big brands, but Rotosound just trump them all for me. I use these strings specifically, but I've found all of their strings I've tried to be great.

I've never had a single packet with a duff string in (and I've had them from other main brands despite having bought way more Rotosound than anything else), they sound great, and they feel great on the fingers even when completely fresh (none of that nasty resistance that I often feel on certain other brands when new, Ernie Ball being a prime example).

They're at least as durable as other brands, probably more in my experience... though it has been a long time since I let a set get dead, I've got into a (fairly expensive) habit of replacing strings every month or so on my main bass at the moment, though the great thing about Rotosound strings is that they're really well priced around here compared to other leading brands, but that may be because they're made in England and the others are all imported, so I guess it depends where you live.

Really it's all subjective, especially when it comes to strings, you'll find people that swear by many different brands, and at the end of the day, you probably can't go wrong with any leading brand. The only way to truly know what works for you is to try them all out, though if I were to recommend one to try first based on my own experiences it's definitely got to be Rotosound.
Last edited by Ziphoblat at Mar 22, 2012,
and a third vote for rotosound. after a week of playing when they're just past their sharp twangy there is nothing better imo.
EDIT:^^ i used those strings for a while when i got a set for free from a bass magazine and found them to stay at a more desireable tone longer than the swing 66's but the tone outright was never at the point that the 66's had
Last edited by moody git at Mar 22, 2012,
has anyone tried "magma" strings? they're made here in Argentina, but they made it to NAMM 2012, so they may be available in USA. those are the ones I use, and they're balanced, and are lasting pretty well after 3/4 months of use.

still, I'd like to know about other brands, particularly about the long lasting strings available...
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Can't go wrong with roto 66's, although not everybody enjoys how the sound fresh out of the pack.

Also, I've always liked Roto's 55's, but they're pressurewound, so you might want to try them before you buy some.

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Roto 66s are good, I used to use them a lot myself and still recommend them to people. They wont sound the same for a year though, expecting any set of rounds to do that is a bit thick. Personally at the moment I'm using La Bella steels and Fodera Steels. I've had the Foderas on for a few weeks now and they still feel and sound fresh and they've been caked in a lot of sweat and gunge in that time. I've got high hopes. No real comment on the La Bellas so far but they sound nice, haven't played that bass a lot lately.
What I'd really recommend are flatwounds. They last forever and marry to a P bass very nicely. I've got some breed of La Bella flats on my P at the moment and they just work for that bass. If you're not into slapping I say go for some flats.
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I bought a D'Addario halfround set recently - the first set I've had to buy. They sound fine, but they feel very rough to me. All of my stock strings, plus whatever new set my Zodiac's previous owner put on that - which might have been Rotosound come to think of it - have felt far smoother. They and my other strings are all roundwound. I expected halfround to feel smoother, if anything. Maybe I just have to use them a little more.
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Last edited by GAPendragon at Mar 23, 2012,
Here's another vote for the Rotosound swing 66's

I've used them ever since I started playing. I tried some other brands, flatwounds, pressurewounds, tapewound but I always came back to Rotosound. They give me the sound wich comes closest to the sound I hear in my head of how my bass should sound.

They can be kinda hard on the fingers at first, but you'll get used to it.
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Roto 66's are on the hit list.

So what guage to use? I play 10-52 on guitar, and want the equivilent on bass - not too flappy and light, but not so heavy they're a chore to play.
Roto Swing 66's. Been using them since 1979. I change my strings 4 times a year.

Edit: btw, if you play rock don't waste your time on flats. just sayin'

Edit: 105 - 45, standard (med) gauge. : )
Last edited by 83lespaulstudio at Mar 23, 2012,
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Edit: btw, if you play rock don't waste your time on flats. just sayin'

You can't really use blanket statements like that. I play what is technically a form of extreme metal and I use flats almost exclusively.
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You can't really use blanket statements like that. I play what is technically a form of extreme metal and I use flats almost exclusively.


On my mustang I used roto Short scale flats, seemed fine.

On my Bronco, I use the basic fender Round short scale strings, bright and zingy.

I've used Fender long scales round and flat and both were fine.

I've used the ernie balls rounds worked as well.

I've used d'addario chromes (flats) on my basses and three of my guitars and love them. They are great on a jazz bass and P bass, they are also a good transition or "middle ground" flat, they last like a flat, do mellow fundamental thump, but start with a good brightness, and kept it better than the roto flats I used.

Edit: mostly played in standard or half step down, anything from pop, vintage style songs, and metal. I've not been a big down tuner, but my introduction into darker styles is changing that.
Last edited by askrere at Mar 23, 2012,
I use DR-Neon strings, Got my current bass about 9 months ago and fitted it with the DR's, still sound great now. Bit pricey and not the prettiest (depending on the guitar, very brightly coloured strings) but are extremely durable. For coated strings they sound great tho.
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I use DR-Neon strings, Got my current bass about 9 months ago and fitted it with the DR's, still sound great now. Bit pricey and not the prettiest (depending on the guitar, very brightly coloured strings) but are extremely durable. For coated strings they sound great tho.

Generally those are considered gimicky and sub par. Unless you have a burning desire/need for pink or green strings.
Id recomend flats. They never die. James Jamerson never changed strings unless they broke.
And you can get a variaty of tones too. Steve Harris for example.

Roto 66's die too quickly I find. They only last a month or two. DR strings are good too from what I hear. Look into their Hi-Beams series or Marcus sigs.
^ People always go on about how long DR strings last. I tried a couple of sets and that just wasn't my experience. They're my string of choice on guitar (which I rarely play) but I think that their bass strings were a bit of an afterthought. I'd also be willing to wager that a set of DR's will not last anywhere near twice as long as a set of Rotosounds, but (here at least) they come at twice the price.
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