This sn't really a 'which strings should I get".

I've got an ibanez with fender flats (medium) and I like it but they seem to require more pressure to play well.

At lessons I use an ibanez the teacher has with whatever comes from the factory. I like them, teh sound and the feeling.

I had rotosound 66 medium on my 5 string, found them a tad 'hard' (to press).

I picked up a dean jeff berlin player and it's got decent strings on it - gold rings on the bridge if that helps ID them at all.

On to the question...
I was looking around at strings...Jeff Berlin plays DR DDT - drop tuning strings. Why? I don't the he plays drop tuning. He plays jazz mostly. Are these strings more 'pliable'?

Stainless lasts longer than nickel but from what I've read nickle is softer on the hands and louder (more ferrous metal for the pickups to read). So one wouldn't have to play 'as hard' to get the same volume, so that means there'd be more 'touch sensitivity' to nickel strings over SS?

Light vs med vs heavy - smaller scale basses seem to require higher gage strings. What's the tradeoff between diff gages? Are lighter ones (40-95 I suppose) 'easier' to play? Less thumpy?

Is the feel of 'balanced tension' strings different and how so?

I like how easy it is to press the strings on a 6 string and my hand/arm/wrist is tired from playing the bass (and I"m not remotely close a 3 hour gig type thing) so I'm sorta thinking 'easier to play strings' is what I want to try next and i"m just trying to determine what attributes affect that.
If I'm understanding, your question centers around string gauge. Here are some differences:

The lighter the string gauge, the easier it is to bend the string
Lighter gauge strings are easier to play
Lighter gauge strings are more prone to breakage
Lighter gauge strings cause more fretboard buzzing when neck action is low
Heavier gauge strings are more difficult to press down
Heavier gauge strings perform better in de-tuned situations (like "drop D tuning")
Heavier gauge strings provide more sustain, volume and a bigger sound

Having said that, there are differences by brand for the same gauge. String gauge is simply a measure of overall thickness, but each string has a core and then usually more than one layer of wire wrapped around that core. DR High Beam strings for example, have a smaller core and thicker wrap wire - as a result their standard gauge strings (45, 65, 85, 105) feel like a lighter gauge from another manufacturer - not as much tension because the core is smaller.

Ultimately you have to choose based on personal preference, but I can tell you from experience that your fingers, wrists, etc will get stronger over time. For years I played medium-light gauge (40, 60, 75, 95) and recently switched to standard (45, 65, 85, 105). It was a difficult adjustment at first, but now after playing "heavier" gauge strings for 3 months I have gained the extra strength necessary to use them, and I like the difference in tone.
What about half/ground wound and tape wound? I'm tempted to try some tape wound strings.

From my reading... light (35-95, 40-100) round core nickel seems to be the best option. I'll look at the hibeams, heard good things about them.

Tone is a thing I'm trying to get a grasp on...flats they say tend to be more percussive, rounds (particluarly ss) brighter, more 'piano' like. Flats were the string in the 60s and before and today it's more SS rounds. Entwistle being an early adopter of rounds.

I don't like a G string that sounds like it's not part of the 'set' of strings., if you know what I mean. Seems if one goes toward thumpy sounds the G gets goofy sounding in comparison.

what tone/sound am I going for? At this time I'm playing alone (aka practice) and want a 'guitar' sound, something more musical and melodic than percussive and thumpy.

I got a hand/finger excersizer today to help me build strength in my hands, well see how that changes things.
Every set of "Groundwound" bass strings I have tried have felt as if they have adhesive on them. Something about them makes them feel sticky. I do not recommend them.

A string with a hex core will probably feel less stiff that would a string with a solid round core.

You just have to try a bunch and find one that you like. Sadly, with the electric bass, that can be an expensive proposition.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Just trying to get some direction before 'investing' in strings.

My son like to play at slap and doesn't like the flats on the ibanez. If I go for tapewound he won't like them on the dean...I'd rather he play with the ibanez...

So maybe tapewound on the dean and some soft slim nickel on the ibanez. Not the best choice for slap but as it's a p/j copy.

If he keeps interested maybe a fender jazz...to go with the gibson les paul he wants ( and no, squier and epi won't do).
Last edited by prof_fate at Dec 10, 2013,