DIY: How to Choose Your Bass Strings
Veteran bassist and longtime PG contributor Steve Cook provides a no-nonsense guide to finding the best strings to fit your bass and playing style.
He works with varied types of bass strings, all by D’Addario, with flavors from snappy and bright to mellow and subdued. Along the way he investigates materials, coatings, and gauges. (Medium strings are probably what your bass wore when it left the factory.) Steve plays the same licks throughout the video, to be sure the focus is on the strings exclusively. And before launching into the experiment with his slightly modded Fender Precision Deluxe, he advises to always let you own ears make the judgement about what sounds right for you. (Did you hear that?)
First up: XL high-carbon steel-core strings with nickel-plated wrap wire. Then, it is warmer and fatter sounding Pro Steels, with a high-carbon steel core and stainless steel wrap wire. Those are followed by XL Chromes, with a high-carbon steel core, and a stainless steel-flattened ribbon wrap. The NYXLs that now arrive have a steel core and nickel-plated steel wrap wire. The XT Nickels on his bass have D’Addario’s XT coating and a steel core, with nickel-plated steel wrap wire. Following that, it’s XL half-rounds with a high-carbon steel core and pure nickel wrap wire, trailed by Nylon Tapewounds with a high-carbon steel core and a flattened black nylon wrap. And the next XLs, regular Nickels, have a high-carbon steel core and nickel-steel-plated wrap wire. Steve finally shifts to a second riff, to display the sounds of a slightly different approach. And then he starts snapping and popping, for the funkateers out there, followed by a walking bass line. And yes, he plays with a pick as well as his fingers.
By the time Steve’s finished, you hear all these string sets with a compendium of approaches. And then it’s your turn.
Signature strings from Slipknot's Jim Root designed for exceptional tuning stability and high-end clarity when tuning down.
Jim Root came to the Dunlop String Lab to design a set of strings that can handle blast-beat-driven grooves and extra twisted melodies from downtuned depths. Jim handpicked each gauge and core size to ensure peak performance, from feel and response to tuning stability.
“These strings give me what I need to get my sound, and they’re comfortable to play no matter what I throw at them,” Jim says. “They keep their high-end clarity for a long time, and they’re really consistent from one pack to the next—they never break on me.”
- Handpicked by Jim Root in the Dunlop String Lab
- Each gauge chosen for peak performance under intense playing conditions
- Designed for exceptional tuning stability and high-end clarity when tuning down
Dunlop Jim Root Signature Strings are available in Drop A and Drop B sets for $19.79 MSRP from your favorite retailers or directly online from www.jimdunlop.com.
Misfits' Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein Launches Von Frankenstein Monster Gear
Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein unveils a new line of strings, collaborating with Josh Vittek of Sheptone.
Von Frankenstein Nickel Plated Electric Guitar Strings are vacuum sealed individually in anti-corrosion bags with gauges clearly labeled for easy identification, an especially helpful feature for working guitarists. In addition to the traditional gauge sets, the Von Frankenstein line will include three sets of actual signature sets that Doyle uses personally. His Abominator set is made up of gauges .010/.013/.017/.028/.038/.060 and used almost exclusively with his band, Doyle. The Decapitaters (.010/.013/.018/.030/.042.065) and the Monsters (.010/.013/.017/.028/.038/.052) are used for performances with the Misfits.
Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein emerged from the fiery pits of New Jersey, the birthplace of the Misfits and a blood-soaked form of music called horror punk. In recent years, Doyle has made his own distinct mark on the genre with the inception of his self-monikered band. Doyle’s debut album, Abominator, was released by his own label, Monsterman Records in 2013 and followed by Doyle II: As We Die in 2017.
Each set includes a different free vinyl sticker, encouraging fans of Doyle and Misfits to collect them all. MSRP $13.99. For a closer look and to learn more about Von Frankenstein Monster Gear, visit www.vonfrankensteinmonstergear.com.