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Best Bass Guitar Strings for a 5 String
Old 19th November 2009
  #1
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Best Bass Guitar Strings for a 5 String

I Have a SDGR Ibanez 5 string bass. I dont know much about guitars but I do know the 2 most talked about are the P Bass and Jazz bass guitars. I dont know what sound this Bass guitar would be closer to but I need to get some new strings for it. I bought it used and never changed the strings on it and there are so many choices between brands,flat or round wound and gauage type. It has round wound right now. I was never crazy about learning the bass because it just felt big and clunky until the other day I played a 4 string Fender Jazz bass and I dont know if it was the strings but it just felt some much more comfortable to me.

I was told by this bass player that Elixir bass strings are the best. What can yall recomend as far as guage,round or flat, and brand for this guitar?
Old 19th November 2009
  #2
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I got endorsed by Ernie Ball so I use those. And honestly, they sound great. The best bass strings are new ones. The worst are old ones. That is really all you need to worry about. GHS Boomers are also really good as another option.

I had that Ibanez years ago. It is definitley best to use rounds. I used Boomers on it.
Old 19th November 2009
  #3
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JaeOne3345's Avatar
 

I put D'Addario Chrome flatwounds on both my P and my J.

I mainly got the bass to add some licks to my tracks and I admit I am still not the best player. Still learning. I like the sound of the flats and they also work out well because they have less string noise which is a plus for me during recording. An experienced player will say "well you just need to work on your technique!" which is also true, but hey!

I run my bass thru a Sansamp VT Bass (svt emulation) pedal. People sleep on this pedal. I run medium gauge strings.

For me, flat wounds, good amp/simulator, highs rolled off = fat.
Old 19th November 2009
  #4
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all strings are pretty much the same except don't buy D&R or coated

there are only a couple factories that actually make strings
70% of the companies just repackage them their logo/label
it's mostly OEM.........

juststrings.com has the best variety though. Call them
they will give you the whole story but who knows they may try to
'sell' you one brand but I doubt it they sell their own which
are ok

I usually buy whats on sale since I know they are pretty much the same
and I am not endorsed. But I like ernie ball cuz I like the packaging colors the best
Old 19th November 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
The best bass strings are new ones. The worst are old ones. That is really all you need to worry about.
Wrong. There is no right answer, especially not one so pat as that. Some of the best bass sounds I've recorded have been on flats with 12 years of chicken grease and nicotine on the strings. Other times it's been awesome to hear the bell like piano tones of brand new rounds. It depends what you are going for. Since this is the hip hop area I'm going out on a limb and assume you might like old school funk. That's flats all the way. However, slap/pop stuff is often used with rounds. Whatever floats your boat. I slap on a PJ fretless with thomastick flats, not too old but that's only because I changed them a few months ago from the 10 year old strings I had on there. I changed 'em for the tension and feel change more than the sound.
Old 19th November 2009
  #6
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moonpi's Avatar
 

DR Hi-Beams

DR Hi-Beams.

I'm not going to say they are "the best"... But I will say that they are the best I have found, hands down.

DR used to run an ad that showed "This" (a rack of really esoteric and expensive gear) "Or This" (a pack of DR Strings). I thought that was silly, but still put it to the test. I had tried EVERYTHING available at the time short of Thomastik Infeld, and the DR had a depth, sustain, and general "even-ness" of tone that I have never gotten over. Aside from some flatwounds that I've purchased, I've never needed to purchase another brand of bass string when it comes to roundwounds.

Ultimately, though, it's going to come down to your bass and what it matches up with.
Old 19th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkbirge View Post
Wrong. There is no right answer, especially not one so pat as that. Some of the best bass sounds I've recorded have been on flats with 12 years of chicken grease and nicotine on the strings. Other times it's been awesome to hear the bell like piano tones of brand new rounds. It depends what you are going for. Since this is the hip hop area I'm going out on a limb and assume you might like old school funk. That's flats all the way. However, slap/pop stuff is often used with rounds. Whatever floats your boat. I slap on a PJ fretless with thomastick flats, not too old but that's only because I changed them a few months ago from the 10 year old strings I had on there. I changed 'em for the tension and feel change more than the sound.
I'm not wrong. I don't know if you record for a living, but try going into a session with old strings. I have never seen it be well received. Considering the context of this guy's post, I think the worst thing to do is saturate him with a million brands and argue which are best. Old School funk is not always great with old strings either. In fact, many times it does not cut through the mix at all or you simply break the strings after slapping and popping for 32 bars. So just to say "wrong" like we are on the Mclaughlin Group is not needed. The guy has an Ibanez Sdgr bass. I have owned this very bass and it's not fretless, or a Fender style bass. It has active pickups and sounds at its best when you have new strings on it.

I am just trying to be specific and answer pertaining to the gear he posted that he has. Trust me, this bass is best with new strings. If it was a PBass, or JBass we could have a lively debate with many correct answers, but probably not in this case.
Old 19th November 2009
  #8
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I have been playing bass for almost 20 years. I have used a lot of different strings and my favorites are Rotosound, Elixers, Labella, Thomastiks. I could use anything in a pinch. I find I break more GHS strings than any other and I don't use a pick.
Nickel alloy strings will be easier on your frets and neck. Normally roundwounds is what you want. Gauge of the strings is more up to the bass. If the low B is too heavy for the neck you can get some bowing going on. On 5 strings I like medium lights.

Asfar as new strings are the best, its subjective like everything else. I knew this session player that was awesome and NEVER changed his strings on his 5'er. They were rusted and grimey, red black with dirt. It was the fattest dub style bass ever with no eq!! His bass would not have worked with rock, but he wasn't doing rock gigs so that didn't matter. On my 5 I rarely change the strings, but on my fender 4 string for rock I change them about 3-4 times a years depending on how much I am gigging out and sweating on them.

Mosdef check out juststrings.com, great deals!!
Old 19th November 2009
  #9
You are right, he doesn't need a zillion brand name solutions thrown at him, what he needs to do is figure out the sound he likes and then ask the question again.

I agree with a lot of what you said but I still strongly disagree with 'new strings good, old strings bad'. I wasn't saying old school funk has to have old strings or even really that it has to be flats but the history is there for arguing using flats, at least with finger funk styles. The sound for popping is usually rounds I'll grant you that and I'll also agree if you are using rounds, newish is often best (but not always!). Brand new out of the box rounds sound like crap to me though. My PJ is active as well though I can switch it to passive and a couple other of my basses, a music man mixed with a P kind of thing and also the lipstick danelectro sound. New strings don't always sound better. I'm not making my bread with playing sessions now but I used to and I never once had anyone say anything about strings. I have heard 'bring a P bass' from people but never a debate about strings. Those debates are always among players. That's my experience on both sides of the glass over 25 years.

So anyway, no McLaughlin group here, sorry for coming across harsh even though I disagree with your first post. I am mainly in agreement with the second and I'll have to defer to your Ibanez Soundgear firsthand knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
I'm not wrong. I don't know if you record for a living, but try going into a session with old strings. I have never seen it be well received. Considering the context of this guy's post, I think the worst thing to do is saturate him with a million brands and argue which are best. Old School funk is not always great with old strings either. In fact, many times it does not cut through the mix at all or you simply break the strings after slapping and popping for 32 bars. So just to say "wrong" like we are on the Mclaughlin Group is not needed. The guy has an Ibanez Sdgr bass. I have owned this very bass and it's not fretless, or a Fender style bass. It has active pickups and sounds at its best when you have new strings on it.

I am just trying to be specific and answer pertaining to the gear he posted that he has. Trust me, this bass is best with new strings. If it was a PBass, or JBass we could have a lively debate with many correct answers, but probably not in this case.
Old 20th November 2009
  #10
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Thankx all of yall for keeping the post on topic and trying to help. Is there anyway some of yall could post some examples of tracks youve done with live bass and describe what you used for it?
Heres a couple examps of what I looking for

YouTube - Beanie Sigel - "Nothing Like It" (Instrumental)[Full]

YouTube - Slaughterhouse - Move On

YouTube - Slaughterhouse ft M.O.P - Woodstock

YouTube - Clipse - Cot damn instrumental
Old 20th November 2009
  #11
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I have played bass on beats for a lot of sluts. Once I get enough mixed ones back I will have a web page with audio examples posted.
Old 21st November 2009
  #12
Gear Maniac
DR Hi Beam +2, if you're looking for a modern sound.
Old 21st November 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
I have played bass on beats for a lot of sluts. Once I get enough mixed ones back I will have a web page with audio examples posted.
Appreciate that. Are the DRs sound any differet than elixir? I want punchy and round like the tracks I posted?
Old 21st November 2009
  #14
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GHS Boomers can get your tone punchy and round just fine. I just remembered that I posted a quick audio example in a thread I made. It was called bass for sluts or something like that if you do a search. That was Ernie Ball strings.
Old 4th December 2009
  #15
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Yo this is the tone I want. It tight,punchy but has a nice tight controlled low end but you can feel it your chest. What strings can give me this? And obviously aint just strings. How do I go about getting this tone?
Old 4th December 2009
  #16
TTB
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Here's 2 I did

First bass is a 1978 fender P-Bass strung with Labella Flat wounds (The Jamerson set) the song in the middle of the video is a 2001 USA Fender Jazz strung with Dean Markley strings.


YouTube - ROCA DOLLA: AZ RAPPER


..

Last edited by TTB; 4th December 2009 at 05:34 PM.. Reason: added link
Old 4th December 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiroy View Post
Yo this is the tone I want. It tight,punchy but has a nice tight controlled low end but you can feel it your chest. What strings can give me this? And obviously aint just strings. How do I go about getting this tone?
Ok, the first link. The bass is not heavily boosted in the lows. It will have more of a midrange thing going on from 100 to 250hz, so arrange accordingly. There also is probably a boost around 800-1k..so sweep through there, but avoid any clickiness...if you hear that, you went too far.

It is almost for sure a Fender Bass..sounds like a PBass. Regardless it is tough to replicate the sound of a good Fender bass, which is why I play them . You could probably get this particular tone with a Warwick though, because it is growling like crazy.

What you can try on your bass is boosting your low mids a little and keeping the lows cut a hair..do this on your bass guitar. The highs will not need to be pushed too hard.

The biggest aspect of this tone is that it is quite distorted. You will want to use 1 track and distort that track with your favorite plug or hardware.

Roll off the highs also with a Low pass filter also. Start at 3k and move right until you get it right.
Old 4th December 2009
  #18
TTB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
Ok, the first link. The bass is not heavily boosted in the lows. It will have more of a midrange thing going on from 100 to 250hz, so arrange accordingly. There also is probably a boost around 800-1k..so sweep through there, but avoid any clickiness...if you hear that, you went too far.

It is almost for sure a Fender Bass..sounds like a PBass. Regardless it is tough to replicate the sound of a good Fender bass, which is why I play them . You could probably get this particular tone with a Warwick though, because it is growling like crazy.

What you can try on your bass is boosting your low mids a little and keeping the lows cut a hair..do this on your bass guitar. The highs will not need to be pushed too hard.

The biggest aspect of this tone is that it is quite distorted. You will want to use 1 track and distort that track with your favorite plug or hardware.

Roll off the highs also with a Low pass filter also. Start at 3k and move right until you get it right.
I'm thinkin that first link (The Beanie track) sounds like the bass was played on a keyboard.. It's not feeling live to me, especially the pitch bend..

Thanks for the EQ tips!
Old 4th December 2009
  #19
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yeah man it does actually. but you can get that tone regardless how i described it. The phrasing actually sounds real keyboardish
Old 4th December 2009
  #20
TTB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
yeah man it does actually. but you can get that tone regardless how i described it. The phrasing actually sounds real keyboardish
Agreed
Old 5th December 2009
  #21
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DEFFINATELY appreciate it but I meant this tone as well. Some reason it didnt post. BUt I love how this tone is clean,tight,punchy but bass heavy like a keyboard bass you feel in the chest.

WHAT STRINGS for the Ibanez
Attached Files

ORDINARY LLOVE.mp3 (187.7 KB, 2147 views)

Old 5th December 2009
  #22
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Heres another one. You can feel it. Is this more 800-1200 mid pucnhy than 125 lows. It sound so hard and distinct.

Smooth - Candy Dulfer - Pandora Internet Radio
Old 5th December 2009
  #23
TTB
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...

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiroy View Post
DEFFINATELY appreciate it but I meant this tone as well. Some reason it didnt post. BUt I love how this tone is clean,tight,punchy but bass heavy like a keyboard bass you feel in the chest.

WHAT STRINGS for the Ibanez
I believe Paul used a Musicman strung with Rotosounds on the Sade Track. But A lot of tones like this come from the players hands and technique, not just Bass and Strings.
Old 6th December 2009
  #24
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This has been beaten to death, but recording beats I use 2 basses:

A passive 5 string Yamaha with soapbars. The strings are dead as flats, but groundwound. Gives me an old school dub sound.

For more modern tones I use a Warwick 5 string. I keep fresh stainless strings made by Dean Markley on it. SR2000's. I like them because they're taperwound and I can get a great snap out of them when I dig in.
Old 7th December 2009
  #25
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post
DR Hi Beam +2, if you're looking for a modern sound.
Agreed. I used hi beams before the marcus miller dr's came out and they are awesome and last a really long time but still manage to be flexible. I used ernie balls a couple times on my 5 string and enjoyed the flexibility but they dulled out fairly quickly. When DR's came out I tried them and haven't looked back since. I also use them for guitar as well since they share the same properties of long long life, toughness, flexibility, and great tone. I wish I was endorsed by DR strings!!!!
Old 7th December 2009
  #26
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Are their any better pickups I can put on the ibanez to get the tone closer to these?
Old 7th December 2009
  #27
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If you are really looking for a great studio bass, you should probably sell that Ibanez and get an american Fender. J or P..your preference. The other option is a really nice active bass. Active basses thar really sit in a mix well usually can run you some coin, but it is well worth it. I love Laklands, but Sadowskys are my favorites. Another awesome active bass is the G&L L2000. I will probably get one of these next when I get a 5 string. It can go passive or active.

I really think passive pickups are better if you are new to this and trying to get a really great bass sound. Obviously they need to be good ones, which is why I reccomend the American Fender, but strings should be the least of your worries.

The Ibanez was my bass when I was 14-19 years old. My next bass was a Fender Jazz and I toured with a Modulus Graphite. The Modulus recorded like crap though. I had one engineer like it, and every other hated it. It had high quality pickups and was active, but it just was too hyped. The Ibanez you have is easily going to get hyped sounding and can hiss at low levels. It is going to be about impossible to get these tones unless you really know how to play well and have a good bass. The strings will really not make a huge difference.

The most important quetion I ask myself with strings is..how long will these last? If I am on the road, I am fine with Ernie Balls. They will last me 2 shows before the sweat kills the tone. In the studio, I go with the Boomers or Ken Smith's. That is just what I like..I can get my tone with about any roundwound string though.
Old 8th December 2009
  #28
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Thankx man. I thik we had some disagreements in past posts but you been mad helpfull here. I appreciate the knowledge.!
Old 8th December 2009
  #29
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Besides less fret noise how does a fretless bass sound like? Can I get this same tone and is it harder to play even if they have fret inlays?
Old 8th December 2009
  #30
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skiroy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
If you are really looking for a great studio bass, you should probably sell that Ibanez and get an american Fender. J or P..your preference. The other option is a really nice active bass. Active basses thar really sit in a mix well usually can run you some coin, but it is well worth it. I love Laklands, but Sadowskys are my favorites. Another awesome active bass is the G&L L2000. I will probably get one of these next when I get a 5 string. It can go passive or active.

I really think passive pickups are better if you are new to this and trying to get a really great bass sound. Obviously they need to be good ones, which is why I reccomend the American Fender, but strings should be the least of your worries.

The Ibanez was my bass when I was 14-19 years old. My next bass was a Fender Jazz and I toured with a Modulus Graphite. The Modulus recorded like crap though. I had one engineer like it, and every other hated it. It had high quality pickups and was active, but it just was too hyped. The Ibanez you have is easily going to get hyped sounding and can hiss at low levels. It is going to be about impossible to get these tones unless you really know how to play well and have a good bass. The strings will really not make a huge difference.

The most important quetion I ask myself with strings is..how long will these last? If I am on the road, I am fine with Ernie Balls. They will last me 2 shows before the sweat kills the tone. In the studio, I go with the Boomers or Ken Smith's. That is just what I like..I can get my tone with about any roundwound string though.

Im thinking I may try a Passive Japanese P Bass with some D'Addario Chrome flatwounds. All the you tube vids with those strings sound nice and gritty yet punchy. I want grimey.

What would you say the stingray sound is closer to a P Bass or a J Bass? All the Music man stingrays I listened to on Youtube sounded like what I like but I dont know how they record and I dont have that money for a bass.

How do you think the D'Addario Chrome flatwounds will sound on the ibanez for now?Would the ibanez sr 505 be closer to a jazz or p bass sound?
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