Bass Guitar Strings
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Bass Guitar Strings information
There are so many different kinds of bass guitar strings out there, and every set of strings will have an affect on the sound and playing feel of your bass. So whether you need help picking out some electric bass strings or acoustic bass strings for your bass, we offer up some handy tips for so you can find the right thing.
Picking Out Your Bass Guitar Strings
We stock a full range of bass guitar strings for both electric bass and acoustic bass so you'll have no problem finding the right strings for you and your instrument. You'll find plenty of nickel round-wound strings with a steel core to give your bass a classic, rich and bright sound, or steel-core strings with stainless-steel winding to pack even more brightness and bite into your sound. Or you could warm things up and get a more vintage-vibe out of a set of pure nickel strings with a nickel core and nickel winding.
The Right String Gauge for Your Bass
The gauge of a bass string is basically the thickness. So a high-gauged string is thicker than a low-gauged string. Most bassists play a four-string bass with a set of light-gauged strings - where a .045-gauged string is the thinnest in the pack, and a .100 or .105-gauged string is the thickest. If you want an even lighter feel beneath your fret hand, then you could opt for set of extra-light or custom-light strings and try out a pack of .040 to .095 or .100 gauged strings. The same usually applies with acoustic basses. Of course, if you want a more solid sound and playing feel out of your bass, then a set of medium strings with a .050-gauged G-string and .105-gauged E-string might give you what you want. But, if you want an E-string with a little more flexibility to it, then look for a pack with a .100-gauged E-string.
The Best Five or Six-String Bass Strings
Five and six-string bassists will also find plenty to choose from. Most five-string packs include a low-B string, but if you want to expand the higher range, then you can also get packs with a high-C string - just make sure that your bass is set up for a low-B or high-C before getting a pack. If it's not, then you might need to get the nut modified by a luthier. If you're a six-string bassist, then you'll find packs including a low-B and a high-C string. And, if you want to play around and put together your own custom set of strings, have a look through our range of single strings.
Flatwound, Nylon-Wound & Acoustic Bass Strings
If a standard set of roundwound strings feels too raw beneath your fingers, or the sound has a little too much bite for your taste, then you could try a set of medium-gauged flatwound strings. These strings are usually wound with chrome or stainless steel that's literally been hammered flat, giving the strings a much warmer and rounder double-bass-style sound. Halfwound strings sit somewhere in between the sound and feel of flatwound and roundwound strings. If you want a short sustain and even warmer, more vintage sound, then you could even try a set of nylon wound strings. When it comes to acoustic bass strings, you can get phosphor bronze wound strings which have a deep and rich sound, while standard bronze wound strings have a little more brightness and bigger projection to them.
The Difference Between Long-Scale, Short-Scale & Extra-Long Scale
Long-scale strings are compatible with standard four-string or five-string basses with a regular 34 inch scale-length. If you have a short-scale bass with a 30 to 32 inch scale length, then you'll need to use a set of short-scale strings to match. And, if your bass has the extended range of a 35 inch or longer scale length - maybe to support a tight feel in lower tunings - then a set of medium-gauged (or higher) extra-long scale strings will work out best. Just be careful to always make sure that any strings you pick are compatible with the scale length of your bass - especially if you have an ERB (extended range bass).
Changing Bass Guitar Strings
If you've never changed the strings of your bass, don't worry! It's far easier than you might think, and is actually a bit easier than changing guitar strings. Remove your old strings, thread each new string through the bridge then, making sure that you have a length of at least two windings above the machine head, make a 90-degree bend in the string (without damaging it). Now, you need to poke the end of the string into the hole in the top of the machine head, but it needs to be the right length, so simply measure it against the bend in the old string and cut it to size before slotting it into the machine head. Now you can grip it tightly in place with one hand while winding it around the machine head with your other hand. If you need help setting up, repairing or upgrading your bass, then there are a few things you can learn to do yourself (there are plenty of online guides available) or you can take your bass to your local luthier.
Tuning Up Your Bass
A regular four-string bass is has a standard tuning of E, A, D, G. Five-string basses with an extra low-B string have a standard B, E, A, D, G tuning, and five-string basses with an extra high-C strings and a standard E, A, D, G, C tuning. Six-string basses have both a low-B and high-C string, so the standard tuning is B, E, A, D, G, and C. If you've just started playing, then it's worth tuning up your bass with the help of a good tuner.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bass Guitar Strings?
How many strings does a bass guitar have?
Most basses have four strings tuned in E, A, D, and G. To get even deeper notes out of a bass, you can also get five-string basses with an extra low-B string. More melodic bassists prefer a five-string bass with an extra high-C string. Of course, for any bassist that wants it all, they can get a six-string bass that has both an extra low-B string and an extra high-C string, which is tuned in B, E, A, D, G and C. Seven-string, eight-string, or even nine-string basses do exist, but most bassists tend to stick with a four-string model. And, since it's the most common choice, it makes sense for beginner-bassists to start learning with a four-string bass.
What bass strings should I go for?
When you're just starting to play, it can take a little while for you to find the right kind of strings for you. If you like the sound and feel of the factory-installed strings that your bass came with, then it makes sense to get the same set. If you want something a bit different, then experiment and try out a few different sets to see what works for you and your bass. Just make sure to check that the scale-length matches the scale length of your bass and look at the string gauge (thicker strings will need more force to play, while thinner strings will feel more flexible), the winding material, and whether the winding is flat or round.
What are the best bass guitar strings?
The best strings will be different for every bassist. The right set of strings for you will depend on the sound and playing feel you want. A good place to start is with the bass sound of your favourite bassist. Find out which strings they use and try them out yourself - it's highly likely that they'll give you exactly the kind of sound you're looking for.
How long do bass guitar strings last?
The lifespan of your bass strings depends on a few different factors. If you play a lot and tend to hit the strings hard, then you'll probably need to change them more regularly. When you start rehearsing every week and playing a lot of gigs, then you might need to change the strings even more regularly. Even if you've only just bought your bass, it can be a good idea to change the strings, since (by the time the bass gets to you) the factory-installed strings usually aren't in the best condition. If you want to cut down on string-changes, then maybe invest in a set of strings finished with a protective coating so they'll last longer. You can also help extend the lifespan of your strings by giving them a rub down with some string cleaner every now and then.