Strings – Part 1: Guages

For some reason I have been thinking a lot about strings lately.  Round-wound, Flat-wound, Half-round, even Tape-wound.  Over the years I have mainly used Nickel Round-wound .105 gauge strings.  I started out using GHS Boomers or Ernie Ball Slinky’s but quickly switched to Rotosounds 66’s, which I stuck with for several years.  From there I moved on to Dean Markley Blue Steel’s and finally settled on D’Addario’s which I have primarily used for the past 10 or so years.  I’ve tried Elixir’s a few times as well but was never convinced enough to shell out the extra dough for them.

With the addition of the Fender Mustang Bass to my collection I started to play around with different string gauges.  I started with Super Lights (.95) but decided they were just too light for my tastes, more of feel think than a tone thing, so I moved up to Regular Lights (.100) which I am really liking.  When I bought my Jazz Deluxe the strings on it were pretty dead so I decided to go with a new set of Fender regular Lights (.100), which is supposedly what they come with out of the factory.  Well, so far so good, I like how they feel and sound, guess the test now will be to see how long they last.  In the spirit of these two basses I decided to put a set of D’Addario .100’s I had in my bag of tricks on my Lakland 4 string as well.  I must admit, I used to be a bit of a string snob.  I felt it was best to use the heaviest strings possible to get the deepest tone.  I was a true believer, so much so that I had never tried anything else.  Well, let me tell you, don’t limit yourself like this.  There are so many choices out there, why not experiment a little and find what works/sounds best for you.

How about you, I’d love to hear your perspective on Bass strings, brands, gauges, etc.

Note that this will be the start of a mini series on strings, next up will be my thoughts on Flat-Wounds