Gear Review: D’Addario Nylon Tapewound Strings

I’m always amazed with the difference a new set of strings can make on your bass.  From the bright zing of a new set of Steel Wounds to the thump of a set of Flats, strings allow us to dramatically change our tone in a quick, easy way.  My preference has mainly been Nickel Round Wounds, though I have always felt they are just a tad bit brighter than I like, especially when brand new.  While I do enjoy playing flats from time to time, I often find them lacking the tone I desire as well.  For these reason’s I decided to give D’Addario’s new Nylon Tapewounds a try.

In truth, I have tried Tapewounds before, Fender I believe.  I once put a set on my acoustic bass but did not much care for them.  To me they felt like strings wrapped in electrical tape, and had an overly “thumpy” sound.  I had heard that D’Addario (generally my string manufacturer of choice) was now making a set and after enquiring about them to one of their reps, decided to give them a try.

The first thing I notice when taking them out of the package was how cool they looked.  These weren’t the shiny Tapewounds I had tried in the past.  In fact, the tape wrap seems more like a coating than tape.  Perhaps they are wrapped tighter than other manufacturers Tapewounds or have thinner wrap, whatever D’Addario did, they did right.  To the fingers they feel somewhere between rounds and flats.  I love the way they feel, smooth and silky on the fingers, not the plastic, sticky feeling like others I have tried.  Add to that a sweet low tension that makes playing feel effortless and you’ve got a nice set of strings.

But how do they sound you ask?  “Fat” and “mellow”, with little to no string noise.  As expected they sound somewhere between Rounds and Flats.  The “zing” typical of Rounds is all but gone, yet the Tapewounds maintain more “mids” than Flats.  To me they sound a bit “hollow” or even “nasally”, but in a good way.  With a few tweaks of your EQ you can go from an almost upright tone to a fat, smooth tone with a whole lot of thump.

The more I play these strings the more I like them.  I feel that I may have finally found the tone I’ve been looking for on my P-Bass.  Additionally, their black color adds a certain coolness factor to your bass.  If you’re looking to change things up a bit with a new set of strings I recommend picking up a set.