String Materials

As bass players, we have a wide variety of options when it comes to the strings and string materials that we use. Since there are a lot of options, you should know as much as you possibly can about the strings that you use.

Since it can be difficult to find good, concise information easily on the strings themselves, I have taken it upon myself to write a short bit about the various things that make up the strings:

1. Coated Strings.

You'll encounter a variety of companies that coat their strings in a variety of materials. They all basically act like string condoms. The entire idea behind this is so that the strings will last longer without sacrificing quality. However, the coating tends to make the strings sound a bit "darker" than you might be used to. If you're looking for a different feeling, different sounding string, you might want to give these a try.

2. String Materials.

The vast majority of strings that you can buy and play on the electric bass are made of a Nickel or a Nickel-alloy wrapping wire and a Steel core wire.

This combination is the most commonly available since it is:

a. Cheap;
b. Easy to produce;
c. Good sounding;
d. Easy to tune.

There are some manufacturers that produce strings made entirely of Nickel or entirely of Steel.

Solid steel strings tend to not only sound brighter, but are also much harder on the frets than Nickel strings are.

Steel strings are also more likely to destroy a fretless fingerboard quickly, so I would suggest looking into nickel strings if you plan on using a fretless bass.

There are also some companies that make stings with gold wrappings! I personally don't have experience with them, but I've heard lots of good things about them. Try and find them if you can!

3. The Varieties of Winding.

There are quite a few different kinds of strings. If you're interested in finding out more about the differences between Roundwound, Flatwound and Halfwound strings, you can read my page about the different String Types and get all the info you'll need about them.

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