If you’re all about that bass (and prefer a lack of treble) odds are you’ve wondered about the different types of bass guitar strings. It’s a bit hard to know what you should be using when there’s so many different types of bass string on the market that most people couldn’t even name all the brands, let alone the different lines or varients.
But if you’ve ever had a hard time figuring out how to choose the best bass guitar strings, you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you all the information that you need in order to make an informed purchase, as well as give you five great recommendations to aid you in your search.
- Bass Guitar Strings 101
- What Are The Different Kinds Of Bass Guitar String?
- Top 5 Bass Guitar Strings
Bass Guitar Strings 101
A bass guitar string is obviously a string that’s used on the bass guitar. Guitar strings and bass strings are differentiated by their thickness. Bass strings are tuned significantly lower (a full octave) than guitar strings. This means that in order to maintain enough tension to function well they have to be much thicker. That’s why bass strings are used on a bass and guitar strings are used on a guitar,
However, apart from the thickness there isn’t really a difference. Bass guitar strings are still traditionally made from the same materials as guitar strings, and they come in just as wide a variety; including both electric bass guitar strings and acoustic bass guitar strings.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Bass Guitar String?
As I said before, guitar strings and bass guitar strings are essentially just different sized version of one another. So really any advice that would apply to one will apply to the other. Heavy gauge strings (strings that are thicker) are still harder to press down and strings that are lighter are still a bit easier. Below are a few different types of string, and a quick overview of the differences in sound between them.
- Nickel-Plated Steel- Middle of the road string with good attack and frequency response.
- Pure Nickel- A bit less crisp than nickel, but also a bit warmer sounding.
- Stainless Steel- The brightest type of string. While it has good high end response some may find it a bit brittle sounding.
- Flat-wound- A type of string that’s wound (the winding is the metal wrapped around the three thickest strings) with a different pattern. The pattern makes it so the string is a bit warmer sounding, and there’s less of squeak when you slide your the fingers of your fretting hand along the neck.
Pro Tip: Boiling Bass Guitar Strings
So this is a little known fact, but you can actually boil both guitar strings and bass guitar strings to restore some of their freshness.. People generally don’t bother with doing this when it comes to guitar strings because they’re so cheap, but with bass strings being a bit more expensive some people find that the extra work is worth it to save some cash.
To boil strings, bring some water to a boil then throw your strings in for five minutes and turn off the heat. Next, be sure to let the strings cool in the water overnight. The next morning your strings should sound a bit closer to how they did when they were new. Also, make sure you don’t ever use the pan you boiled your strings in for anything except boiling more strings. The trace metals and dirt probably aren’t good for you, and there’s a chance they’ll still be in the container the next time you go to use it.
The Five Best Bass Guitar Strings
Still not sure where to start on your hunt for the perfect bass guitar string? Well if so, you’re in luck. The five recommendations below are all a great start! As always, we try to recommend a wide enough variety of products that everyone reading this can find something that will work for them. Happy shopping!
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Bass Strings
D’Addario EXL 170 Nickel Wound Bass Strings
Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel
DR Strings Bass Black Beauties
GHS Bass Boomers