Electric Bass String Types

There are many different string constructions available for the Electric Bass.  Each bass string type will give your instrument a different tone and overall different feel.  This page will help describe the differences between string types.

The above image is a graphic example of the different types of electric bass string winding types.

The above picture is an example of a Stainless Steel Round Wound, Compressed Round Wound, and Half Round bass string.  You can see the Round Wound windings are taller and come to a finer point, this type of winding will have more finger noise.  The Compression Wound string has wider windings with a flatter smoother surface, this type will have less finger noise and a smoother feel.  The Half Round has a flatter surface giving the string a flat smooth feel.  Read more detail of each type and more below!

Nickel Plated Steel Round Wounds:  This is the most common type of string to be equipped on an instrument from the factory.  They are bright when new yet have a warm quality to them.  The Nickel Plate on the outer windings give the surface a faster smoother feel.  Nickel Plated Steel (NPS) round wounds usually have a Hexagonal core while there are some manufacturers that use a Round core.  The Hex core strings can have a more rigid feel to them while the Round core variety are more flexible and bendy feeling.  Round cores are great for harmonics and long sustain.  Some manufacturers use larger diameter outer windings while others use smaller diameter outer windings, this will effect the overall surface feel of the string.

Stainless Steel Round Wounds:  These are generally brighter and more brilliant sounding rounds.  The Stainless Steel (SS) surface to some users feels rough to the touch at first, but once they break in they can be just as fast and playable as other strings.  Most are wound on Hex cores while some manufacturers use a Round core.  The Hex core strings can have a more rigid feel to them while the Round core variety are more flexible and bendy feeling. Round cores are great for harmonics and long sustain. Some manufacturers use larger diameter outer windings while others use smaller diameter outer windings. Many users favor the smaller diameter outer windings as they give stainless steel strings a faster smoother feel.

Pure Nickel Round Wounds:  These are warmer sounding round wounds.  The Pure Nickel is softer and smoother feeling than Nickel Plated Steel. 

Nickel Iron Alloy:  These strings are generally in between Stainless Steel and Nickel Plated Steel on the brightness scale.  The Nickel Iron Alloy (sometimes referred to as Alloy 52), usually also has a higher output and strong midrange tonal quality.  This alloy is softer and smoother feeling than Stainless Steel and generally lasts longer.

Coated Round Wounds: Nickel Plated Steel and Stainless Steel strings are now made with coated windings.  Sring Manufacturers are now adding unique coatings to round wound electric bass strings.  Coated Strings can feel smoother than other round wounds while string life is improved as well.  Some strings are even colored to enhance the appearance of your instrument!  Choose from Black, Blue, and Red or even bright vibrant NEON colors like Green, Yellow, Pink, Orange, Red, White and Blue!  Don't worry, if color is too much for you to handle you can use coated strings with no color added.

Pressure Wound / Compression Wound Strings: Pressure Wound Bass Strings also known as Compressors or Silencers are quite unique.  The outer winding is pressed just before being wrapped around the string.  This gives the string a smoother feel than a regular round wound and a special tone.  Pressure Wounds can be described as punchy and full bodied with reduced finger noise.

Half Round / Ground Wound Strings:  Half Round bass strings are made by grinding half of the outer windings of Round Wound strings into a flat surface.  This creates a string with some tonal characteristics of Flatwounds but with the flexibility of Round Wound bass strings.  Half Rounds are the ideal string for a bass player who wants a brighter sounding flat string.  Half Round strings are found in a Nickel Iron Alloy, Pure Nickel, or Stainless Steel variety.  

Flat Wound Bass Strings: Flatwound strings offer thump thump and more thump!  If you crave a strong fundamental with strings that are silky smooth to the touch then flatwounds are in your future.  Each type of Flatwound string from our various manufacturers has their own unique tonal characteristics.  Some flats are brighter than others.  Some are more flexible than others.  Feel free to click the "Ask a Question" box for any questions about flatwounds or any of our string types.

Black Nylon Tape Wound Bass Strings: Black Nylon Tape Wound strings will help you get an "upright" tone out of your electric bass.  Tape Wounds on an Acoustic Bass guitar will be very close to an upright tone.  If you are looking for a mellow tone with great punch you will love Black Nylon Tapewounds.  La Bella has recently introduced White Nylon Tapewounds which have a more transparent and bright tone to them.  A bright cut-through the mix string without the finger noise of a round wound!

Taper Core and Exposed Core Bass Strings: Many different strings are available with a Taper Core.  Taper Core bass strings have less windings (string thickness) over the bridge saddles.  This design help produce a brighter tone and greater sustain.  Many modern bass bridges require Taper String designs for larger gauge string fitment.  Some sets only have one tapered string (usually the Low-B) but other string sets have multiple tapered strings.  Exposed Core Bass Strings offer the most core contact available.  The core is completely exposed over the bridge saddle for maximum contact, brightness and sustain.  Exposed Core strings give that desired "Piano" string sound.  Some "Exposed Core" strings have a very fine wrap wire around the exposed core.  Tapered and Exposed Core strings are indicated with a "T" for example: .135T

Even though a string has the same construction type as another string, depending on the actual string formula the string will sound and feel different.  The string formula consists of various core to wrap ratios, different alloy types, winding speeds, and winding tension.  Be sure to get in touch with BassStringsOnline.com to find the best string for your needs.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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