All Around Strings for a StingRay Bass

Just out of curiosity, i wondering which brand and guage of strings would you prefer for a 5 string musicman 2 band eq stingray? Right now I have a pair of old stainless steel dunlop super bright 40-120 on there.  I want to get a clean sound that applicable to all genres and styles

Suggestions

StingRay basses are scooped and treble-heavy already. Steel strings will emphasize the treble frequencies and string / fret noise even more; which might not be desirable if you want an all-around bass sound. I would suggest two options:

  • For a not-overly-bright sound with some treble, you can use pure nickel strings; such as Fender 7150 or D’addario XL. You can turn down the treble knob or use a LPF for motown-ish sounds.
  • GHS Pressurewound or similar half-rounds will bring you to the middle of the road between flats and rounds. They can either be seen as the best of both worlds (not too bright, not too dead) or the worst of both worlds (neither bright nor thumpy); depends on your point of view. 

If you need that treble grind sometimes, go for pure nickels and use the treble knob when needed.

If you never need the treble grind and want to control the clackiness of your StingRay, go for half-rounds.

Warnings

Since you are targeting an “all-around” bass sound, I would rule out flat wounds.

You can cut the frequencies which are there (at a cost). However, you can’t add frequencies which aren’t there in the first place.

Flat wound strings are great for a vintage motown-ish thump. But they lack some of the higher frequencies completely. If you play a certain style (or do soloing) where you really need high-mids and treble, you are out of luck with flat wound strings.

However; if you have a nice nickel set, you can simply dial out the treble when you don’t need it.

You may think that you can simply install a (much brighter) set of steel strings and dial out the treble even more if needed. However, audio physics are not that simple. When you cut out a certain frequency too much, you are probably cutting a part of the sound you like as well. 

Therefore; for an all-around sound, it is better to start in the middle-ground instead of extremes (such as steels or flat wounds).

Ensure that you use “Pure Nickels”. Many strings branded as “Nickels” actually have a steel core with nickel wrapping. Those will sound like steels. Look for strings which have a nickel core as well.

Gauge

Gauge depends on your fingers, really. I’m mainly a 4 string player and like 45-65-85-105 sets (+125 for the B string); but pure nickels have a little more tension than steels and whatnot, so you got to try and see.

40-120 strings are too elastic for my taste; and StingRay’s are notorious for weak G strings anyway – a 40 G string doesn’t help much there.

2 thoughts on “All Around Strings for a StingRay Bass

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