Strings for your G&L

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Strings for your G&L

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:59 am

This is one of those posts that I've known should have been done, but was never done. Probably due to momentum. Or static friction. Or laziness. Pick one. Anyway, TDR1138 gave me one of his patented Nudges and here we are. Thanks, T!

Current G&L fretted 4 string basses ship with D'Addario EXL170 strings. Nickel. Regular Lights. 45-65-80-100. Long scale. Includes Tribute.
Current G&L fretted 5 string basses ship with D'Addario EXL170-5 strings. Nickel. Regular Lights. 45-65-80-100-130. Long scale. Includes Tribute.

Current G&L fretless 4 string basses ship with D'Addario ENR71 half-round strings. Nickel. Regular Lights. 45-65-80-100. Long scale.
Current G&L fretless 5 string basses ship with D'Addario ENR71-5 half-round strings. Nickel. Regular Lights. 45-65-80-100-130. Long scale.

All this is as of 9/2014. G&L being the guys that they are, this could all change on a moment's notice.

There are questions about different strings. Like, "Will I have to open up the nut slots if I move to a larger gauge?" or "Will I have to adjust the trussrod?" The answers are maybe and probably. Nice & precise, huh?

You have a certain amount of leeway with string gauge. G&Ls will typically handle a slightly larger string without having to file the nut. How much larger kinda depends. For most, it'll be unlikely that the nut needs filing.

Trussrod adjustment for a given action is all about string tension. Some string manufacturers (D'Addario, Thomastik, Circle) are listing their strings tension, so you can get an idea of what you're getting from what you've got. If you're changing strings to a different brand or type, plan on tweaking the trussrod a little. It probably won't take much of an adjustment.

Speaking of trussrods: US G&Ls have had three styles over the years. The original that is in Bi-Cut necks that compresses the neck, the first non-compression single action trussrod (Tribute too), and the current non-compression double action trussrod. Both non-compression rods are excellent. The double action adjustment will be smaller than the single action adjustment for a given deflection.

Oh! You might give this a read too, seeing as how you're probably changing strings.

That's about it. As always, this will end up being a work in progress. If something changes, I'll update as needed.

Got a favorite set of strings? Post up and let us know. How's the feel? Tension? Tone? Inquiring minds and all that.

There. Howzat?

Ken...
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby Igor Polski » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:03 pm

Great info! Thanks.

I use the EXL170 strings as they sound good and feel great on my L2000. No need to change string type or brand yet.

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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby fatherska » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:42 pm

I was happy with the SIT strings that G&L installed on my '89 SB-1 and on my '97 L-1500. Since them, I've been happiest and for 15 years loyal to Ernie Ball nickel round-wounds, gauge 45 - 65 -85 - 105.

1. I find the string tension just right for finger-style playing.
2. Aside from new-string brightness that needs some taming for a while, these strings on a G&L bass provide the tone right out of the package.
3. The new-string brightness fades more-or-less consistently between all four strings.
4. On a G&L bass, they stay in tune quite admirably and sustain to the limit of anybody's attention span.
5. They provide the growl from day one and keep it up for years.

Yes, I've tried various other strings, particularly stainless steels, 110-gauge (too much tension), and other brands (D'Addario, D'Acquisto, GHS, Trace Elliot, Dean Markley).

In my 30 years as a bassist (since 1984) I believe I've found the string that rules out any further experimentation: Ernie Ball nickel round-wounds, gauge 45 - 65 -85 - 105. These on an ash-body G&L bass with MFD pickup reliably deliver the goods.
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby theslug » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:53 pm

hi all. I ordered a usa custom sb2 about a month ago, so I don't have it yet. String question is this-I have used DR marcus millers on all my other basses. anyone have any experience with DR on the G&L? I use 45-65-85-105. thanks
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby TDR1138 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:56 pm

theslug wrote:hi all. I ordered a usa custom sb2 about a month ago, so I don't have it yet. String question is this-I have used DR marcus millers on all my other basses. anyone have any experience with DR on the G&L? I use 45-65-85-105. thanks


I've used those on a few G&Ls... I liked them on an L-1500. I liked them on an L-2500, except I wasn't impressed with the B. I didn't like them as much on my L-2000. Haven't tried them on an SB-2.

I've also used other DR variants on all of the aforementioned G&Ls - Sunbeams, Low Riders and Hi-Beams. Liked the Marcus Miller Fat Beams the best overall.

I really do think different basses like different strings - I mean, even two different SB-2s would probably respond differently to the same strings. So, start with what you like, and if it doesn't work out for you, let the fun begin. :D FWIW, my favorite strings on my SB-2 were Rotosound Swing 66s. Never found another bass that I really liked the Rotos on.
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby theslug » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:43 pm

thanks TDR. it just came in today so I get it tomorrow. I think it comes with D'addario's. I do have some marcus millers and swing 66's here at home. so I guess I'll just play around tomorrow. thanks again.
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby fatherska » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:09 pm

I 've never played with flatwounds on my own bass. I love the nice deep growl I get with roundwounds on my L-1500.

Yet, the time seems to have come when I really ought to have a bass with flatwounds, to get a James Jamerson tone more easily. I've been contemplating ordering another L-1500 or another SB-1 (parted with a beloved '89 SB-1 a few years ago) to return to having a second bass - with flatwounds.

I've come to believe that La Bella Deep Talking Bass flatwounds (gauge 45-65-85-105) would be the right strings to ask for, so that the dealer would install them and set up the bass with these strings before I get possession of it.

I mainly play ska-rocksteady-reggae-dub plus some soul-Motown-funk. I always play fingerstyle. I describe my favourite roundwounds in this thread above.

The matter of ordering a second G&L bass aside, who can verify this set of La Bellas as a good string choice? Suggest better?
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby Ken Baker » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:13 am

The La Bellas get generally good reviews on G&Ls, as do Chromes. My personal favorites on the L Series are Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats. Great sounding and last forever. The problem is that they are hellishly expensive at about $80 for a set of four.

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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby TDR1138 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:52 pm

fatherska wrote:I 've never played with flatwounds on my own bass. I love the nice deep growl I get with roundwounds on my L-1500.

Yet, the time seems to have come when I really ought to have a bass with flatwounds, to get a James Jamerson tone more easily. I've been contemplating ordering another L-1500 or another SB-1 (parted with a beloved '89 SB-1 a few years ago) to return to having a second bass - with flatwounds.

I've come to believe that La Bella Deep Talking Bass flatwounds (gauge 45-65-85-105) would be the right strings to ask for, so that the dealer would install them and set up the bass with these strings before I get possession of it.

I mainly play ska-rocksteady-reggae-dub plus some soul-Motown-funk. I always play fingerstyle. I describe my favourite roundwounds in this thread above.

The matter of ordering a second G&L bass aside, who can verify this set of La Bellas as a good string choice? Suggest better?



I had Chromes on a 1500 once. Frankly, I like flats, but Chromes aren’t my first choice – I think they tend to be a little honky sounding and a little rubbery feeling – but I thought they actually sounded pretty good on the 1500. I don’t think it gave it a dubby tone, by any means, but I did think that they reduced some of the overtones that I was getting with rounds.

If I were going for a dub sound, I’d lean toward something like the SB-1 or even an L-1000/L-2000, and I’d probably keep rounds on it. Flats will definitely thump for that Mowtown sound, but (IMO) tend to have a quicker decay than rounds do, and with a dub sound, I think the notes tend to sustain more.

If you want flats, I’d say flats on the 1500 and rounds on the SB-1. But that’s just my $0.02, and it’s worth half of what you paid for it. :D
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Re: Strings for your G&L

Postby alexlittle » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:43 am

Ken Baker wrote:The La Bellas get generally good reviews on G&Ls, as do Chromes. My personal favorites on the L Series are Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats. Great sounding and last forever. The problem is that they are hellishly expensive at about $80 for a set of four.


I second Ken on the TI Jazz Flats. I've got them on several of my G&Ls and they're my favorite strings by far. Another benefit of the TI flats is that they seem to have a lower tension, which helps my no-longer-19-year-old hands survive a long practice or show. And yeah, they do last forever. Or as forever as I can tell so far. For those reasons, I have no problem with the price because I know I'm gonna love 'em.

Put them on an L-1000 or L-2000e and stand back. To me, that's the sound I want.

Its probably blasphemy (and slightly off topic for this forum), but I also use the TI Jazz Flats on my RIC and StingRay. One of my drummers claims the RIC with flats is his favorite sounding bass. I disagree, but respect his opinion -- but I admit, it does sound good with those strings. And the flats make the Ray sound like it rode a wormhole straight from the 70s.

While they work beautifully for finger style playing, they may not have the snap you need for fast pick work.

hth.
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