Electric Bass Guitar Strings
Electric bass strings are available in several different materials and construction methods. The most common are stainless steel roundwound bass strings. Stainless steel electric bass guitar strings provide a bright, powerful tone that many people prefer. If you are looking for a warmer sound, you might try nickel plated roundwound bass strings instead. Nickel plated steel will provide a warmer, rounder sound than stainless steel. Nickel plated steel strings are also less harsh on fingers and frets. For an even warmer tone, pure nickel roundwound bass guitar strings can be used.
It is very important for you to know what scale length your bass is before you buy electric bass strings. Most basses are long scale, which is 34 inches from bridge to nut. If a sets description does not specify scale length, it is almost always long scale, which is the standard size for an electric bass. Short scale is 30 inches, medium scale is 32 inches and extra long scale is 36 inches. To find the scale length of your bass, measure from the saddles on the bridge to the nut at the top of the fingerboard. It may not be exactly short (30), medium (32), long (34) or extra long (36), but you should choose sets of the scale length that most closely matches your instrument. Some basses that are strung through the body rather than just through the bridge may require longer electric bass guitar strings. If you are not sure, or are uncomfortable measuring your bass yourself, please contact the manufacturer of your instrument. They will happily tell you what scale length your bass is.
The electric bass is essentially a very long scale electric guitar with only four strings. Bass guitar strings are usually tuned E, A, D and G, one octave below the strings on a guitar. Electric bass sets are available with four, five and six strings, with less common sets having seven, eight or twelve. Five string basses are usually tuned B, E, A, D and G, but some people tune them E, A, D, G and C. Special sets are required for the high C tuning. Six string basses are tuned B, E, A, D, G and C.
Many bassists prefer the feel of flatwound bass strings to that of roundwounds. Flatwounds are usually made of stainless steel, but some companies make nickel versions. Flatwound strings provide a very deep, bassy tone, suitable for classic jazz and R&B. Examples of such tone can be heard on most Motown recordings. Flatwound strings are also substantially easier on fingers and frets than roundwounds. Many players prefer flatwound strings on their fretless basses to cut down on premature fingerboard wear.