How To Choose The Best Bass Strings
For stage-shaking performance, it is vital to choose bass strings that suit your instrument, tone and playing style. Follow the advice below – then check out the Elixir® Strings range to find the best bass strings for you…
Protect your tone with coated bass strings
Picking, slapping and popping - all take their toll. With uncoated bass strings you will soon lose your tone to corrosion and deadened vibrations. This makes coated bass strings well worth the extra initial cost. Elixir Strings are the only brand to protect the entire string, coating not just the outer string surface, but also the spaces between the windings.
The development of our electric bass strings took over a year of intensive research and the feedback of 1000-plus bassists. As a result, our NANOWEB® Coating designed for bass raises the bar for bass performance.
Players tell us, that Elixir Strings for Bass offer a smooth, natural feel with enhanced grip and provide greater durability and response, even during hard-hitting attacks, compared to the original NANOWEB Coating. Also, according to players, they retain tone longer than any other bass string, uncoated or coated.
Great bass tone starts with the right string material
Great low-end performance isn't just about amps, pickups and pedals: it all starts with your bass strings and the metal alloy that gives them their distinct tone. Featuring a Roundwound construction for comfortable feel and natural clarity, Elixir Strings for Bass give players a choice of two different alloys. Our Nickel Plated Steel Bass Strings with NANOWEB Coating deliver rich, rounded tone with greater clarity and heavier mid-range presence. Our Stainless Steel Bass Strings with NANOWEB Coating have a bright stainless tone with growling mids that offer an articulate pop 'n' punch. And for crisp, lively unplugged tone, try Elixir Acoustic Bass 80/20 Bronze Strings with NANOWEB Coating.
Match the gauge to your sound and style
String gauge is more than a number: it determines how your bass strings will feel and sound. The rule of thumb is, that heavy-gauge strings (around .050 - .105) have a richer bottom-end, but require more finger-strength than a lighter set (typically .040-.095). The best bass strings for you will also depend on whether you sit in the pocket, playing rumbling root notes (if so try a heavy-gauge) or race across the fretboard, playing slap 'n' pop lines (for which light gauge is generally favored). Whatever gauge you prefer, Elixir Strings has a comprehensive range that suits all techniques and genres. Do experiment, but remember that jumping between gauges may require you to tweak the action and intonation of your bass. If you are unsure, speak to your local Elixir Strings dealer about a setup.
Scale length dictates string length
There is an added dimension to choosing bass strings, because you will need to match the string length to your instrument's scale (i.e. the distance from the bridge saddles to the nut). There are quite a range of scales – from extra-long six-string basses (35"), through Fender's famous Precision and Jazz models (34"), right down to Gibson's short-scale 30" SG models – but Elixir Strings has the range to ensure you can arm your favorite bass with the best. If in doubt over the correct length to choose, speak to your local dealer.
Create your own custom string set for bass
Although the most popular format might be 4-string bass, Elixir Strings makes it easy for players of every persuasion. If you play 4-string bass, simply choose a Foundation Set in your preferred gauge. If you play 5-string, supplement that standard Foundation Set with a single B string in .125, .130 or .135. Alternatively, pick up our standard 5-string Light set. If you play 6-string, our medium C .032 is ready to pick up as a single string. Finally, if you want to assemble your own bespoke string set to really shake the room, remember that all Elixir Strings coated bass strings are available as singles.