Bass strings for Jazz bass

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Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by ManFromGlass »

I have a Fender Jazz bass. I strung it with those black coated strings hoping to get close to a Motown-like vibe, not much brightness, good mids and lows.
I noticed the current strings also put out an odd harmonic that the Tone pot can’t hide.
Time for new strings. I’m looking at flatwounds. Any suggestions appreciated.
I’m also learning that there are low tension strings which are good for people with weak hands or who don’t play that often. I’m leaning that way too.
My research is thinking GHS or La Bella might be the way to go.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Aled Hughes »

I have LaBella flatwounds on my Precision and G&L short scale. I love them - the ones on the Precision have been there 9 years now!

When I had flats on the Jazz, they were Fender 9050 and I thought they were great too. Also much cheaper than the LaBella. Quite bright to begin with but they settle down nicely.

If you want low tension, I think the TI Jazz flats are much looser than the LaBellas.

I now have DR Sunbeam roundwounds on the Jazz - a great all round string I think, not overly bright, suits the Jazz great, and works for all styles.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by BigRedX »

Have you got a foam mute fitted under the bridge cover?

It doesn't matter what strings you have you won't get close to a vintage Motown bass sound without it.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by resistorman »

I too like DR strings, also D'Addario, who has a model that are half round.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Dan LB »

Thomastik-Infeld (TI) Jazz Flat Wound strings are what I have on one of my precision basses and they’ve been on it for about 10 years now. I’ll probably never change them. Best flats I’ve ever tried. I use a foam mute with them too.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by BigRedX »

TI Jazz Flats are my favourite flat-wound string, but IME they're too low tension to get that Motown thump.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by ManFromGlass »

I tried a foam mute and it got me part way there. Some great suggestions here. The Motown vibe that caught my imagination most was the one that sounded like there was little hi frequency information, but it wasn’t as simple as rolling off the high end. It was like a really well played in string.
I have more homework to do.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by resistorman »

It seems to me that when asked what strings were used, a famous player from that era replied “the ones that came on it” :D Duck Dunn maybe? Could be just an apocryphal story…
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Random Guitarist »

I have TI flats on an Ibanez SR500 and also on my fretless.
I love them, good tone, nice feel, and last very well.
(I also have a PJ with roundwounds because sometimes you have to have that sound, but the flats are lovely strings.)

BUT, they don't really deliver a Motown thump, I think you need a thicker string for that, I have some Dadarrio flats on a fretless p-bass and they are probably more 'Motowney'

James Jamerson is supposed to have used LaBella flats in a slightly heavier gauge, I have no direct experience of those string though.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Dan LB »

resistorman wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 6:23 pm It seems to me that when asked what strings were used, a famous player from that era replied “the ones that came on it” :D Duck Dunn maybe? Could be just an apocryphal story…

That was Bernard Edwards of Chic IIRC but it was possibly DD too 😀
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Dan LB »

Random Guitarist wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 6:57 pm James Jamerson is supposed to have used LaBella flats in a slightly heavier gauge, I have no direct experience of those string though.

I’ve tried them once and didn’t get on with them but yes, they are the authentic motown bass string as used by Jamerson. Guages are .052 - .110 so they’re definitely on the beefy side and the tension is such that you can really dig into them without them flapping about.
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Re: Bass strings for Jazz bass

Post by Aled Hughes »

Dan LB wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 7:27 pm
Random Guitarist wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 6:57 pm James Jamerson is supposed to have used LaBella flats in a slightly heavier gauge, I have no direct experience of those string though.

I’ve tried them once and didn’t get on with them but yes, they are the authentic motown bass string as used by Jamerson. Guages are .052 - .110 so they’re definitely on the beefy side and the tension is such that you can really dig into them without them flapping about.

I have the slightly lighter set on the P, so still very heavy. They do give a proper ‘Motown’ sound.
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