Hi fellow ubassists,
The main string types available for ubass players is featured and tested in this blog post
But first some background info…
When I started to play ubass the original Road Toad Pahoehoe (Black polyurethane) was used exclusively (2010-2012). One reason was of course because it was the only string available. (The Pyramid Round Wound String and strings by Aquila Corde debuted during this period but since I only had one ubass and used it so much I didn’t get around to try these at the time).
The next string I used was the Aquila Corde Thundergut string (2012). It had more tension and settled in quicker. One downside was that it had a more sticky feeling than the Pahoehoe strings. But I used them for quite some time and thought they were nice to play.
Next up was the Aquila Thunder Red strings (2014). These strings were really nice to play and had a lovely tone where it was pretty easy to go from a warm full jazzy sound (playing close to the end of the fingerboard) and more of a “pop” sound when playing closer to the bridge.
Since then even more option has come to us ubassists!
This Summer was the debut of the Kala Flatwound string by Gallistrings.
I have used prototype sets of these strings since December 2018.
Although they are primarily made for the acoustic/electric ubasses I have tried them on solid body ubasses too.
(I will share some videos from these tests soon!)
The focus with the following video(s) is a comparison between the Road Toad Pahoehoe, Kala Round Wound and Kala Flatwound by Gallistrings.
These sets truly represent three different tone flavors. (The difference in sound and feel between the other “rubber-like” strings and the Pahoehoe is of course noticeable but the Aquila strings are not included in this test. Please check other posts about strings under Reviews and tests).
Some info and personal thoughts about the following test
I made three different short compositions; Slow Funk, Pop Song and Jazz Intro. I wrote bass parts and recorded three (and in one example four) tracks with three different ubasses featuring the Pahoehoe, Flat Wound and Round Wound strings.
I cut between the different recorded ubass tracks in the main video so it’s easy to compare the different tones and timbres. (In a seperate video (see below) the examples are included in full if you want to hear more from each string set and not just around eight bars of each ubass/string set).
More info about the ubass tracks and how I worked with them in the Tech Talk section below.
So what do I think about these different strings?
Well, I do enjoy playing all of these sets since they give me different tones and timbres. I think my playing changes depending on the strings I play at the moment. I do believe all these sets can work for a big variety of styles and that it’s mainly up to the player to choose what feels best for him/her regarding to the sound they hear in their head.
I guess I’ll choose string (and ubass) based on these basic guidelines
A warm, round sound with lots of low end > Road Toad Pahoehoe
Warm, round with a more focused sound > Kala Flat Wound by Gallistrings
A defined yet warm sound with longer sustain > Kala Round Wound
Most important for happy music creation is a using tools that makes it easy to express yourself.
I really love having different options to choose from while others might have found their ”holy-grail-string” and stick to those strings for a long time!
A little disclaimer and some extra info about the recordings in this test
The round wound strings in this test are played on a fretted Kala Journeyman while the other string types are used on two different Spruce top fretless ubasses. My original Ubass (see Tech Talk) and a newer one. The best thing would have been to use the same ubass for all string types. This was not possible but I hope that you still can get something out of the test.
I have treated all the ubass recordings in approximataly the same way regarding volume, EQ and compression. A commercial release would NOT have been done this way! In the case of a commercial release the sound would have been tweaked even further to make it sit in the track best possible way. The volume of the ubass tracks would also have been considerable lower so it would blend better and not compete to much with melody and vocals. These recordings can be seen as basic tracks with room for instrumental or vocal melodies.
Good luck with your ubass playing,
Road Toad Pahoehoe strings: Kala Spruce acoustic/electric ubass, fretless (2010) Recorded through the RMI Basswitch IQ/DI with the 10MOhm input setting
Kala Flat wound by Gallistrings: Kala Spruce acoustic/electric ubass, fretless (2018)
Kala Metal Round Wound: Kala Journeyman (2018)
Jule Monique – all tube premium tube preamp XLR out > Universal Audio Apollo > Logic Pro X
Minimal EQ, compression on the ubass tracks
EQ: HiPass at 30 Hz x dB boost at 2,5 kHz.
Compression: ~ 1 dB compression with LA2A UAD compressor
EQ: HiPass at 30 Hz x dB cut at 200 Hz x dB boost at 2,5 kHz
Compression: ~ 1 dB compression with LA2A UAD compressor
Full length versions of Slow Funk and Pop Song
5 reaktioner till “Playubass String Test July 2019”
Jag hittar ingen som säljer Flatwound strängar, femsträngat, till Kala solid body. Vet du var dessa finns? Bosse
Skickat från min iPad
Flat wounds till femsträngat finns inte än tyvärr. Men jag skall jobba på det! 🙂
De fltwounds som finns är inte heller tillräckligt långa för en 23,5 tums solid body.
Jag skall försöka påverka utvecklingen så mycket jag kan!
På The Playubass Group (Facebook) kommer jag att dela video(s) på hur flatwounds låter på 4-strängade solid body även om strängarna är framtagna för att fungera på de akustiska inte de solida.
Ha det så fint!
Hey Magnus. You’re youtube videos inspired me to take up u-bass! Thanks so much for putting all this info out there for everyone else. Quick question: is it complicated to install the Galli Flatwound Strings on a regular mahogany acoustic-electric U-Bass? I have been hearing warnings about needing to lower/file nuts and even maybe move the nut and bridge for proper intonation, etc.
Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you found my info useful. So great that you have picked up playing the ubass too!
The flatwound strings might require a new nut since the diameter of the strings are smaller. I have, however, been able to use the same nut. It’s not ideal but works since I play with a pretty soft touch. You could say that I adopt to the instrument I play. If I need to play softer, and turn up the amp, in order to get a nice sound without to much extra noice I try to alter my playing technique and touch!
I recommend using a “regular bass string approach” when installing the flatwound strings, i.e. using this technique:
Good luck with your ubass endeavors!