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Bass Guitar Strings

Bass Guitar Strings:

Replacing and Tuning

Knowing Your Guitar Strings

The strings on an electric bass have a strong influence on its playability and tone. If you have ever looked for new bass strings in the past, you have probably become slightly confused and overwhelmed. This is a guide to help with the decision on which strings would be the best for you and your playing style.

What To Consider When Choosing Strings

Most Important Factors

  • How often you play
  • The number of strings on your bass
  • Your playing style and music genre
  • The scale length of your bass
  • The sound and tone you want to achieve

What impacts these factors

  • Type of string winding
  • The type of coating (if any)
  • String gauge
  • String construction materials

String Winding


Flatwound strings have a steel core wire wrapped with a flat wire that gives it a smooth feel while making a mellower tone than roundwound strings. These were the only thing available until the 60's until roundwounds came along. They continue to be used by some jazz, country, and blues players. Many fretless bassist's also use them to reduce fretboard wear.


Roundwound strings are the most popular style of string and have round wrap wire made of stainless steel or nickel. Stainless steel gives off a brighter louder sound that is great for slapping and popping techniques. These are popular with rock and funk styles but wear frets down over time and give off more finger noise.


Another type but one of the least known bass string types has nylon wrapped around the metal winding wire. This gives them a soft touch and produces a soft dark tone kind of like an upright bass. (usually come in black)


Half round strings are like a hybrid that are manufactured like roundwound strings but are ground or pressed to make a flattened surface that reduces noise and fret wear but still maintain the brightness of roundwound strings.


All of the above string types can be found in a special taperwound style that tapers to bring the core of the string into direct contact with the bridge to enhance sustain. Note: be sure to get a set that matches your scale length so that the taper falls off to your bridge location.

Bass Guitar String Materials

Pure Nickel

They have less magnetic attraction than steel strings, they also produce a warmer, more vintage tone. The sound is often compared to the sound of the ‘50s and early ‘60s country, rock, and pop bass.

Nickel-Plated Steel

The most popular of bass string materials, they have a comfortable feel and bright tone. Many bassist's in several genres using these.

Polymer-Coated Strings

Manufacturers use synthetic coating materials that extend string life. The coating on the strings help prevent corrosion. The tones very between manufactures/

Stainless Steel

They give a very bright tone. They have a corrosion resistance. Popular with rock, jazz, and metal players.

Copper-Plated Steel

Retain a bright tone, and their thin copper coating produces rich acoustic overtones.

How to Restring and Tune Your Bass Guitar

Fender Guitar demonstrates how to restring a bass guitar.

Fender Guitar demonstrates how to tune a bass guitar.

Bass Guitars

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