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
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.