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Strings for Double Bass:
Bass String Buyer's Guides
Strings: Choices for Rockabilly and Psychobilly Slap Bass Players
Gollihur Buyer's Guide
Choices starting at $140.00
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Rockabilly and Psychobilly String Choices
A Special "Buyer's Guide" from Bob and Mark
We talk to a lot of rockabilly players, and they're often looking for a new string that will give them "the sound" without turning their hands into bloody stumps. There are certainly many strings to choose from - we hear a lot about the weedwacker strings, for instance (anything designed for cutting grass sounds like it will probably cut my hands as well!) The majority of players we speak to have decided that one of the string sets below has met their needs, so we've grouped them together as a "buyer's guide" to help you narrow down what will work for you. Some of the sets were purpose-made for rockabilly players, others are ones that players have tried and found to work for that unique style.
You can read the short descriptions here, and purchase the set of your choice directly from this page. You can also learn more about a specific set you're interested in by clicking its link in the "related items" section, below - this may also provide other options, like different gauges or solo-tuning sets, five-string or extended E-string options, and more.
Thomastik Superflexible SOLO Gauge: Recently, some rockabilly-slapstyle players have found that they like the solo gauge Superflexibles - which were not purposely-designed for Rockabilly. For many, they're just a little bit harder to slap than non-metal strings, but for steel strings they're pretty easy on the fingers. They have a bit more "click" - but also more actual note - than plain gut or nylon, especially on the E and A; they will probably sound a little "twangy" until they break in (especially if you're used to gut or similar). But they're reported to have a long life, and they work quite well for "regular" pizz sound as well. And of course, these strings will work with a magnetic pickup like the Schaller (while gut or nylon won't).
- Eurosonic Ultra Light: These strings are a durable alternative to more costly gut strings; they've developed a cult-like following with many rockabilly and bluegrass musicians. Their design is what sets them apart,
their inner core is a braided cord consisting of steel and silk, which is then tightly wrapped with a blend of metal windings. Finally, they are wrapped with a special polymer, giving Eurosonics a unique, almost translucent look. They have a thick attack and less pronounced sustain than some other strings. Their unique Polyamide wrap makes for a gentle experience for both hands - which is great for slappers. The Ultralights are the best choice for 100% Rockabilly players - if you play other styles, the Lights may be a better choice so you have better definition on the low strings.
- Innovation Rockabilly: Innovation Rockabilly Strings were the first offering in their "Slap" line of strings and have a distinctive black outer winding over a synthetic core. These strings, designed specifically for the needs of rockabilly bassists, provide warmer, darker tone with decent volume, making them a great string for players who play predominantly slap-style. Their decidedly gut-like tone - and softness - makes them a great alternative to the expense and maintenance requirements of real gut strings. Players report that the Rockabilly strings are a good synthetic slap-style string - and they have the side benefit that they actually sound quite good for jazz pizzicato playing; they provide the player with enough sustain and growl to cover a jazz gig without changing to a different string. Note that all of the Innovation strings do not contain any ferrous materials; they are not suitable for use with a magnetic pickup, like the Schaller we carry.
- Innovation Silverslaps and Goldenslaps: The Silver and Golden Slap strings were designed to be an alternative to gut for players who slap; they have the lower tension and gut-like sound that traditional slappers prefer, with a more affordable price point and easier maintenance. They sound great amplified. Many players report that these strings are "closest to gut" in playability and feel. The SilverSlaps and GoldenSlaps are essentially the same, with the exception of the color of the inner windings (which shows through the translucent outer wrap). Note that all of the Innovation strings do not contain any ferrous materials; they are not suitable for use with a magnetic pickup, like the Schaller we carry.
- Innovation Psychoslaps: Similar to the Golden and SilverSlaps, above, but with a little more tension and a slightly thicker gauge. They are better suited to someone actually playing the psychobilly style; with the higher speed and aggressiveness, a bit more tension is needed. (For "straight rockabilly," the slap is more of a passing accent - and the GoldenSlaps, SilverSlaps, or Rockabilly strings might be a better choice.) The tone, when used for Psycho-slap, is very aggressive.Note that all of the Innovation strings do not contain any ferrous materials; they are not suitable for use with a magnetic pickup, like the Schaller we carry.
- Lenzner Gut Set: Okay, almost all the strings mentioned above compare themselves to gut. Here's the real thing, if you're looking to take the plunge! For some, there is no substitute for the soft feel and organic sweetness of true gut strings. The lowest strings have a nicely distinct but warm tone, which is an improvement over the guts of "yester-year." Gut strings do require a little maintenance, it is advisable to gently clip any "hairs" (hair-like little strands of gut that that develop with play). You may also want to oil them (walnut oil, most pure vegetable oils can do) for the longest life, especially if you are in a dry climate or go through dry periods. But if you want the sound of vintage, all-natural bass, you'll want to consider these. The plain gut (unwound) E is quite thick and "flubby" if you play any other styles but slap; for lots of rockabilly bassists, true gut is king!
Another option for Rockabilly not mentioned here: "Bumped" String Sets. To find out more about bumped sets (with some options for purchase) click here!
Is this product returnable? Click here for our return policy.
International customer? Click here for important information about ordering from outside the USA.
Choices starting at $140.00
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K&K Sound Bass Master Rockabilly PLUS Upright Bass Pickup System
This dual-pickup system gets "the sound" for Rockabilly! With two dedicated pickups - one for the bass tone and one for the "slap" - and a two-channel blending preamp/EQ, you can custom-tailor your sound.
Individual Components for the K&K Sound Bass Master Rockabilly System
For the ultimate "everything's included" Rockabilly Pickup set, check out the Bass Master Rockabilly Plus main page; if you already have a bass pickup that you prefer, each piece is also available separately for your convenience.
Eurosonic Upright Bass Strings
These strings are an alternative to more costly and problematic gut strings, that are developing a cult-like following with many jazz, rockabilly and bluegrass musicians...
Innovation GoldenSlaps - 140GLP (Golden Slap) Low Tension Strings
Innovation Golden Slap Strings are a "Hybrid" of sorts; a warm, dark gut-like tone, but with less tension - great for slapstyle Rockabilly and Psychobilly...
Innovation Psychoslaps for psychobilly- (Psycho Slaps) Low Tension Strings
Innovation Psychobilly strings are designed specifically for Psychobilly players, to get the sound and feel required by the style; low tension, but slightly thicker for ultra fast slapping...
Innovation Rockabilly - 140RB (Rock a Billy) Med Tension Strings
Innovation Rockabilly Strings were the first offering in their "Slap" line of strings and have a distinctive black outer winding...
Innovation SilverSlaps - 140SLP (Silver Slap) Low Tension Strings
Innovation SilverSlap Strings are a "Hybrid" of sorts; a warm, dark gut-like tone, but with less tension - great for slapstyle Rockabilly and Psychobilly...
Lenzner Gut Upright Bass Strings
A full set of gut strings; choose from all plain gut, or sets with wound E or A strings for a more uniform gauge and sound. Great quality, great price!
Thomastik SuperFlexible Upright Bass Strings
Superflexible strings feature a multi-strand steel core with chromesteel winding offering superior flexiblity and tonal response...
Strings: Bumped String Sets for Rockabilly
If Light Gauge strings aren't light enough for your aggressive slapping technique, perhaps a "bumped" string set may be the answer...