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Strings for Double BassBass String Buyer's Guides

Strings: Choices for Jazz Players

         Manufactured by: Gollihur Buyer's Guide

Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
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You've got options! Click the drop-down to choose (prices starting at $112.00)
Choose a String Set:

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Jazz String Choices
A Special "Buyer's Guide" from Mark

So, you're looking for strings for Jazz? The first question then becomes: WHICH jazz? Some play the more modern style of jazz, which emphasizes string sounds and clarity, and they favor a sound with longer sustain and lots of fingerboard interaction (we affectionately call this "mwah.") But then, there is also New Orleans or old-timey jazz, where the bassist craves that bigger and thicker style bass -- but still needs decent string definition. It's important to know what you're aiming for before you start.

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.

The Choices:

  • Corelli 370: We like these strings (and use them ourselves) for their versatility and articulate sound. These are not your Daddy's doghouse bass string... unlike the more typical and earlier string types, these have an edge to their attack, rather than the traditional blunter attack. Physically, they are thinner in gauge when compared to other strings, and I also find them to be more flexible and less stiff. They are versatile and articulate, with a distinct edge to their attack. They lean towards a more modern sound, and while a little bright at first, they settle in after a few hours of play. Side benefit: they bow well!
  • D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato: These strings have the most sustain and growl in the Helicore family. They have a satisfyingly "big" sound, with lots of definition and enhanced sustain, so they work well for modern jazz players. Frankly, many players feel that Helicore Pizz strings are essentially D'Addario's version of the Thomastik Spirocores. And the price is right!
  • LaBella 7710 Black Tape Wound: These strings are a favorite of jazz bassist Ron Carter, and are pretty popular for that reason (and others). They are metal rope core strings, surrounded by a black nylon wrap, for a smooth feel. They were originally designed to emulate gut, but thanks to their metal-based core, they have a bit more of the feel of steel strings. The bottom end is good and solid, and they work well for the jazz bassist who isn't looking for the "full twang" of some of the metal string choices - but likes the solid feel of those strings.
  • Innovation UB Ultra Black: Here's one for "old skool" jazz - Innovation Double Bass Strings are designed to provide a gut-like tone, but hold their pitch well in climate and temperature changes. These strings are named for their distinctive "Ultra Black" colored outer winding. They have a darker tone, like most gut strings, but have the advantage of being a bit more distinct than gut. They offer a less "twangy" alternative to other popular jazz strings. The flexibility of the core (a nylon wound in a "rope" pattern) allows you to really "dig in" without having the string excessively modulate out of tune. Yet the outer wrapping has a hard enough surface to get a nice "growl" or "mwah" from fingerboard interaction, if that's what you're looking for.

  • Innovation Honey: This one's a Solid Core string, unlike the braided core of the other Innovation sets, with a Chrome Tape winding. This maintains the Gut-like vibe of the other Innovation sets but with a string tension and feel more like steel strings; most notably, they can have a slightly stiffer feel under the plucking hand. A good string for older styles of jazz, they have a nice attack - and can even growl a bit if you push 'em! But they mostly have an "older-school" tone, often compared to that of wound gut strings, but with the less "floppy" feel you get with steel strings.
  • Pirastro Jazzer: The Jazzer rope-core (steel strands wound in a rope-like pattern) steel strings are recommended by Pirastro for pizzicato players, though they can also be a good hybrid string for players who gig many styles. They have a clear, powerful sound and are generally considered a good choice for the Jazz musician. They have longer sustain than many other choices, and a big tonal volume. And hey, they even have "jazz" in the name! ;-)
  • Thomastik Spirocore: Spiros are a longtime favorite for jazz and other genres, and they have been a popular string (regardless of style) for many years. They have great sustain and a great big sound; good for many styles, but they remain a jazz favorite. You'll also find them on lots of general use basses, for bluegrass, blues, and other styles where that big sound and sustain are prized. We carry the standard "Medium" Spirocores, as well as the Weich, or light weight gauge, which are more flexible and lighter.


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