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Strings for Double BassStrings for 3/4 and 4/4 size Basses

D'Addario ZYEX Upright Bass Strings

         Manufactured by: D'Addario

Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
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D'Addario Zyex StringsD'Addario Zyex Upright Bass Strings

Okay... Zy-WHAT?!?!

These new strings are made of a "longer-lasting" alternative to nylon, called "Zyex." That's where they get their name, obviously.

Zyex is a "polyketone fiber," which you really don't need to know. What you do need to know is that D'Addario has actually been making strings out of this material (for other instruments, like classical guitar and violin) for many years. They just reformulated their blend, and they are now making Upright Bass Strings using Zyex.

Physically, the strings are a touch thicker than Pirastro Obligatos, and they don't exhibit the "roll" when plucked that other synthetic strings (including the Obligatos) sometimes do. They also sound a bit "darker" than Obligatos - with a bit more "growl," at least to my ears. Under the bow, they speak very quickly, and the pizz sustain rings clearly without overstaying its welcome - simply stated, they have a warm, gut-like tone (which is a common description of synthetic strings). They are similar to many of their contemporaries, to be sure - but obviously, there are differences too.

One thing that many people report as unique about the strings: kind of like wine (and bassists), they actually get better with age. Fresh out of the package, you might be a little underwhelmed - on some basses, they might sound a bit "zingy," can sometimes have uneven response from string to string (especially the D string) and the lower strings can have a tendency to sound a little scratchy under the bow. These idiosyncrasies seem to work themselves out once you've put a little mileage on the strings; they settle down, tone-wise, and the balance and arco response tends to improve.

Tonally, they have good volume, with nice fullness - especially the higher strings (some players have felt that the E string is a little "shy" compared to the other three.) Tuning stability is good, and they "start" quite easily under the bow.

Overall, they are a lower-tension, hybrid string that works well for lots of varied situations, but I wouldn't put them on a bass the same day I had a gig. But give them a little time to break in, and may well be worth the wait.

Finally, D'Addario says that:
Zyex strings have a versatile sound, making them a good choice for a variety of musical styles, from classical and modern music to jazz and country. Zyex strings maintain a warm, rich, gut-like tone quality, while remaining stable in tuning even under extreme climate conditions during hot and humid summer performances or cold outdoor sessions. Pitch stability is excellent after minimal break-in time. Zyex has a warmer sound than most other synthetic core strings, and they have excellent projection, making them exceptional for soloistic use as well as symphonic. A thicker string diameter and an overall lower tension make this set ideal for baroque, jazz and free styles. Zyex bass strings were developed primarily to offer outstanding pizzicato attacks and sustain, as well as superb bowing response.
  • First string G - Zyex/Titanium wound; tension = 61.0 lbs., .064 (Light 58.0 lbs., .061)
  • Second string D - Zyex/Stainless steel wound; tension = 62.5 lbs., .071 (Light 59.5 lbs., .069)
  • Third string A - Zyex/Tungsten wound; tension = 64.5 lbs., .081 (Light 62.5 lbs., .078)
  • Fourth string E - Zyex/Tungsten wound; tension = 66.0 lbs., .106 (Light 64.0 lbs., .101)

Note that the regular set of these strings will likely NOT fit a 4/4 bass! The regular "E" string tends to come up a bit short on extended-size basses. The measurement of a typical Zyex E string from the ball end to the silked portion that goes in the pegbox is 51" (the other three strings are longer, and have sufficient length for a 4/4 bass).

D'Addario has created a special longer E-string for 4/4 basses, and we've paired this string with the other 3 to create the "4/4 set" listed above. Measure your current E string from the ball end to the nut - if that runs longer than 51", purchase the special Zyex set that has an E-string that is made for 4/4 basses.

What are artists saying about the Zyex bass set?

Ira Coleman (Sting, Herbie Hancock, Jessye Norman, Dee Dee Bridgewater): "I am currently very excited about the new Zyex for bass. The strings have the fast response of a gut string with the clarity and sustain of a steel string. They are more elastic than steel core strings and are very smooth. I like the gauge relationship from E to G. Finally the best of both worlds! Pure delight from peg box to tail piece. Thank you D'Addario."

Larry Grenadier (Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Brad Mehldau): "I am very excited to have found these strings! They combine the warmth associated with gut strings with the presence and quickness of metal strings. They sound great bowed as well. I am very thankful that D'Addario has taken the time to address the jazz bass player's unique string needs."

Jim Robertson (DBR, Beaty Brothers): "The Zyex give me the feeling that I am playing gut strings. They still retain the depth and warm qualities that I liked so much in gut strings, but there are not as many inconsistencies in the tone that would tend to be the case with traditional gut strings. They are extremely even, retaining the warmth and depth, but still cutting very well."

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   STRINGS: String Identification Chart

Related Products

Pirastro Obligato Upright Bass Strings
Pirastro Obligato Upright Bass Strings

Pirastro's Obligato strings have a solid synthetic core with a very thin metal wrap. They do a pretty good job emulating gut strings, and have a real organic vibe to them; they also have a fairly pronounced "roll" to their pizz feel, meaning that they rotate a little under the plucking fingers. You get used to this, though, and they do have quite a satisfying thump to their tone. They also bow quite well.
    Extended Strings Available: Low B String Available for this string High C String Available for this string Low E String for extensions (to low C) Available for this string SOLO Gauge Strings Available for this string5ths Tuning String Set Available for this string
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

From $227.84

String Set: Pirastro Chromcor Upright Bass Strings
String Set: Pirastro Chromcor Upright Bass Strings

SPECIAL ORDER ITEM - A solid steel core wound with chrome steel gives these strings excellent stability and a bright tone.


Some of our customers have told us what they think about this product.
Check out what they had to say!
Thanks to everyone there. Those D'Addario Zyex strings turned a stiff, dead sounding bass into a good warm sounding dog house with a lot of growl.
Guy J (November 2014)
Just wanted to thank you profusely for the service you provide. We exchanged as few emails regarding strings a few months ago. I ordered Zyex mediums from you, and I couldn't be happier. I and my bass love them. Still a big gut like sound and none of the stickiness (of the strings I used to use), easily cleaned. Long list of pros and zero cons.

Since my bass was sounding the best ever acoustically, I decided to splurge on the ToneDexter. It took me 12 tries to get a good WaveMap, but I was able to use it on a gig that evening in a room I've played in dozens of times, and it truly made a world of difference. I recently installed to Realist Lifeline (also ordered from y'all!), which is a very good pickup, but my god, the ToneDexter really points out how much no pickup actually sounds like your bass. I think I'm the first San Diego local bassist to try the ToneDexter, and I suspect you will soon send many more out this way!

I may never have tried any of these products without your info-packed website & support. Thanks again!
Doug W (December 2018)
Hi Mark I got the Zyex Lights about a week ago and finally got up the nerve to install them on my Engelhardt ES 9 yesterday and I love them! You mentioned in a post on your site that they sound good on Kays and Engelhartds and you were right on. I tried them again early this AM and they are pretty bright and "zingy" but they sound and feel very good. I also tried some Arco and even with my dodgy technique they sounded good. I know they will mellow as they get played in but I am very happy with them and they are LOUD, at least compared to the old strings that they replaced. They are also much more even from string to string and up the fingerboard. Your advice was right on and your instruction sheet was helpful as usual and I would certainly recommend these strings for a bass like mine. They sound good unamplified and even better with the KNA pickup that I got from you a few months ago. Thanks again for your advice and great service! All the best in 2019!
Bob B (December 2018)