Best Bass Strings Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
If you are out to find the best bass strings money can get you, but you don’t have the time to read all the info that we have gathered for you, this paragraph should help you make up your mind. After going through a multitude of specialized reviews and after reading what previous users have had to say about the choices in this category, we have concluded that the Ernie Ball Slinky is the product that you should bear in mind before you make a purchase. This model consists of four bass strings that have been crafted from the finest materials available. Moreover, each string is made from a high carbon steel hex core that has been nickel plated with steel. Because of this, the product provides a rich, balanced tone that many musicians love. If you can’t find our first choice, check out the D’Addario EXL160.
Our Top Choice
Most experts recommend this model due to its note accuracy and ease of use. Many musicians use these as their daily bass strings because they’re ideal for both practice and amazing concerts. The strings are crafted from nickel-plated steel wrapped around a high-carbon steel core, which gives them an extended lifespan.
As one buyer pointed out, the product might lack when it comes to softness as the strings have a harsher surface.
Overall, the strings have a balanced tone that can match any playing style. Musicians also say they have a flexible feel and constructed from top-notch materials that won't disappoint.
Check out this other product that deserves all your hard-earned money. These strings are famous for their intonation and consistency and for the fact that they come from a trusted brand. They can be used in any environment without distortion and without fearing they will rust and sound dull. Moreover, their bright tonality makes them perfect for blues.
We noticed that some of the buyers didn't enjoy the fact that the product is not suited for a wide range of music genres.
The product fits long scale basses with a string scale length of up to 36 1/4 inches. And if you're concerned about quality, note that they were made in the US, which is a trusted stamp of quality.
If you own a bass that lacks nice strings that can match its performances, then this model might speak to you. The Jim Dunlop-made product rocks a core wire that enables it to provide enhanced flexibility and responsiveness that will impress everyone. Even its packaging is next-level, as it offers three layers of moisture protection.
The one flaw that could bother some is its heavy core, which might not be very suited for warmer songs.
The strings can be tuned easily, and the sound character has been described as a happy medium, which means it won't sound extreme. They have a comfortable feel and articulate mids and crunchy highs.
14 Best Bass Strings (Reviews) in 2019
Let’s be honest, finding good bass strings is a somewhat challenging task for those that are novices when it comes to playing the bass guitar. However, because we know this a little too well, we are here to help you out! Below, you can find a list of reliable units that are worthy of your consideration.
- 1. Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set
- 2. D’Addario EXL160 XL Nickel Wound Medium
- 3. Jim Dunlop DBHCN45105 Bass Strings
- 4. Fender 9050-M Stainless Steel Flat Wound Bass Guitar Strings
- 5. GHS Bass Boomers String Set For Electric Bass
- 6. Rotosound Stainless Steel Custom Gauge Roundwound Bass Strings
- 7. D’Addario EXL220BT 40-95 Balanced Tension Super Light
- 8. DR Strings FB5-45 Fat-Beams Bass 5 Strings Medium
- 9. Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel 4-String Bass Strings
- 10. DR Strings Pure Blues Bass Guitar Strings
- Yearly Guide & Report
With overall positive reviews from its buyers and the specialists, Ernie Ball is a string brand that won’t let you down, as many of today’s top musicians prefer the strings that the company produces.
The reason for this has to do with the fact that these strings are made from a nickel plated steel piece that has been wrapped around a tin plated high carbon steel core. As a consequence, the user can enjoy a tone that works well on all bass devices.
As a plus, the product has been packaged in a low humidity environment, so that its buyers can enjoy its high-quality. What is more, these strings are known for having a smooth feel and for being quite durable, even when used for an extended period of time. Moreover, previous buyers have noticed that these strings can supply the user with a versatile range of tones and sounds.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($16.99)
2. D’Addario EXL160 XL Nickel Wound Medium
Another product that is worthy of your time and money is the D’Addario EXL160 Nickel. These strings have been developed by a manufacturer that has made a name for itself in the business. As a plus, they are known for their intonation, consistency and their bright sound that fits perfectly with all playing styles out there.
According to the manufacturer, these cords have been made using modern technology and advanced machinery in a controlled environment. Because of this, the model is said to perform well in all circumstances.
The product has been continuously praised for its durability and sustainability, and it has received plenty of favorable feedback comments from its previous buyers. On top of that, technically speaking, this unit can fit basses that have a string scale that measures up to 36 1/4 inches. The model is particularly suitable for those players that are interested in a low tune.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.99)
3. Jim Dunlop DBHCN45105 Bass Strings
Another unit that you might want to consider is the one developed and sold by Jim Dunlop. This model is made up of a sturdy core wire, and it features minutely calculated proprietary core-to-wrap ratios. Consequently, when playing with these strings, they feel like thick and heavier strings, and they have a responsive feel that you might enjoy.
This model was optimized for playing Drop D and D Standard and, as a result, it offers the users the possibility of using lower tunings. The product has been packaged using no less than three levels of moisture protection. Additionally, these strings have been sealed in order to ensure that they arrive undamaged to the buyers.
At the time that we carried out our research, this product had overall good reviews from users. The model has a comfortable, some might say standard character, and the strings can be effortlessly used for down tuning.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.03)
4. Fender 9050-M Stainless Steel Flat Wound Bass Guitar Strings
If you are a devotee of Fender and you want to purchase the strings produced by the string brand, we recommend that you give the 9050 Stainless Flatwound model a go. This product is a match for those bass guitarists that enjoy playing R&B, jazz, reggae and even country. In other words, if you are searching for a unit that can produce a rich, warm tone, this is the product for you!
The set is made from stainless steel, a feature that guarantees its durability while its flatwound construction is said to reduce the noise made by the player’s fingers. According to overall reviews, this product is consistent and long-lasting. Also, these strings have a smooth feel that many fancy.
As expected, this model produced by Fender stands out because of its reliability and high quality. Because of this, most of its users highly recommend it to other interested buyers.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.99)
5. GHS Bass Boomers String Set For Electric Bass
Another nickel plated, fresh pack of strings is produced by GHS Strings Bass Boomers. These were constructed by round wounding nickel plate steel on a strengthened core. Consequently, this product is sturdy and quite robust when compared to other similar counterparts.
In order to make this product worth your consideration, the string brand has built it in a climate controlled facility. Therefore, this model is said to lock out corrosion and to pass the test of time. What is more, the M3045 Bass Boomers strings are durable, and they have a warmer tone to them that is neither too bright nor too metallic sounding. Also, these strings are soft on one’s fingers and very comfortable to use while practicing or when playing at a gig.
Over the course of time, the Bass Boomers unit has managed to gain many repeat customers that appreciate its consistency and prolonged lifespan. As a result, they warmly recommend it to other bassists.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.99)
6. Rotosound Stainless Steel Custom Gauge Roundwound Bass Strings
If you want to use the same strings as John Paul Jones or Billy Sheehan, look no further than the RS66LF Swing unit sold by Rotosound. The model has the following string gauges: 45, 65, 85, 105 and it was made using stainless steel.
According to the current users of the model, these strings are perfect if you are planning on using them for playing rock music. However, if you are interested in a silky smooth bass sound, it might be a good idea to look for an alternative product.
Additionally, we consider that it is important to point out that previous users of the unit have said that these strings are not particularly easy on one’s fingers. Therefore, if you have delicate hands, you might want to reconsider your decision to buy them. All in all, the model can provide its users with a great, consistent sound that all rock enthusiasts are likely to enjoy.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.99)
7. D’Addario EXL220BT 40-95 Balanced Tension Super Light
Another product that has received excellent feedback from bass players is the EXL220BT by D’Addario. Because of the balance tension sets that it includes, this model allows the player to apply an equal amount of hand pressure in each string.
Therefore, these cords are said to produce a bright sound. This is possible because the unit is made of nickel-plated good steel. Moreover, the model comes shipped in an environmentally friendly package that is resistant to corrosion.
The product is suitable for those bassists that are searching for a harmonious sound. Additionally, you should know that the model’s users have said that the strings are exceptional when it comes to holding intonation and that they feel good when switching from one string to another. Also, the device has an even tone that most professional players look for. Lastly, this product offers great value for the money, and it is often regarded as a safe investment.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.95)
8. DR Strings FB5-45 Fat-Beams Bass 5 Strings Medium
With a consistent string to string balance, the FB5-45 Fat-Beams model developed by DR Strings should also be on your mind. This device is easy on your frets, and it has a gauge that varies from 45 to 125.
These strings have been handmade from high-quality stainless steel so that its users are provided with a top-notch sound and a smooth feel. The strings have a round core and a 38’ winding ball to taper.
Prior buyers of the product have mentioned that the model has an awesome bass overall tone and that it can maintain a bright sound over time even after prolonged use. Additionally, the strings are easy on one’s fingers. The product can be utilized when playing jazz, pop, blues, fusion and/or rock.
Apart from having an outstanding range, when installed, these strings are effortless to use, and they produce a great sound that you will certainly be happy with.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($25.49)
9. Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel 4-String Bass Strings
If you are determined to purchase reliable bass strings and you are not afraid of investing some extra money on a product of this type, go ahead and take a look at the Elixir Strings Nickel Plated. Just like many other similar units, these strings are made with nickel-plated good steel wrap wire, and they have a rounded tone that is both clear and very rich.
Also, in order to enhance the grip of the product, the manufacturer has coated these units with an ultra-thin Nanoweb coating that has been expressly redesigned to be used with bass guitar strips in order to ensure that they have a smooth and natural feel.
The model is worth your attention because this patented coating provides an enhanced grip that seasoned players think highly of. Moreover, the layer is known for actually extending the tone life of the strings. Lastly, this product has a long scale and a medium gauge that is quite versatile (045 .065 .085 .105).
Buy from Amazon.com for ($36.99)
10. DR Strings Pure Blues Bass Guitar Strings
If you are an aficionado of blues music and you are searching for strings that can help you play your favorite bass songs, the PB-45 Pure Blues model created by DR Strings should also make it to your shortlist.
The product has been created to appeal to the modern bass player. To do so, the manufacturer has combined the last minute winding techniques with an alloy called quantum-nickel. Consequently, those that decide to purchase this product will be able to enjoy more top end clank and more power than that provided by traditional strings.
The players that have tested them have said that the strings are of good quality and that they produce an excellent sound. As a plus, differently from other units, this product has a modern tone that is both clear and punchy.
Last but not least, you might want to know that these strings have been handmade and that they have a scale length of 37 3/4″.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.69)
11. DR Strings NGB-45 Coated Nickel
Another product that might stir your interest is the DR Strings NGB-45 model. This product differentiates itself from other similar products because the strings that the set includes are luminescent and, thus, likely to catch the attention of the crowd that you are playing for. Additionally, the NGB-45 is capable of glowing under any UV light source.
According to the manufacturer, the unit is very durable and, therefore, it can pass the test of time with flying colors. Also, the properties of this string set are quite eye-catching as this product delivers more than enough sustainability, sturdiness, and tonality.
Differently from non-coated units, these strings have a smooth feel to them and, because of this, they are highly playable. Apart from looking exceptional, the strings sound good. Yet, current users of the product have said that, because of their design, these strings are better suited for rock bassists rather than blues players. So, give them a go!
Buy from Amazon.com for ($25.97)
12. DR Strings Sunbeam
If you are a fan of DR Strings, the Sunbeam is another model that you might be interested in. This unit has a medium gauge, and it has a warm, bright tone that makes it suitable to be used with a wide range of musical genres.
The model is carefully handmade, and it consists of nickel-plated strings that have been wound on round cores. On top of that, because of the sensitive magnetic content of the strings, they are said to have an increased response to magnetic pickups.
Just like similar models produced by DR Strings, Sunbeam features the always recognizable flexibility and convenient feel (they are smooth to one’s fingertips) that many players simply love.
The product is appraised by previous buyers that appreciate the brightness of the tone and the ease of playing with it. The model has plenty of happy repeat buyers.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.99)
13. D’Addario NYXL45130 Nickel
As a redesigned version of older models, the NYXL45130 Nickel Wound strings produced by D’Addario offer a lot of features that you might like. For example, when constructing this product, the manufacturer has re-engineered the classic core-to-wrap ratios used for previous models, and it has created a more versatile string that aims to cater to the needs of the player.
Also, the company has redone the nickel-plated good steel wrap wire technique that it previously used so that the new unit has a better feel and more emphasized harmonics that the users can enjoy.
Besides, the steel core employed in the making of each string has been improved so that the tuning is more stable and the product is overall, more durable. This model can fit a scale bass that measures up to 36 1/4 inches. As expected the model is well liked by users and particularly recommended to those interested in taking their playing abilities to the next level.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.97)
14. Jim Dunlop DBSBN40120
This list would have been unfinished without us telling you about the Jim Dunlop DBSBN40120. This unit features five strings that have been plated with nickel, and they are said to deliver crisp top ends to their users.
The model has a light tension that renders a superior response when playing and a silky feel that is synonymous with comfort. The product has an exceptionally long lifespan and that great string balance that all players look for in a unit of this type.
Because of its bright tone, the model is ideal for when playing metal (or rock in general), pop funk and slap. Still, you should know that a small number of the users of the product have claimed that the product is a bit difficult to intonate. Nonetheless, this might have something to do with the experience level of each player.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.87)
Yearly Guide & Report
Let’s be honest, when it comes to the task of figuring out what the best strings for bass guitar on the market are, most players are faced with a seemingly impossible decision.
Because we know this, we are here to make your life easier. Therefore, the following buying guide contains essential pieces of information that you can use while making your way through the countless models available.
Types of strings and how to take care of them
Just like when shopping for violin strings, one of the first things that you should do when scouring the net trying to purchase bass strings is deciding on what type of unit you want. There are four options that you can pick from.
First, there are strings made from nickel plated steel. These models are the most popular choice among bass players, and they are characterized by the fact that they offer a tone and a great frequency response. Additionally, nickel plated steel models are perfect for playing a wide range of music genres (from country to rock).
Secondly, you can purchase strings that have been constructed from pure nickel. Differently from the first options, these models have a warmer tone, and they are less crisp (sound-wise). These strings allow their users to produce vintage sounds that remind one of the golden age of classic rock music (that is, of course, the 60’s).
Next, stainless steel units are often regarded as the brightest strings one could select as they produce a high-end response. Lastly, the flat-wound models have the warmest sound and, because of this, they are suitable for when you want to play blues or jazz.
Furthermore, according to many bass strings reviews, if you want to make sure that your new strings will last you a sustained period of time, it is recommendable that you follow a handful of practical suggestions.
For instance, before you start playing, it is advisable that you wash your hands so that no oil and debris is transferred to them. Then, similarly to when taking care of your acoustic guitar strings, you should make sure that, after each playing session, you wipe the strings of the unit with a microfiber cloth.
Additionally, if you have to change bass strings but you are reluctant in investing in new cheap bass strings, seasoned players recommend that you actually boil the old strings for a brief period of time. If done correctly, this can help clean them of the accumulated dirt. Consequently, you will be able to use them for a bit more time. This technique can also be used when cleaning mandolin strings.
Gauge, winding and scale length
If you want to end up with the best bass guitar strings out there, it is important that you also consider the thickness and the type of gauge that a unit comes fitted with. As you probably know already, differently from the cheaper strings one uses on an acoustic-electric bass, bass strings are a bit more expensive, mainly because they have bigger gauges.
If you are just now starting to learn the basics of bass playing, it is advisable that you acquire a bass set of medium strings. These models usually have a standard gauge that ranges from 45 to 105 as you will be getting sufficient versatility of tone.
Yet, if you are a seasoned player that likes to experiment from time to time, go ahead and order a bass string set of strings with a lighter gauge (40 to 100). For the thicker tones required when playing heavy rock, it is advisable that you opt for a gauge of around 50 to 110. A lighter gauged set is a good choice for a professional bass player.
Winding-wise, all rock and funk players should set their eyes on round wound models, as these are the most suitable for these genres. What’s more, jazz and blues players that are looking for that vintage, mellow tone should invest in flat-wound strings.
Lastly and similarly to when shopping for cello strings, you should remember to verify the length of the scale of the model that you are using. If you do not know this technical detail, take a minute to measure the distance between the bridge saddles and the nut of your instrument.
Generally, there are three types of models: short units (that have a scale length of 32’ or less), medium devices (32’ to 34’), and long models (34’to 36’). If you do so, we are confident that you will be able to select the bass strings for sale out there.
Additional aspects that are worth taking into account
If you have no longer interested in using a beginner electric guitar and you are now set on trying to learn how to play bass, it is crucial that you understand the importance of the following features.
On the one hand, when purchasing strings, you should go online and do some research of your own. For example you could read what the previous buyers of a product have had to say about it. This aspect is crucial because many of the reviewers are seasoned players that can help you understand just how reliable the product is.
On the other hand, don’t forget that some reviews of bass string recommend that novice players do not try to install the strings themselves. Because the task of replacing strings involves a lot of precision and plenty of attention to detail, it is best that you request specialized help when first doing so. This way, you can avoid any unhappy incidents that result in the breaking of the strings. The same can be said about replacing ukulele strings.
Lastly, it is also recommended that you only purchase models sold by well-known manufacturers that are highly regarded by previous buyers. By comparison to other manufacturers, these sellers are more likely to provide you with quality items.
On top of that, most of them are known for offering outstanding customer care. Hence, if you happen to have any problems with your strings, they are more likely to step in and help you mend the issue in a short amount of time.