The Best Bass Guitar Strings: Top 5 Options to Consider in 2020

By Jodie Chiffey | Guitar Accessories

Switching up your bass guitar strings can be a challenging decision. The right set can breathe new life into your music, while the wrong ones can dampen it.

Some bassists stick to a set until it breaks, others prefer to change it up after every session. Regardless of where you stand, the type, thickness, and brand can make a huge difference. It can be troubling for players if they accidentally pick a set unsuitable for their play style and preferences.

So, how do you pick the best bass guitar strings?

There are a number of options available and our guide cuts through all the noise to answer all your questions. We’ll look at how guitar strings influence your sounds, what types are available, and which brands are worth your coin.

Before all that, however, let’s take a brief look at our line-up. You can keep their specifics in mind as we analyze which bass guitar string set might be perfect for you.

We Recommend Ernie Ball Bass Set
$16.69

The Ernie Ball Bass guitar strings core is made from tin-plated high carbon steel hex wire that features great durability. The Ernie Ball strings produce contemporary bright and balanced tones created with a focus on intonation and consistency which makes them perfect for genres like rock and pop and are widely used by professionals around the world.

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We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

5 Best Bass Guitar Strings – an Overview

Model Dimensions String Material String Gauge Price range
GHS Strings M6000 4-String Bassics, Nickel-Plated Electric Bass Strings 0.5 x 7 x 7 inches / 4 ounces Nickel Steel 40-102, 44-102, 44-106, 44-130 $
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set 6.5 x 0.1 x 4.5 inches / 0.31 ounces Nickel Steel 40-95, 45-100, 45-105. 50-105, 55-110 $$
D’Addario NYXL Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings 6 x 0.63 x 6 inches / 4 ounces Nickel Steel 40-95, 45-100, 45-105, 50-105, 55-110, 45-125 $$
La Bella Talkin’ Deep Bass Stainless Steel Flatwound  6.5 x 6.25 x 0.5 inches /0.353 ounces Stainless Steel 39-96, 43-104, 43-128, 45-128, 49-109 $$
Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic 4-String Bass Strings 6 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches / 4.8 ounces Coated Bronze .045-.100 $$$

What are The Main Advantages of Bass Guitar Strings?

A bass guitar is not a flashy instrument, but it can add groove, intrigue, or expressions. Skillful bass players are able to capture the audience’s ears and provide a harmony that stands out on its own.

However, having the proper tools certainly helps. Much like amps, pedals, and other accessories, a string set influences tones to either make or break melodies. They are an important element of fine-tuning your notes to find that perfect bass sound.

There are several characteristics and factors that will influence your decision, but understanding the string’s importance is a mighty skill in itself.

Whether you’re a groover or a solo bassist, there are several advantages to changing up your bass guitar string set.

Get the Perfect Bass Tones

Most players have sounds stuck in their heads which are translated through their instruments. Not having the perfect tone can be irksome and confusing for players, especially if they’re just starting out. Some bass players prefer brighter, punchier sounds to complement rock, pop, or country genres. While others look for truly deep lows with fat, full bottoms to create the perfect jazz or reggae vibes.

Different bass guitar string sets offer different tones with the same base guitar. Therefore it is a rather easy way to customize your music to get the perfect output you need.

Small Purchase for A Big Impact

Beginners will often get into buying expensive accessories to fine-tune their sound. But, that simply adds more elements to learn without mastering the main bass guitar.

If the sound of your guitar is slightly off-putting, getting costly gear will not be a wise solution. Instead, start off simple with changing up your string sets. It can convert brights to warm, deep tones and vice versa. You’ll be able to make subtle adjustments to your sound based on your preferences, while you get a grip of your instrument.

Reinvigorate An Old Guitar

According to some guitarists, strings should be replaced when they break and not before. The funk of a well-worked guitar has rivals none. But, it doesn’t always work that way. Loved guitars can wear out over time and start to sound rather dull or off-tune. The solution is simple, however.

Replace that old guitar string set for some newer ones and your melody will start to sound fresher. It’ll be nearly as good as new without costing you a fortune.

Be the Master

As mentioned above, strings affect how your guitar sounds, but did you know it can influence how you play?

Some string sets will be easier to play on, others will be more flexible, and so on. Your play style can be influenced by the strings you have.

For example, if calluses are a major concern, a different type of guitar string set could help ease that. What to Look For With Bass Guitar Strings? When deciding between the different brands will be secondary to choosing a type of string.

There are two main types of bass guitar strings: Roundwound and Flatwound. There are further types and characteristics within these two categories, but this is where the most obvious difference lies.

Roundwound strings are quite common, often being the standard set that comes with a bass guitar. As the name suggests, these are wound rounded around the string and have ridges. Resultantly, these strings are a bit rough on the hands and cause more friction. It makes up for its possibly discomforting experience by producing brighter and funkier.

On the other hand, the Flatwound strings are less common and often used with fretless basses. The ridges around the string are flattened to be gentler on the hands. Its notes are much deeper and warmer than its counterpart.

The metal alloy used in bass guitar strings also has an impact. Nickel-plated steel is most commonly used as it has a comfortable feel and provides bright tones. Pure nickel is less common due to its warmer tones which has a vintage ring now.

Stainless Steel guitar strings are also a popular choice for their bright tones and durability. Some strings may use copper-plated steel to provide acoustic-like tones, but these are less used. Lastly, there are polymer-coated string sets that improve comfort, but their tones will differ between brands.

Similar to standard guitar string sets, their gauge also makes a difference. Thinner strings have a vibrant and brighter tone, whereas thicker strings produce warmer sounds.

What to look for is a matter of preference and the sounds you’re trying to ultimately produce. Your budget will play a small factor, depending on your play style. Frequently changing your strings may impact which brands you go for, but bass guitar strings are usually inexpensive enough for set-it-and-forget-it players.

And, with that out of the way, let’s look at 5 options that bass players may want to check out.

5 of The Best Bass Guitar Strings on the Market

GHS Strings M6000 4-String Bassics, Nickel-Plated Electric Bass Strings- Best Bass Guitar Strings For Beginners

ghs string

If you’re just starting out and need a reliable pair of strings to practice on, the GHS string is perfect. As the name suggests, these basic guitar strings provide a balanced tone. It has a punchy mid but won’t lean on either direction towards brighter or warmer tones. Instead, it gives an all-rounder performance to get you started.

With a sturdy construction and high tension thresholds, they’re a great option for practicing without fret buzz. The sounds remain meaty and pronounced as you’d expect from such a set. It provides a harmonic performance allowing players to really understand their instrument and learn their way around the strings.

As flat-wound strings, they’re comfortable on the fingers and are less likely to cause bruises sliding through. It has a durable core that ensures its long-lasting capabilities. This medium gauge is perfect for novices who simply want a great start.

Specifications

  • Type: Flatwound
  • Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Comes in 40-102, 44-102, 44-106, 44-130

Pros

  • Balanced tones
  • Made for beginners
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Basic tones with limited range
GHS Strings M6000 4-String Bassics
$9.67


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We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set – Best Bass Guitar Strings for Bright, Balanced Tones

ernie ball regular bass set

To get the contemporary and fresh bright tones, the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Guitar Bass Strings are ideal. The strings are constructed from nickel and round wound to provide a classic, balanced sounds. Additionally, its core is made from tin-plated high carbon steel hex wire which provides enhanced durability.

Created with a focus on intonation and consistency, this set is a deal. Its tone profile makes it ideal for rock, pop and other genres that require a bright top end.

In fact, it is used by countless professionals all around the globe. At its mid-range price, the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Set is a great buy for those wanting to hit a little higher.

Specifications

  • Type: Roundwound
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.1 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Comes in 40-95, 45-100, 45-105. 50-105, 55-110

Pros

  • Bright, well-rounded sounds
  • Ideal for rock genres
  • Relatively low-priced
  • High tension resistance

Cons

  • Lacking traditional, warmer notes
We Recommend Ernie Ball Bass Set
$16.69

The Ernie Ball Bass guitar strings core is made from tin-plated high carbon steel hex wire that features great durability. The Ernie Ball strings produce contemporary bright and balanced tones created with a focus on intonation and consistency which makes them perfect for genres like rock and pop and are widely used by professionals around the world.

Buy Now Learn More
We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

D’Addario NYXL Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings –  Best Bass Guitar Strings for the All-Rounder Bassist

d'addario nyxl

These round wound bass guitar strings are perfect for those who appreciate rich harmonics. It has some sweet, deep lows with some clear, but pronounced highs. Its high carbon core is wound by a nickel for some added strength and easy-tuning stability. It is designed to be suitable for various genres; therefore it provides a balanced tone.

The NYXL is priced slightly higher than the former guitar string, but it also enhances its balance and versatility. It has an overall warmer leaning with a focus on clarity. However, it is important to remember: Roundwound strings may cause calluses. This fairly popular set produces a great output, but if you’re sensitive to injury, these might not be right for you.

Specifications

  • Type: Roundwound
  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.63 x 6 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Comes in 40-95, 45-100, 45-105, 50-105, 55-110, 45-125

Pros

  • Well-balanced sounds
  • Ideal for a variety of genres from rock, funk, pop and more
  • Mid-range price
  • Excellent durability

Cons

  • Favours warmer tones which may not be preferred by some bassists
  • Roundwound may cause bruising
D'Addario NYXL32130 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings
$39.99


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We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

LaBella 760FL Flat Wound Bass Strings Set -Best Bass Guitar Strings for Warmer Tones

labella 760fl

The La Bella Bass Guitar Strings were made with a purpose. These focus on producing warmer and mellower notes backed by its flatwound construction. It provides light tension and an incredibly smooth finish to eliminate finger noises while playing.

This set in particular is used by legendary bassists, such as James Jamerson. It provides a classic bass tone which gets richer as time goes on. They are a bit on the pricier end being a premium brand, but the richness they deliver rival few.

It has an exquisite natural scooped mid-tone and deep full low tones. It adds the complexity and thumps preferred in jazz, making it fairly standard for that genre. For those with a love for vintage, the La Bella bass string set is the ideal choice.

Specifications

  • Type: Flatwound
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.25 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.353 ounces
  • Comes in 39-96, 43-104, 43-128, 45-128, 49-109

Pros

  • Classic, deep sounds
  • Ideal for jazz and vintage players
  • Premium quality feel
  • Flatwound makes it easier on the fingers with great output

Cons

  • Not compatible with through-the-body string installations.
  • Pricier option as compared to others
LaBella 760FL Flat Wound Bass Strings Set 43/104
$29.84


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We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 03:24 pm

Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic 4-String Bass Strings – Best Bass Guitar Strings for Acoustic Players

elixir

When you think of premium bass guitar strings, Elixir is a standard. These strings have sturdy construction with claims it can last up to 2 years. This is achieved through its extra-strong, custom NANOWEB coating.

It, resultantly, also differs in sound from the traditional nickel or stainless steel coating. It reduced squeak and finger noise while enhancing its richness.

The Elixir String 80/20 Bronze strings are made for acoustic players to deliver crisp and lively sounds. The company’s signature tone profile is preferred by many bassists and delivers a high-quality pitch. Players have also noted that its coating allows for notes to linger for longer compared to other coated and uncoated strings.

The downsides? The strings cost a pretty penny and the tones may not be suitable for everyone. Some players may find the notes to be overly bright, but that’s subject to preference. On the other hand, being roundwound strings may not be suitable for everyone. Overall, the elixir strings serve a niche, but it delivers on its promises well.

Specifications

  • Type: Roundwound
  • Dimensions: 6 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Comes in 45-120

Pros

  • Long-lasting, premium bass guitar strings
  • Produces a lingering tone
  • Perfect for acoustic players
  • Signature NANOWEB coating improves its life and tone profile

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only one gauge option is available.
Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic 4-String Bass Strings
$62.65


Buy Now Learn More
We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

FAQs

Are Flatwound Strings Better Than Roundwound Strings?

Choosing between the two is a simple matter of preference. The best guitar string is a relative concept according to the person playing.

For example, bassists in rock bands want brighter tones to riff in harmony with other instruments. A flatwound may not be suitable due to its warmer, duller sounds. On the other hand, there are a few other reasons you may choose one or the other.

Roundwound strings are more textured due to its ridges. This allows for greater precision and control, but it also creates friction. Therefore, it may not be suitable for those prone to bruising. Calluses can be avoided by changing up the play style and avoiding sliding on the strings.

That said, they are one of the most flexible strings to play. Roundwounds are generally less expensive, but also less durable than its compart.

Flatwound strings are smoother in texture and easy on the fingers. They’re perfect for sliding and riffing on the strings. However, the strings are more rigid and difficult to bend. This is primarily due to its sturdy construction which is less likely to wear down and last longer than roundwound strings.

Therefore, it is a simple matter of choosing which type of string you like the sound, feel, and capabilities of.

How Often Should You Change Your Bass Guitar Strings?

There is no set frequency for changing your strings. Some signs are as simple as your strings breaking, others are less obvious. If your bass guitar keeps going off-tune, its old strings may be having a hard time staying in position. It’s best to replace your strings at this point.

Some bass players prefer the sound of worked strings. It adds personality and elevates its tones. However, bass guitars can also start to sound dull, less pronounced, and dead if the strings give away too much. Bass guitar strings can also wear out and start to unravel over time. If your strings feel unusually textured or notice fraying, replace the strings immediately before they break.

Lastly, if your strings look a little suspect from rust or discoloration, it is definitely time to buy a new set. Until then, however, you can change them only as you like.

How Do You Clean Your Bass Guitar Strings?

Some online advice suggests boiling bass strings to clean them. But, this over time results in rusting. Water should definitely be avoided for this reason. Important to note that rubbing alcohol contains water and may lead to rust as well. The solution is simple, however.

Wipe off any dirt or debris using a dry cloth and soak your bass string for 12-24 hours in denatured alcohol. You can sanitize and disinfect your strings as needed using this method.

FAQs

Are Flatwound Strings Better Than Roundwound Strings?

Choosing between the two is a simple matter of preference. The best guitar string is a relative concept according to the person playing. For example, bassists in rock bands want brighter tones to riff in harmony with other instruments. A flatwound may not be suitable due to its warmer, duller sounds. On the other hand, there are a few other reasons you may choose one or the other. Roundwound strings are more textured due to its ridges. This allows for greater precision and control, but it also creates friction. Therefore, it may not be suitable for those prone to bruising. Calluses can be avoided by changing up the play style and avoiding sliding on the strings. That said, they are one of the most flexible strings to play. Roundwounds are generally less expensive, but also less durable than its compart. Flatwound strings are smoother in texture and easy on the fingers. They’re perfect for sliding and riffing on the strings. However, the strings are more rigid and difficult to bend. This is primarily due to its sturdy construction which is less likely to wear down and last longer than roundwound strings. Therefore, it is a simple matter of choosing which type of string you like the sound, feel, and capabilities of.

How Often Should You Change Your Bass Guitar Strings?

There is no set frequency for changing your strings. Some signs are as simple as your strings breaking, others are less obvious. If your bass guitar keeps going off-tune, its old strings may be having a hard time staying in position. It’s best to replace your strings at this point. Some bass players prefer the sound of worked strings. It adds personality and elevates its tones. However, bass guitars can also start to sound dull, less pronounced, and dead if the strings give away too much. Bass guitar strings can also wear out and start to unravel over time. If your strings feel unusually textured or notice fraying, replace the strings immediately before they break. Lastly, if your strings look a little suspect from rust or discoloration, it is definitely time to buy a new set. Until then, however, you can change them only as you like.

How Do You Clean Your Bass Guitar Strings?

Some online advice suggests boiling bass strings to clean them. But, this over time results in rusting. Water should definitely be avoided for this reason. Important to note that rubbing alcohol contains water and may lead to rust as well. The solution is simple, however. Wipe off any dirt or debris using a dry cloth and soak your bass string for 12-24 hours in denatured alcohol. You can sanitize and disinfect your strings as needed using this method.

Conclusion: Which Bass Guitar Strings is the Best?

To conclude our bass guitar strings review, it is clear that the best choice will depend on your own preferences. An expensive flatwound string will not do better if you’re looking for the sound profile of round wound guitars.

These subtle differences will ultimately help you make the decision of which strings are right for you. And, if you can’t figure it out, simply get free for the options we’ve laid out and you’re likely going to find your perfect match. Our recommendations, however, are as follows.

If you’re just starting out and need strings to practice on, it’s better to get durable, but balanced strings. The GHS Strings M6000 4-String Bassics are the ideal options for novices to deliver a solid tone and a great feel for an inexpensive price.

D’Addario NYXL Bass Guitar Strings are the perfect companion to those who dabble in a variety of genres. Its audio output exemplifies balance and harmony for all-rounders. Alternatively, you can opt for the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Bass Set or LaBella 760FL Set to showcase brighter or warmer tones of the bass guitar respectively.

Lastly, if you’re a strictly acoustic bass player, Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Bass Strings rival none. Overall, it does depend on what you’d like your bass to sound like. We’d definitely recommend the D’Addario NYXL strings due to their versatility and price. We hope this article helped you find your new favorite bass guitar string set.

If you like this article, you might also want to check out our guide for The Top 10 Best Bass Guitar Songs to Get Started On, 4 String Bass vs. 5 String Bass — Which Guitar to Choose and Why? and How to Properly Clean Your Guitar Strings.

We Recommend Ernie Ball Bass Set
$16.69

The Ernie Ball Bass guitar strings core is made from tin-plated high carbon steel hex wire that features great durability. The Ernie Ball strings produce contemporary bright and balanced tones created with a focus on intonation and consistency which makes them perfect for genres like rock and pop and are widely used by professionals around the world.

Buy Now Learn More
We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We only recommend products that we believe in and test. 09/21/2020 09:24 am

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