I was feeling a little out of it on my instrument for a moment one morning.
The strings were just more difficult to tune and I felt like I had to constantly adjust my EQ to hear what I was playing.
Ever been there?
It’s just like a psychic sludge hanging over you sometimes, asking you to doubt yourself, to put it down, sometimes like maybe the instrument is resisting you.
If you find yourself less than loving your tone and not having fun playing,
I ask you to consider when you last changed your strings.
If your bass (or guitar or violin or mandolin or banjo, etc) has old deadened strings, it will legitimately be harder to tune and to stay in tune and sound good playing. In many cases, dead strings can sap players of their energy to play and practice.
When I found myself feeling down on my playing, I realised I probably hadn’t changed my strings in several months. So I detuned and removed my strings one at a time and replaced them with new ones.
I am not endorsed by anyone nor am I compensated in anyway for saying this, but I am generally a DR string guy. I have loved DR strings since I started using on my guitars back in the 2000’s.
I restrung my bass with DR SunBeams and I am pleased by the brightness and the harmonics in these strings.
When you have crisp, new strings you have more overtones in your playing. Each note rings with more sound.
As strings age and get caked with dust and finger crud, less and less of the over tones ring when you play, and this seems to reduce the instruments ability to cut through the mix; as well as the reduced presence of over tones seems to hinder our ability to tune.
The fresh strings put a pop and some color in to all of my strikes and runs on the fretboard. I immediately was able to practice more and felt happier doing so.
For me atleast, playing two handed tap or fingerstyle, I like the bright metal ring of these DR SunBeams. I highly recommend trying a pair if you play bass and want some metallic brightness and a harmonic richness to the strings. For me it has the character of alot of what I thought was the rumbly, clankin tone of an old Fender bass.
When did you last change your strings?
Might be time to get on it.
Might be just the thing to put some energy back in to your practice routine.
and while we’re on the subject, WHAT are you practicing these days?
I want to know, please write in with what you are learning and what resources you are using.
As for me, I just got a fresh stack of bass books, four Stinnett Music books: Finger Funk, Slap Bass Workout, 12 keys to Success, and Tapestry (the bass tap book that is said to come before the Two Handed Tapping book)
On top of that load of excellent practice material, I also got a copy of Nate Navarro’s bass instruction book. The book is huge for a bass instruction book , it is has alot more pages than most of the stuff I end up getting.
Looking forward to writing up my experience with these wonderful book tools and if you are looking to work on any of this, please just reach out and we will get you going and on the right track!
In the mean time, I am quite enjoying exploring all 12 keys and their relative minors with wide ranging etudes in the 12 Keys to Success book, by Jim Stinnett.
And again, I am not endorsed by anyone or encouraged or compensated to say any of these things, this is just my honest appreciation for quality bass and music study material.
Until next time, modulate some notes!