Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are we suckers?

Yesterday I was going to have my bass setup professionally.  I play tuned to B-E-A-D, and so I of course get a lot of fret buzzing.  Even with the action jacked up it tends to buzz.  My strings are old so it looks like a good time to reboot.  I was thinking about putting on some DR Black Beauties.

My black beauties don't have a g string.  LOL.

So I called a guitar shop in town.  The guy was going to do the setup including strings for 35 bucks.  I asked about the strings, because these DRs cost about 30 bucks.  So he goes on a long tirade about string manufacturers.  There are only 2 companies in the US that makes strings, he says.  No one can import strings, he says.  They are all the same, the labels are only an illusion of choice, he says.

Consider that I currently have Rotosound strings on my bass, which are made in England.  Obviously this guy is full of shit.  And he definitely lost a potential customer over the phone yesterday.  But it is an interesting philosophical question.  How much do strings matter?  How can you really tell?  I mean when you change strings you are basically comparing new strings to old strings, so the new strings will have that bright new string sound.  Who has two identical instruments strung with different brands to give you a side by side comparison?

Well I guess there is that. Thanks funky white dude.

So how much difference is there between strings?  It is an interesting question, despite the ignorance of the person who originally asked the question.  Obviously there is a big difference between roundwound and flatwound strings, owing to the different design.

Related question:  has any heavy metal bassist played with flatwound strings?  How would that sound trying to play Motorhead?

Maybe I'll go flatwound just to play this song?

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