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Username: grok

Post Number: 42
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 7:10 am:   Edit Post

I've been trying out a few different sets of strings on my 35" scale alembic. I've tried a bunch, and wound up (!) with 3 contenders: alembic CX-3, DR Sunbeams, and DR nickel lo-riders. First, I found the Sunbeams were clearly lower tension than the other two, which had similar tension. Which is to say only that it makes switching take a bit longer when I have to adjust the truss rods as well. But be that as it may, I've found I like all 3.

The CX-3 strings are nicely balanced across all 4 strings, but the E string is a bit boomy, or thuddy, or at the very least less articulate than either the nickel lo-rider E, or the most articulate Sunbeam E. The Sunbeams seem the warmest. The nickel lo-riders are warm too, and have a nice midrange growl that makes them feel a bit more lively than the other two. Maybe their composition yields a slightly higher output? Adjusting the pickups higher with the Sunbeams brought out a bit more liveliness, but this was a subtle thing, and yet I like their consistently smooth character (soundwise), smoother than the other two. The CX-3's were somewhere in between the other two in this regard. All three sets are comfortable on the fingers, with the CX-3's feeling the smoothest, the Sunbeams feeling just a bit floppier with their lower tension, and the lo-riders feeling the stiffest, just a bit higher tension than the CX-3's. Interestingly the CX-3's had the highest level of ringing harmonics, which at first I found present as annoying finger noise just at the level of perception. Then I noticed it on all 3, with the Sunbeams having the lowest level but without feeling dead.

I have no idea how they'd sound a month or three into their lives. I've gigged with the Sunbeams many times. Right now I've got the nickel lo-riders on, which I'll be gigging with tonight. They seem very responsive to small variations in attack, more so than the Sunbeams or the CX-3s.

I see I'm rambling a bit here, but I'm curious whether others have compared these 3 sets and have any thoughts on how they change over time, or just about their relative merits and character. Thanks!

Username: slammin

Post Number: 35
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 7:46 am:   Edit Post

I haven't tried any of those but I did string my bass recently with some DR Black Beauties. This is my first experience with DR strings and I am absolutely sold!
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1170
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 9:53 am:   Edit Post

I like the Sunbeams. Chromes and Sunbeams are my go to strings.
Username: rjmsteel

Post Number: 51
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post

I also like the Sunbeams... got em` on my six string Elan and 4 string Distillate.
Brite with a Warm/Full sound.
Great response especially when slapped.
Advanced Member
Username: bassjigga

Post Number: 374
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 2:54 pm:   Edit Post

I've been using nickel lo-riders and sunbeams on mine for a few years. I love em. Mostly use the lo-riders. I would say that's an accurate description.
Intermediate Member
Username: wideload

Post Number: 148
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 3:49 pm:   Edit Post

I didn't mind the DRs I tried, but I just like the CX-3s better. Guess I'm just a company man!
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2470
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 1:12 am:   Edit Post

I prefer the HiBeams over the LoRiders because they feel low-tension and a lot more supple. They also seem to retain the brightness longer (but then I don't gig).
Username: grok

Post Number: 43
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 6:00 am:   Edit Post

So I gigged with the nickel lo-riders last night, and they were sweet indeed. I'm torn between these and the sunbeams -- the nickel lo-riders cut through the mix quite well with their more midrangy nature. The sunbeams also cut through well, with a more punchy sound, more piano-like. It's crunchy vs. punchy.

I need a pair of basses so I can use both!
Senior Member
Username: crgaston

Post Number: 584
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 8:12 pm:   Edit Post

Grok, those are my 3 most-used sets of strings for my 35" basses. I've had good luck with longevity on all of them. I've gotten a couple of years out of nickel Lo-Riders on my Modulus, boiling them a couple of times. The Sunbeams are low-tension, that's for sure...

My all-time faves were the Alembic nickel strings, NK-2's I think, which they don't sell anymore. The set on my G&L SB-2 is well over 10 years old now. It still sounds so good I'm afraid to take them off! lol

In my experience, the Lo-riders age the best, followed by the Sunbeams and then the CX-3's, but that's just for what I like to hear.

The Lo-riders retain the growl when they lose their highs, and adding treble makes up for it pretty well. The CX-3's seem to get thick and less articulate, and develop an overabundance of weird overtones in the 500-800hz range. This is for strings that have been on a bass for 6-12 months and played a lot.
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2444
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 6:33 pm:   Edit Post

Anyone try short scale sunbeams on an SC? I've been using chromes, but looking for just a little more growl without adding too much fret noise.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1394
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 10:47 pm:   Edit Post

I've been using (regular 34" scale) the Markley NPS Roundcore Rocco Prestias (nickel/roundcore) for several years now, and for me they're a nice compromise of price/performance. Or in their place, D'addario Nickel XL's.

The nickel suits me as the right 'in-between' from the clackety-clack, go-dead-fast stainless sets, and the dead-from-the-start groundwounds, flatwounds, etc.

As much as I'd like to use Tomastiks or the DR Marcus Millers, I swear it's hard for me to justify the $$$. . . as they'll be as dead as anything else in a couple of weeks. I'd rather spend less money and change more often.

Of course, I take my cue from the ancient inscription writ large across the door of the ancient tomb,
'Take Good Care of Your Strings . . . . and They'll Go Dead Anyway. . .'

J o e y

(Message edited by bigredbass on May 17, 2010)

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