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Username: yanc

Post Number: 7
Registered: 2-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 6:12 am:   Edit Post

Hello all,

I would like to know what are the best strings for an Alembic.

I play an Alembic Epic 4, I already tried many strings like Rotosound Nylon 65-115, Ernie Ball Cobalt 55-110, Labella Nylon, DR DDT 110 and sunbeams 45-105 ...

I tried the Rotosound PSD-99 (like Stanley Clarke) ...

But I never tried the Alembic Strings CX-3 ...

Are these strings are very good for our basses dans if you had heard a difference between other brand strings ??

Thank you very much for your advises, experiences
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 1046
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 8:28 am:   Edit Post

I don't know if there is such thing, that is simply a matter of taste, IMO. I love the sparkling tone of light steel string sets, but on Alembic I'd rather using Nickels to counteract their naturally more open tone.
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 288
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 8:28 am:   Edit Post

It really depends upon what sound you're trying to get.

The Alembic strings are very high quality, last a long time and feel great. They are very versatile and can accommodate a wide variety of playing styles.

I use them on three of my four Alembics (SC Sig Deluxe, Spyder and 5-string Europa).

On my fourth, a custom Signature Deluxe, I decided to switch to flat wound DiAddrio Chromes because they deliver a more of a traditional "old school" Alembic tone similar to what you hear on recordings where Phil Lesh and Jack Casady are using Alembic or Alembic-modified basses.

I used this bass with these strings for the first time on Monday night for a performance where I was supporting three acoustic guitarists and, IMO, the tone sat in the mix perfectly. It had clarity and definition and did not compete with the acoustic guitars.
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 1047
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 8:37 am:   Edit Post

If I recall it well, CX sets are compressed strings, like GHS's pressurewound. Its outer windings are eliptical to lay them somewhere between rounds and flats (feel and tone wise, too). Some feels halfwounds as being too harsh on fingers and prefer that way.
Senior Member
Username: tubeperson

Post Number: 472
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 8:45 am:   Edit Post

I do use the CX strings on some of my Alembics, and the short scale version on my BC Rich Bich's. Finding them is another story. I like them, but also like others i.e. half rounds and nickel wounds. Just what works for me.
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 159
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 10:16 am:   Edit Post

For many years I used Elites Stainless 40 - 100 on my Orion 4 and still think they are great and a good price (about 16). I have recently put a set of Skjold (the guitar maker) stainless 40 - 100 on by way of a change and am very pleased with them. They are 20 from Bass Direct in UK - I live about 45 mins from there. Stainless are better for me as I have a skin allergy to certain things and don't want to risk Nickel. I think Rotosound stainless are a bit hard on frets. It is a bit of a minefield as you can waste a lot of money, especially if going for the expensive strings. Also it is not brilliant for the bass to make drastic changes in gauges so I keep to 40 - 100. Glynn
Intermediate Member
Username: bassilisk

Post Number: 128
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 3:20 pm:   Edit Post

I'm a string hound and firmly believe that certain basses sound their best with certain strings, whether it's nickel vs steel, flats vs rounds etc.
I've put new strings on a bass and thought they sounded awful. Not being a wastrel I'd take them off, put them on something else and find they sound amazing.

I've tried many types and brands on my MK Sig Std over the years and have found that for me, the strings that sounded best overall were the Alembics. I don't use them on anything else and find this pairing is perfect for what I like.
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1733
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 7:23 pm:   Edit Post

Pyramid Gold! :-)
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3319
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2014 - 12:57 am:   Edit Post

I use Pyramid Gold for flat wound strings and Dean Markley XL 40-95 #2670 for round wound strings. Both are 4 string sets .
Username: yanc

Post Number: 8
Registered: 2-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 9:03 am:   Edit Post

Thank you very much for your answers, I notice most of you use light strings ( < 105 and < 45) ...

A luthier (stringed-instrument maker) told me, heavy strings are bad for this kind of handle.
It's better use lights (Right or Wrong ?)

But I prefer the big sound, the reason I played for a long time with Rotosound nylon 115-65 ... very flexible and smooth sound

(btw this is 5a_quilt_top who spoke with his old vintage sound D'Addario chromes ... I really recommend him Rotosound nylon 115-65) ...

You are many to say that Alembic strings are excellent quality and finally go very well with this instrument ...

I will try these strings ... so I'll have a fully Alembic ;-)

And the Rotosound (Stanley Clarke) PSD-99 ... touchdown is rough and I do not like ...

I hope my English is understandable ...
Intermediate Member
Username: bonesrad

Post Number: 111
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 11:04 am:   Edit Post

I've messed around with many different strings on my Alembic. Currently I am most happy with DR Lo-Riders. Kind of middle of the road price wise and a nice even tone.

Username: sonofa_lembic

Post Number: 5
Registered: 5-2014
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 8:45 am:   Edit Post

Hands down for me is D'Addario Prosteels in a 40-100 with a 125 low B if a 5 string. They are clear, bright, and resonant. The best low B I have ever heard. These strings can make a crappy bass sound amazing. If you want to hear everything an Alembic is capable of, these are truly the best. *Note: Do not use if you like the sound of 60's Motown mud.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2169
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post

I like bigger strings.

I'm currently running D'Addario XL's: EXL160-5 (50, 75, 85, 105, 135). I like bigger G's and D's. It did take a little adjustment coming from a more typical 45-130 set I was using, but no problem after it took a set with the new sizes.

I agree with Trevor that the ProSteels are first rate, I just didn't want quite that much bark for myself. And the great thing about the D'Ad's are that you can often get very good deals on them, harder to do with more specialist brands like Pyramid or Thomastik: If you change strings a lot, it can be a consideration.

On the radar is to try the Gary Willis Custom set from GHS, their Progressives in a 45-135 set. Time will tell . . . .

I often think I should be like Jimmy Johnson and just use the same strings from now on. Honestly for me, after a week or two, they all sound the same: Dead.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2170
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 11:52 am:   Edit Post

PS, Yanc:

'Best' strings for an Alembic is a VERY subjective thing, like each person's favorite way to cook a steak or their favorite car. Try different sets, and just settle on what works for YOU. There isn't an empirically prove-able answer to that.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4055
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2014 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post

My short scale bass came with Elites when i first bought it and i ordered some Alembic strings to replace them with. At the time they were cheaper to buy on-line from the USA than buy them here from the UK distributor so I bought about 4 or 5 packs. I recently changed to D'addario's that bass on PierreYves recommendation and they sound great and are now on all my basses. i've also tried RCocco on recommendation by FC_Spoiler and whilst they are great i found them quite abrasive on my fingers and by the time the roughness was gone, so had the brightness and of course they weren't cheap either.
In the past I've tried Fodera and some DR but found they didn't keep their brightness for very long.

Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 1468
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 7:41 am:   Edit Post

Best is not subjective. Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats are best.

Some people don't want the best, and that's understandable, but TIs are the best.

(If unclear, this is humor; my opinions tend to also be verifiable facts.)
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3429
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 8:20 am:   Edit Post

Historically a fact ; Pyramid Gold Flats were a flat wound popular for Alembic bass's . They were often installed by Alembic at first sale. I have a few sets in my string stash and a Series II strung with them .
Elvis also thought that peanut butter and banana sandwiches were the best ... ... BUT I do not concur . :-)

For round wound strings I like Dean Markley "Blue Steel "XL 40-95 #2670. At that gauge they work well in Medium Scale or long scale and sound awesome for Bass chords/ double & triple stops & quadruple stops... etc ...
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1374
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 12:31 pm:   Edit Post

Wolf - I think that Elvis's peanut butter & banana sandwiches were also pan fried in butter! Hey, that might work with strings if you want to try the Jaco route of smearing the strings with chicken grease...

On a serious note, string gauge is not necessarily equatable with tension. So flats can go the whole range from extremely low tension (TI Jazz Flats) to high (D'Addario Chromes) to extremely high (LaBella Original 1954, formerly the James Jamerson set). Never tried Pyramid Golds, so not sure where they fit in the scheme of things. Black nylon wrapped can have extremely heavy gauges but be very low tension.

And of course, most string manufacturers don't publish tension so it's trial and error!
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3436
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 12:49 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Harry,
If I recall correctly in one of our string threads such as this one (there have been a few here ) someone provided a link to a tension chart for various string manufacturers. That information might be somewhere on this site perhaps. I think that string tension is often NOT disclosed so that one goes the route as you mention "trial &error" and then make multiple purchases to find your ideal preference.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11355
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 2:25 pm:   Edit Post

For quite a while now I've only been using Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Rounds. They sound great, they last a long time, and they are able to do what my fingers are trying to accomplish. But then what I'm trying to do on bass is a bit outside the norm.
Username: zomnius

Post Number: 26
Registered: 9-2013
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 1:07 pm:   Edit Post

good old rotosounds swingbass sets does it 4 me..
Intermediate Member
Username: tomhug

Post Number: 120
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 1:52 pm:   Edit Post

I would say if you don't know exactly what you're after, the Alembic strings are a great starting point.

If you want the super-bright piano-like tone, Rotosound Swing basses are excellent. (Although I moved from Rotosounds to the Alembic Strings)

Mica suggested I try some flats on my Series I the last time we spoke. I recently put D'Addario chromes on there, and quite enjoyed the change. These are not muddy at all, just a slightly more noticeable fundamental.

An excellent choice for certain genres (chromes + series I + pick) = quite good for GD-style covers and such.
Username: zomnius

Post Number: 27
Registered: 9-2013
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 3:00 pm:   Edit Post

Good idea, i have fender flats on my precision. Gaves a thick sound, and 70ties style slapping sound...

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