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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm about 1.5 years and 10 basses into experimenting to find my sound. Changing strings on bass has MUCH more tonal impact than it does on guitar - finding the right set can absolutely be make or break for a bass, and I have literally moved on basses just based on having not found a string set that matches up well with the bass. Here are a few string sets I have tried.

I play 100% of the time with a pick, ymmv if you pluck with fingers.

D'Addario Chromes - the only flats I have regularly used, I have used them on 2 P's, 2 J's, and a short scale Jag. They give an excellent full range sound, with much more fundamental than rounds, which translates for me to a much fuller bottom end. They retain more top end than most other flats, and I have used them extensively with my hard rock band where I need some top end and clank. With the classic rock band, they are the best for my sound with my band, 1 guitar/bass/vocals/drums.

EB Cobalt Flats - I tried 2 sets of these. I liked the sound, a little brighter yet than Chromes, but 1 set had a dead A, and on the other set I suffered my only ever broken bass string, so they are no longer an option. They also don't like to be removed and restrung even back onto the same bass - they creak and groan when tension is added. I just don't trust them.

DR lo-rider steel - these are my current favourite, and I have a Ric and my Geddy J strung with them. They are what you would think they should be, bright and very present, but with plenty of low and low mid as well. They seem to be lasting well and retaining their sound very well also.

D'Addario Pro Steels - tried before the DRs, they were OK but missing something. Very high tension, which generally doesn't bother me but these did. The 105 E string seemed larger than any other 105 I've used for some reason, though I didn't take a micronometer to them. Some love them, but again I find the DRs superior. Pro Steels have a rep of losing their sound fairly quickly, I didn't have them on long enough to find out.

D'Addario NYXL - nickel plated steel. Definitely mellower than straight up steel, and a little less tension than many others I've tried. I have them on 1 P and 1 J, I like them best of any nickel type string I've used. They have a tremendous amount of native growl, that's not too bright, they really purr!

I have tried several other sets on various basses. I don't remember them all, other than regular EB Slinkys, which I really didn't like though admittedly 1 set is too small a sample to draw a definitive conclusion.

Funny how I love EBs on guitar and dislike on bass, and have the exact reverse opinion on D'Addario. I will also note that my body chemistry is usually easy on strings, so if you sweat a lot and 'eat up' strings quickly your experience may be different than mine re: longevity.
 

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I've used Chromes for a very long time, both 4 and 5 string, fretted and fretless. They last forever, sound great, feel great, and get about as close to a double bass feel and tone on electric as I've found.

Fender used to market a nice nylon tape wound steel core string that I liked on a Godin Acoustibass, but I haven't seen them in years.
 

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Not much help here. I don't think I've changed bass strings in a year starting with a 2. Doh!!!

Mind you, my bass just lives in the jam room in the basement. And it only gets picked up by someone who shows up sans instrument - or me about once a decade.
 
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I just have a Squier VM J-Bass. It suits my needs. I don't play it that much so I,... may,... change the strings next year. But I don't see myself pulling a James Jamerson. I 'll likely refer back to this post at that time.
 
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I,... may,... change the strings next year
Every year? Seems a bit excessive. ;) I almost never change my strings and kind of prefer the dead sound. So I don't have much of an idea which ones I like best. I think I bought some Dean Marley Blue Steels and DRs in the past, and I didn't hate either because they were there for a long time. I'm picking up a bass that has new flats on it, so I'm curious to see how that sounds. I occasionally play with a pick, and I presume I'll miss some of that biting attack with the flat-wound strings. If I don't like them, I might have to refer back here as well.

Anyone ever use ground-wounds or one of the similar variations? I had a bass with those once and really liked the feel, but can't really comment on how they compared for sound as the bass itself was kind of an unusual beast.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I did try 1 set of GHS Pressure Wounds, which are sorta inbetween round and flat. They didn't leave a lasting impression, I don't specifically remember the sound or feel other than 'smoother than nickel or steel rounds but not as smooth as Chromes'. Chromes are great for sliding around quickly with no string noise, something I thought I was after when I first used them but now a non-factor 99.9% of the time.
 

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My favourite strings are the GHS med-light gauge boomers. I've tried just about every string set that L&M carries; the boomers are both cost effective and versatile.

I use them on my p-bass, on my ibanez, on all of my basses, basically. Been using them for ten years at this point, never had a bad set and they're available everywhere. I recommend giving them a go, if only to experiment!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Chromes, readily available, sound great, last well. Fender 9050 flats are cheaper and have a very good reputation but I haven't tried them.
 

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I only have the one bass but wish I could keep a set of flats on it and a set of nickle rounds on it too. Very different beasts. I prefer the versatility and feel of the rounds (I'm using elixers) so that's what I keep on, but I have a set (EB group II) if I want the classic thunk sound of flats. I get 2-3 months out of a set of the Elixers thanks to the coating. I want to try a few fifferent DR sets in the near future though.

Long ago, when I wanted to be Flea, I used Ken Smith Bass Burners and changed them once a week.

Stainless is by far the brightest. I used them for a while too back in the day, but they are deadly on frets and bridges (so are Rotosounds btw) and I found it to be too bright ultimately.
 

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I only use flats (I like em and also rounds tear up my fingers too much - eczema).

Tomastik Infeld Jazz flats are awesome if that's your cup of tea (there is a distinct middish bump that may not be for everyone). They last forever and feel great to play. Glorious on a P; bring out the growl and still have the low end. Pricey, but I have had these on some of my basses for like 5 years and they still sound great.

Labella Flats are very uncomfortable - super high tension - people have likened them to 'telephone wires' but some like em (e.g. James Jamerson). I think they'd be better for finger players with a light touch, but folks that dig in more will find them annoying. This is likely why Labella recently released a 'low tension' set (have not tried).

Pyramid Golds are my favorite bass string tonewise (not as coloured as TIs; very even; not bright or dark), and also have an amazing supple feel, but the problem is that they are super delicate - the only strings that ever break for me (sometimes just putting them on - turns out you can't use a long scale low E on a short scale bass, which is something I do with just about every other brand I have used to avoid having to buy diff sets, the reason is that the core will snap; you have to keep the main part of the string off the post - only the thinner coloured thread leader can be wrapped around such a short radius with the Pyramids... but I think I actually broke one just playing too, which has never happenned to me with any other brand in 15 years of playing). Due to how expensive they are (even more than TIs), I refuse to use them anymore for this reason, but still have a set on one of my basses. Too bad because otherwise they are really nice. Dunno if the problem is the alloy used (brittle vs flexible core) or the fact that it is a round vs hex core like 99% of other strings (guitar and bass).

Been meaning to try D'Addario Chromes, but next in the queue to throw on are generic Allparts house brand flats. A bass builder turned me on tho them - said they are very good strings (made by some major maker as the OEM - forget who now) and since they're dirt cheap I took a chance on a couple sets (like US$10; we did a group buy on another forum).
 
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I have used a number of different types of strings over the years, but for the last 10+ years I have been using D'Addario XL Half Rounds. I have used them on a Jazz bass, Frettless P-bass, Gibson 335 Bass, and Rickenbacker all with great results.
 

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They look good in all black (no binding?) - very Simon Gallup. Lucky for me (and my bank account) they're long scale.

I've been looking for an EB-2/Rivoli/Starfire carcass for years. I have great plans (that I only recently discovered MrLP himself would approve of, cuz he modded his in similar ways).
 

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I have my G&L L2500 stringed with D'addario EXL170-5, the previous owner prefer them 'cause the mom and pop shop in his little town had them in stock in extra long scale.
They are smooth and well balanced except for the B string. It's way too smooth and can't compete with the rest.

I'm on the hunt for a new set. I've read all the posts here but no one seems to play 5 strings bass! (Am I a weirdo? :p)
I play with my fingers (after many hours of practice!!!!) in a trash metal band. I need punch and definition.

Any suggestion? I guess the extra long scale still apply since the G&L in string thru the body and have a long headstock.
 

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@Ti-Ron

Tomastik Infeld extra long scale (36") flatwound 5 string set (Model # JF365): Thomastik-Infeld Nickel Flat Wound Roundcore 5 String Medium 36" Scale, .044 - .136, JF365 (quite sure you can find a better price on them than that, but I stocked up years ago when I had a connection with a really good price - I don't have any 5 strings tho)

I use the Extra long scale TI Jazz flats (4 string) on my Gibson RD Artist bass which is string thru body. Been on there for almost 10 years now; still sound great (it is a very bright bass - all maple + Moog active EQ and compression effect). TI is really good about picking the string gauges for their sets as regards balance between strings. You will notice they only have 1 option per scale length - the reason is that it is known that scale length affects string output, e.g. short scales tend to have a weak E, strong A and slightly less weak D, so they make sure to give you a 106 for the shorty E, but the long scale set has a 100 E.... the 5 string 36" set has 136 for the low B and a 96 for the E . The D'ads you have now have a 130 B, but you can't compare across brands and models like that - core thickness varies for one thing - the E on that set is a 100, so all other things being equal the B ion the TI set is proportionately heavier than the E vs the D'ads. Heavier = increased effect on the magnetic field of the pickup and therefore higher output.
 
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