Choosing the right double bass strings is a major decision in terms of the sound that your double bass will produce, as the vibration of the strings is then amplified by the body of the instrument. Here we present a guide to the different strings we offer based on playing style, cost and the intended user.
As an artist, the sound of your instrument is as much a personal choice as it is a choice based on the style of music and other factors. There is no substitute for personal experience and with the high cost of a set of double bass strings, we would recommend that you take any opportunities to try different strings (ask fellow musicians which they like and why, visit some music shops, search the internet for performance or demonstration videos) to help guide your choice. In reality, every double bass and every double bassist are different, so there can be no exact science to choosing the right strings.
To buy double bass strings visit our Double Bass Strings Category in our online shop.
Double Bass Playing Style
It is important to think carefully about your intended use for the strings, where you will be playing is as important as the style of music. The strings will sound different in a practice room compared to a music hall or open air stage. Also if you use amplification when performing, then the signal level through the pick-up will also be a factor in your choice.
As the name suggests, orchestral strings are for bassists who play mainly classical music in an orchestra. These strings are designed to produce a good arco (bowed) tone, with a fast response. While they can be played pizzicato, they do not have the same sustain as a pizzicato specific string. The strings will be designed for the standard tuning (4ths) with a set of orchestral strings consisting of an E, A, D and G string.
Jazz / Blues / Rockabilly
Jazz strings are designed to be played pizzicato. They have a longer sustain but a slower response. This means that they do not work as well arco (bowed). Jazz strings tend to have a flexible core material to give a better feel when played pizzicato. The standard tuning for sets of jazz strings is the same as for orchestral strings.
Slap bass strings take Jazz strings to the extreme! They are designed to be played exclusively pizzicato and tend to be made with a nylon core to enable players to produce the distinctive click or clack sound easily. Due to the materials, the strings are made from sets of slap bass strings may be a much cheaper option but do not be tempted unless this is the only style of music you play. The other extreme is pure gut slap bass strings which are very expensive!
Student Double Bass Strings
|Astrea Double Bass Set of Strings||£61.98|
Astrea double bass strings are a great upgrade from the factory fitted double bass strings that a lot of basses come with as new. Available as a complete set or individual strings.
|Prelude Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£85.78|
Prelude double bass strings are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a warm tone quality with good bow response.
Orchestral Double Bass Strings
|Honey Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£119.99|
Honey strings are often compared to wound gut strings, tonally – with a decidedly “stiffer” feel.
|Jargar Double Bass Set of Strings Medium||£123.60|
Jargar double bass strings produce a big, well-balanced, warm tone. They have great projection and a very even, similar sound in every position. Harmonics are easily achieved and the tuning stability of these strings is excellent. The Dolce version of these strings can be tuned up for solo playing.
|Braided Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£124.99|
Braided strings have a nylon core wound in chrome tape. Making an affordable, orchestral gauge string that works well under the bow – but also has less “brashness” than steel strings for playing with your fingers.
|Precision Double Bass 4/4 Set of Strings||£126.00|
Thomastik Precision double bass strings are very durable, have a long lifespan and present a great budget solution for players across the board.
|Helicore Orchestral Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£153.18|
Helicore Orchestral double bass strings are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a warm tone quality with excellent bow response.
|Chromcor Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings||£162.00|
Bright sounding bass strings with a quick bow response and excellent tuning stability and a short playing in period. Available in 3/4 and 1/4 sizes.
Premium Orchestral Double Bass Strings
|Obligato Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings||£181.14|
Pirastro Obligato double bass strings have a bright, brilliant and focused sound, and a growly tone which is especially true for the E-string They have a very quick response and are suitable for arco and pizzicato playing. Exceptional well-balanced set of strings, completely impervious to changes in temperature and humidity.
|Dominant Double Bass Set of Strings||£184.99|
Thomastik Dominant double bass strings provide the tonal warmth and the feel of a gut string whilst not being affected by changes in humidity.
|Kaplan Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£191.81|
Kaplan double bass strings are aimed at the most discerning orchestral musicians. Kaplan strings offer a rich tonal color palette and superb bowing response.
|Flexocor Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings||£192.96|
Available in sizes 3/4,1/2,1/4,1/8,1/10 and 1/16 we sell them in sets or as single strings. Pirastro’s Flexocors are predominantly an arco string made on a steel rope core.
|Permanent Double Bass Set of Strings||£194.83|
Pirastro Permanent double bass strings are perfect for solo and arco playing. Their carbon steel rope core gives them excellent tuning stability, a quick response and great projection.
|Passione Double Bass Set of Strings||£199.75|
Pirastro Passione double bass strings have great projection with a big tone and powerful volume, these strings are especially suited for arco playing. Their response is instantaneous and very flexible, with a clear distinction between the notes in fast passages.
|Flat Chromesteel Double Bass Set of Strings||£202.55|
Pirastro Flat Chromesteel double bass strings are a rope core medium tension string that is suited to arco and solo bass playing. Their sound is brilliant and clear and they have a quick response under the bow.
|Flexocor Deluxe Double Bass Set of Strings||£205.49|
Pirastro Flexocor Deluxe double bass strings have a great wealth of tonal colours whether it be a brilliant and bright or a dark and big sound.
|Belcanto Double Bass Strings Set||£215.00|
Predominantly an arco double bass string with a natural pizzicato sound, Thomastik Belcanto double bass strings are favoured by many orchestral bassists. Available in standard orchestral and solo tuning as complete sets or single strings.
|Original Flexocor Double Bass Set of Strings||£253.45|
Pirastro Original Flexocor double bass strings are medium tension, orchestral tuning strings for 3/4 size basses. They have a brilliant sound, short sustain and a quick response.
|Original Flat Chrome Double Bass Set of Strings||£270.22|
Pirastro Original Flat Chrome double bass strings are especially suited to arco playing producing a very brilliant sound with a short sustain.
Hybrid Double Bass Strings
|SuperFlexible Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings||£127.20|
The steel rope core of Thomastik Superflexible double bass strings reduces stiffness and improves elasticity. The strings offer an excellent purity of open fifths. Their impressive durability and tuning stability make them very dependable all-around strings.
|Polychrome Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£137.99|
Polychrome double bass strings have a warm pizz tone, now far more bow-friendly due to their new chromesteel outer winding.
|Helicore Hybrid Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£153.18|
Helicore Hybrid double bass strings are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a moderately warm tone quality
|Evah Pirazzi Double Bass Set of Strings||£186.00|
Sets and single Pirastro Evah Pirazzi double bass strings to suit 4/4 & 3/4 double basses with Weich and Mittel Variants, also in solo and orchestral tuning.
|Zyex Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£191.81|
Zyex double bass strings use a new generation of synthetic core material to produce a balanced, rich sound.
|Oliv Double Bass Set of Strings||£483.55|
Pirastro Oliv double bass strings are finely wound and polished, handmade gut strings, suitable for arco and pizzicato. They have a dark and powerful sound.
Double Bass Strings for Jazz
|Helicore Pizzicato Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£153.18|
Helicore Pizzicato double bass strings are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a brighter tone quality than the rest of the Helicore double bass line.
|Spirocore Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings||£166.31|
Thomastik Spirocore double bass strings are absolutely great pizzicato strings, used and loved by great jazz bassists all over the world. We stock them in solo and orchestra tuning with different tensions also available.
|Jazzer Double Bass Set of Strings||£189.71|
Pirastro Jazzer double bass strings are a modern jazz string, which can also be bowed. The Jazzers have a very quick response and a bright, powerful sound with a long sustain.
|Chorda - Gut Double Bass Set of Strings||£487.61|
Pirastro Chorda double bass strings are recommended for Baroque bass players and especially suited for pizzicato playing. The G and D strings are just plain gut with the A and E strings being silver wound.
|Eudoxa Gut Double Bass Set of Strings||£545.48|
Eudoxa double bass strings are handmade with a gut core, then wound with silver and finely polished. Euxoda Bass make great pizzicato strings for jazz with a brilliant tone and a long sustain.
Double Bass Strings for Rockabilly
|Standard Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Gut Colour||£31.60|
Superior Bassworks Standard double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing.
|Standard Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Red||£31.60|
Superior Bassworks Standard Red double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing.
|Standard Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Black||£31.60|
Superior Bassworks Standard Black double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing.
|GripMax Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Gut Colour||£38.60|
Superior Bassworks GripMax double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing. They have a unique spiral cut pattern, on the lower half of the string, to aid pizzicato playing.
|Deluxe Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Gut Colour||£45.60|
Superior Bassworks Deluxe double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing. These synthetic strings simulate the tone and feel of natural gut.
|Deluxe Double Bass 3/4 Set of Strings Red||£45.60|
Superior Bassworks Deluxe Red double bass strings are perfect for Rockabilly and Slap bass playing. These synthetic strings simulate the tone and feel of natural gut.
|Rock A Billy Red Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£119.99|
Rock-a-billy Red strings with bold red windings, they have a gutsy, slap-friendly tone that really works in some of the more “brash” music styles.
|Rock A Billy Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£119.99|
Rock-a-billy strings are distinctive with their black flatwound outer winding, the original slap bass string from Innovation.
|Super Silver Double Bass Set of Strings 3/4 Medium||£119.99|
Super Silver strings are often used for Bluegrass, since they can be a synthetic alternative to true gut strings.
|Evah Pirazzi Slap Double Bass Set of Strings||£227.99|
Designed for Rockabilly and Slap bass players. The set of strings is plain gut G and D strings and synthetic chrome wound A and E strings. They project very well and have a dark, rich tone making them ideal for slap and some styles of pizzicato playing.
String Sets vs Individual Strings
Buying a set of strings has many advantages, most noticeably the lower cost compared to the individual strings and the fact that the strings are designed to be used together. This means that they will produce an even tone and response across the whole range of the instrument. They will also give you a consistent feel when playing the instrument. If a string breaks, even replacing it with an identical brand new string, it will not sound the same as the old string as the string properties change as they age. If well cared for and used properly then string breaks are a rare occurrence. Some players may choose to mix different types, brands or construction of strings to further refine the sound of their instrument, however this is not something we would particularly recommend unless you are sure of your requirements.
While a professional player may choose to change the strings on their instrument every 1-2 years to maintain a particular sound, for a student or amateur player there is no reason why a set of strings should not last longer. The main reason for changing strings is damage to the winding of the string or poor sound quality. The winding of the string most often becomes damaged over the bridge or at the fingerboard top nut and is clearly visible. The coloured silks at each end of the string are for identification purposes only and if they unwind then this does not affect the sound of the string but it may look untidy.
Glossary of Terms Related to Double Bass Strings
Played with the bow.
The C extension string, also referred to as an extension E string, is designed for use with a 4 string double bass fitted with a C extension. This is an extra section of fingerboard mounted in front of the machine heads up to the top of the scroll. As such the C extension string is a longer string designed to fit the additional length of the extra fingerboard.
Double bass strings are made with a length of core material which is then over-wound with another material, usually a flat metal wire.
Originally all strings were made of pure gut, though gut strings have poor tuning stability and the diameter needed to make the lower strings meant they were almost un-playable. The development of metal wound strings meant that the string diameter could be reduced improving the playablility of strings. The core material for most common double bass strings will be either gut, nylon (synthetic) or steel wire.
- Gut Expensive, Poor tuning stability, Classical/Baroque sound, Better for “Slap Sound”
- Nylon Inexpensive, Good tuning stability, much cheaper replacement for gut core
- Steel Mid-Cost, Good tuning stability, Modern playing style, Better arco volume
The core material is generally a solid piece of material, some strings may use a multistrand material to make the string more flexible which generally suits the jazz playing style.
Is a term used to describe strings which are designed to be a compromise between the extremes of orchestral strings (arco) and pizzicato strings. They are a bit less bow-able than orchestral strings, but have more sustain when playing pizzicato. This makes them an all round performer for players who want to play a bit of everything!
Designed for use on a five string double bass the Low B or B5 string is the extra 5th string which is tuned to the B below the E4 string on a standard 4 string bass.
The standard E, A, D, G tuning for double bass strings.
Played by plucking the strings
The scale length refers to the size of instrument that the strings are made for. It is important that you match the string size to your instrument size. The string length, string mass and string tension are all related by physics, if the string length is not correct then the string tension will not be correct either. This will lead to a poor playing experience, difficulty tuning the instrument or the worst case scenario: strings snapping due to over tension.
Many sets of string will be available in a solo tuning variation. This raises the pitch of the strings to F#, B, E, A. It is used by players performing double bass solo works and enables you to play high notes in a more accessible position on the double bass fingerboard.
Many strings are available in Low, Medium or High tension variations. This is a guide only as the string tension will vary depending on the construction materials used and between brands and string manufacturers. If you are a beginner or have never thought about string tension then medium tension will be the right choice. A high tension string will offer higher volume levels but will be more difficult to stop on the fingerboard. Conversely a low tension string will be softer in tone but easier to stop on the fingerboard. Some manufacturers use other terms for string gauge or tension as shown here:
Low: Weak / Weich / Soft / Dolce
Medium: Mittel / Regular
High: Heavy / Stark / Forte
Some players prefer to tune their bass in 5ths as it offers a wider range of pitch from a standard 4 string bass. The bass strings are tuned to the same notes as a cello (Low C, G, D, A High) but an octave lower. It gives a low C without the need for an extension or fifth string and is also popular with Jazz performers as the major tenth is easier to play. This requires a set of strings specifically produced to be tuned in 5ths.
The winding material is used to add mass to the string, this slows down the vibration to produce lower pitch notes. Most strings are wound with a metal tape made from steel, chrome steel (or other steel alloy), nickel or silver. The winding material used can affect the diameter of the string. The cost of the string is affected by the metal used with nickel or steel being the cheapest and silver or exotic steel alloys being more expensive.
Our Customer Reviews of Double Bass Strings
Read what our customers are saying about double bass strings they purchased from us.