The Ultimate Bass Guitar Strings Guide - Information You Need to Know - StringVibe (2023)

It is pretty difficult to play your bass guitar without strings. Needless to say,the type of string you choose is very important. The type of bass guitar strings you want to get depends on several different factors though, so it’s not always easy to pick.

The goal of the bass guitar strings guide is to arm you with the ability to choose the right strings for you. In this article, youwill learn details that are important when choosing the bass strings that will make sense foryour instrument and your music.

Table of Contents

Bass String Names and Orders

The strings might be the most important part of your bass guitar. The first thing we need to understand is there are different strings, and different string notes, for the three different types of bass you commonly will find.

Bass guitar strings are usually named for the keynotes produced when the open string is played. An open string is one string that is not pressed down on top of any fret. Beginning at the apex of your bass guitar here is the order of the strings and the open note associated with each.

4 String Bass (From thickest to thinnest string)

  • The 4th string produces the E note
  • The 3rd string produces the A note
  • The 2nd string produces the D note
  • The 1st string produces the G note

5 String Bass (From thickest to thinnest string)

  • ​The 5th string produces the B string note
  • The 4th string produces the E note
  • The 3rd string produces the A note
  • The 2nd string produces the D note
  • The 1st string produces the G note

6 String Bass (From thickest to thinnest string)

  • ​The 6th string produces the B note
  • The 5th string produces the E string note
  • The 4th string produces the A note
  • The 3rd string produces the D note
  • The 2nd string produces the G note
  • The 1st string produces the C note

Notice that for the 5 string bass guitar we add a low note (The B Chord), while the six-string bass guitar keeps the B note as its lowest, and adds a high C note.

The Bass String Gauges

String gauges are measured by the diameter of the string and are usually expressed using the measurement of thousandths for every inch. A heavier gauge produces a richer tone that is determined by the strength of your fingers. Additionally, a heavier gauge produces a lower tone. Most bass strings have a medium gauge, a standard 4-string bass guitar ranges between 0.045 and 0.105 inches thick.

Some manufacturers are known to take the mix and match approach in creating string sets. You can find that most of the bass four strings guitar sets have G and D strings with medium weight gauging around 0.045 to 0.065 while those of light strings A and E strings measure 0.080 to 0.100.

In a similar case, another light 5 string bass guitar may gauge heavier on a B string with 0.130. Some bass guitar users prefer to buy single strings that gauge according to their preferences than be limited bythe manufactures string gauge guide.

The most important thing when it comes to choosing your string gauge is to get the perfect gauge that will suit your taste and the most advisable one is the medium setting for the new bases you can experiment with another gauge later.

What Are Bass Guitar Strings Made of?

Any good bass guitar player knows that a solid bass guitar riff can set a crowd buzzing, so the sound your strings makes is extremely important. Bass strings are made using metal alloys that impact their tone, durability, and feel. Here are the standard materials that are used to make your favorite bass strings.

These are the most common things you’ll find on the market, but there are always new materials being tested. As a beginner, we recommend you stick with something from this list until you develop an ear for the variations in tone.

Nickel-Plated Steel

Nickel-plated steel tends to be the choice of most bassists in different music genres as the material offers a comfortable feel with a bright tone.

Pure Nickel

They are warmer with less magnetic attraction, and they produce high vintage tones. They offer the best sound for the early 50s and 60s pop bass and rock and country bass.

Stainless Steel

This material is very popularwith metal, rock, and jazz players since it produces a dazzling tone that has excellent corrosion resistance. It is durable and smooth.

Copper-plated steel

This bass strings material is known to retain the sparkly and bright response of steel. It has a thinner copper coating, and it is known to produce rich acoustic overtones, it’s a very durable material and it feels soft against the player’s hands.

Polymer-coated strings

Most manufacturers have come up with a simpler way of extending the bass guitar string life by just coating the strings with synthetics. This helps to prevent the strings from being damaged caused by corrosion. The effect this coatinghas on the string tones can differ betweenmanufacturers, though.

Color-coated strings

Some bassists love to spice up their instruments and what better way than to use colored coated strings. They come in different colors, and they offer a visual impact on your guitar at the same time they extend the life and smooth playability.

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The Ultimate Bass Guitar Strings Guide - Information You Need to Know - StringVibe (1)

Bass String Construction Methods

Most bass guitar strings have an outer wrap and the most common winding metals used are nickel and stainless steel. The winding of bass strings affects both the tone and the feel of the string. Most famous winding methods include:


The method uses round wires that are made of nickel and stainless steel. Stainless steel combined with this method is known to offer louder and brighter sounds while enhancing the popping and slapping techniques of the strings.


These strings are wrapped with a steel core wire that is flat with a smooth feel, and it’s known to produce rounder and mellower tones.

Difference between Bass Guitar Strings and Electric Guitar Strings

For those who are new to the guitar world, it can be hard to understand the primary difference between a bass guitar and electric guitar as both instruments are very similar.

The difference between an electric guitar and bass guitar strings comes from the standard tuning and gauge of the strings, rather than anything to do with materials and construction.

The electric guitar has a standard tuning EADGBE using 6 strings, while the standard 4 string bass guitar is tuned EADG and has a whole octave that is down in pitch. This means the bass notes are much lower than you’ll have on a 6-string electric guitar.

Now that you have an understanding of the strings on your bass, and what the differences are, we’d recommend you take your education one step further and check out a detailed buying guide like the one found at MusiciansFriend.

The Final Note

Strings are such an important part of your bass guitar that you’ll want to experiment with different types, materials, and gauges until you find the ones that you prefer. To some extent, the bass guitar strings you prefer will change and morph over time and depending on the type of music your playing.

As a beginner, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference, but as you become more experienced you’ll start to notice every minute variations in sound, feel, and quality.

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A ukulele player pretty much from birth, Edward has gone on to play banjo, lead guitar, and bass for a number of bands and solo projects! Edward loves talking, teaching and writing about music!



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How do I memorize Eadg? ›

Here are a few sample phrases for E-A-D-G-B-E:
  1. Eat All Day Get Big Easy.
  2. Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually.
  3. Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie.

What are the notes of the strings on A bass guitar? ›

If you're playing a standard bass guitar, you will notice that your bass has only 4 strings. The standard tuning for a 4 string bass is E, A, D, G (the same as the four lowest strings on the guitar but one octave lower). The bass strings are tuned in fourths.

Should I learn 4 string or 5 string bass? ›

If you're a beginner , go with a four string bass guitar. They're a lot easier to play, which means you'll have a lot less frustrating learning process. Choose a bass guitar that is fretted, because playing a fretless bass guitar is incredibly challenging and isn't suggested if you're a beginner .

How many strings does Afive string bass have required? ›

The standard bass has four strings tuned to E-A-D-G, which corresponds to the four lowest strings of a guitar. However, bass strings are much thicker, because they are tuned an octave lower. Tuning a bass works exactly like tuning a guitar. Some advanced players use basses with five or even six strings.

What is the easiest way to memorize A bass fretboard? ›

Memorizing the Fretboard: A Checklist for Bass Players
  1. Learn one note at a time. Pick a note and try to find where that note is on each string. ...
  2. Memorize various intervals. ...
  3. Call out the notes as you play them when you play any exercises. ...
  4. Run through the notes of the scale mentally sporadically throughout the day.
Oct 5, 2016

How many strings is best for a bass? ›

The standard bass has four strings tuned to E-A-D-G, which corresponds to the four lowest strings of a guitar. However, bass strings are much thicker, because they are tuned an octave lower. Tuning a bass works exactly like tuning a guitar. Some advanced players use basses with five or even six strings.

How can I teach myself bass guitar? ›

How to Practice Bass for Beginners
  1. Practice regularly. ...
  2. Find a time of day when you can practice without distractions and when you can concentrate. ...
  3. Start with technique exercises. ...
  4. As a bass player, developing a strong sense of time is important. ...
  5. Start slowly. ...
  6. Work on muscle memory. ...
  7. Practice with other musicians.
Mar 13, 2022

Do strings matter in bass? ›

The importance of bass strings

Bass guitars are designed to give you deep lows that help drive the music. A bass's strings can make a big difference in the tone of your bass. Some strings are brighter and deliver a punchier tone that is ideal for rock, country, pop, and more.

Which bass strings are easiest on the fingers? ›

Another, albeit seldom seen, option are tapewound bass strings, which are made with a layer of nylon wrapped around the metal winding wire (which can be either round or flat). They're easy on the fingers and they produce a softer, darker sound usually considered the closest thing to upright bass sound and feel.

What gauge strings do most bass players use? ›

The standard gauges for a four-string bass are 0.045 (inches thick) to 0.105, or 0.045 to 0.125 for a five-string.

Why use flatwound bass strings? ›

Flatwound strings have reduced high end, giving them more emphasis on mids and lows. Bassists playing rock, punk, and pop styles often choose roundwounds for their enhanced presence in a busy mix. For reggae, R&B, and jazz, the smoother, warmer sound of flatwounds is often more appropriate.

What gauge are Bass VI strings? ›

When Fender released the Bass VI in 1961, the standard set was made up of strings gauged . 026”-. 095”, and that . 095” is key here.

What is a 5 string bass good for? ›

The biggest advantage of the five-string bass is its extended lower range. From the fretted low-E all the way down to the chest-imploding low-B, that fifth string provides a gateway for exploration into previously uncharted territory.

How long are Bass VI strings? ›

All plain steel strings are 43″, wound guitar strings are 46.5″ total with a 39.75″ winding length, and bass strings are 54″ total with a 48″ winding length (or 45″ for short and medium scale bass strings).

What is the fastest way to memorize a pitch? ›

10 Tips for Memorizing Your Sales Script
  1. Read Things Aloud to Yourself. Reading aloud is always my first step. ...
  2. Learn One Concept or Paragraph at a Time. ...
  3. Use an Unusual Font. ...
  4. Listen to a Recording. ...
  5. Give Each Paragraph a Trigger Word. ...
  6. Create an Acronym. ...
  7. Listen to Music While You're Studying. ...
  8. Walk Around While You're Studying.
Jul 6, 2020

Should I learn bass with fingers or pick? ›

Truthfully, there is no right or wrong way to play a bass guitar. There isn't even a preferred way. Any method you use to get sound out of the thing—fingers, pick, thumb, those weird stick things Tony Levin uses, telekinesis, whatever—works just fine. It's purely a matter of personal preference.

How to learn all bass notes? ›

The best way to memorize the natural notes on any string is to start out just playing (and naming) a few notes and progressively adding 1 note at a time. (e.g. play E F G E G F G A F A B F G B C etc…) If you do this a little each day, you can learn the notes on the neck quickly.

Is string bass hard to learn? ›

The bass is typically played at a lower volume than a guitar, making it easier to hear the notes you are playing. A bass guitar is easier to learn than a guitar because it only has four strings rather than six. It is flexible, allowing for textures to be used to support melodic instruments such as the guitar.

How long should a set of bass strings last? ›

Some people never change strings. James Jamerson never changed his strings and once said, “The funk is in the funk.” Other people who like a bright sound or play a lot may change strings once every week or two. For my average student I suggest they change or clean them every 3-4 months.

What is the most common size of string bass for adults? ›

The standard size bass for adults is ¾. 7/8 and 4/4 size basses are made, but less commonly used.

Is it OK to take all strings off bass guitar? ›

Let's look a bit deeper: You can change strings either by removing all of its strings and replacing the entire set at once, or by removing and replacing each string, one at a time, without damaging your guitar.

What should I learn first on bass guitar? ›

If you're new to bass guitar, we recommend just learning the notes on the E and A strings.

What beginners should practice bass? ›

The first centerpiece of your practice regimen should be skills practice—the scales, arpeggios, melodic patterns, chord progressions, and the like, that constitute the foundation of our bass playing. Much of this material will be suggested by your teacher. This practice needs to be intense and ever improving.

Is playing bass easier than guitar? ›

Playing the bass requires a different knowledge base and skill set, so to speak. So no, the bass isn't necessarily easier to play than the electric guitar. If you can't play the guitar, then just play bass. This is somewhat connected to the myth above.

Why do bass players avoid open strings? ›

Sadly, a lot of bassists avoid the very useful open strings because they're hard to handle. Don't! Learn to use them with confidence. You just need to do a little focused practice to keep the open strings from getting in the way of a nice, clear bassline.

Why do bass players not change strings? ›

They purposely don't change the strings because they don't want to lose “that sound” or because they're superstitious or nostalgic about the instrument. There's nothing wrong with any of these approaches.

Do bass strings ever break? ›

Breaking a bass string every so often can be normal – especially if you play aggressively, do a lot of slapping or use light gauge strings. If you break your bass strings regularly, you need to figure out what is weakening the string and causing it to break.

Which strings hurt less? ›

Yes, nylon strings are softer and more gently on players' fingers, so beginners generally won't have to worry about finger pain or developing the callouses that will help them practice pain-free.

Does playing bass make your fingers stronger? ›

There is no evidence that playing bass makes your fingers stronger. In fact, most professional bass players have relatively weak hands and fingers. The reason for this is that the bass guitar is a very easy instrument to play, and requires very little finger strength.

What are your favorite bass strings? ›

The Best Bass Guitar Strings - 4 String Sets
  • Rotosound RB40.
  • D'Addario ECB84.
  • Rotosound RS66LD.
  • La Bella 760FS Deep Talkin'
  • Rotosound RS66LE.
  • Rotosound SH77.

Do thicker bass strings sound better? ›

Thicker strings CAN sound fatter and in many cases provide more low end, but the brand of strings and the bass you have impact that a lot.

What is the difference between light and heavy bass strings? ›

Simply, light strings have slightly less tension than mediums, and heavy strings have slightly more tension. Specifically, the strings have more or less mass, to require a few pounds more or less tension to create the specific pitch desired, which makes the strings feel "tighter" or "looser."

Can you slap with flatwounds? ›

Anyone who believes this to be exclusively the sound you'll get is enormously underestimating the flatwound string! Their development and application has evolved tremendously, flats are available today in many flavours and can be used in virtually every genre of music. Some of them are even suitable for slap bass!

What famous bass players use flatwound strings? ›

Many legendary bass players throughout history have used flatwound strings, including:
  • James Jamerson.
  • John Entwistle.
  • Paul McCartney.
  • Geddy Lee.
  • Bootsy Collins.
  • Marcus Miller.
  • Stanley Clarke.
  • Pino Palladino.

Are flatwounds harder to play? ›

Playability. Because of the increased tension that comes with flatwounds, it can be harder to depress the strings. Getting used to this will take some time and effort, and you're likely to experience some early onset finger fatigue when getting started.

Who uses A Bass VI? ›

  • Jet Harris (the Shadows)
  • Rick Danko (the Band)
  • Jack Bruce (Cream)
  • John Entwistle (the Who)
  • John Lennon (the Beatles)
  • George Harrison (the Beatles)
  • Eric Haydock (the Hollies)
  • Robert Smith (the Cure)

Does A Bass VI play like A guitar? ›

The current Fender and Squier Bass VI models are considered bass guitars, as was the Fender original. They're strung with bass strings, albeit a special set made specifically for the model. They have a 30” scale length, like most short-scale basses, and they use standard tuning (EADGBE) one octave lower than a guitar.

What is the difference between 4/5 and 6 string bass? ›

The reason for having more strings is to add more range to the bass. More range means being able to play more lower pitched notes and/or higher pitched notes. Also, the more strings you have under your fingers, the more notes you have under your fingers.

What frequency is a low B on a 5 string bass? ›

The low B on a bass guitar is the second lowest note that can be played on the instrument. It has a frequency of 61.7 Hz, which is just below the low E string. This makes it a very important note for creating the foundations of a song.

Can I start learning bass on a 5 string? ›

Learning to play the 5 string bass guitar can be a great way to expand your musical horizons. The 5 string bass guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used in a variety of genres, from rock and pop to jazz and blues. If you're a beginner, there are a few things you'll need to know before you start playing.

Can you play a 5 string bass song on a 4 string bass? ›

If a song is in the key of Eb or D and is played on a 4-string, it can be a benefit to switch to a 5-string if you have the option. Notes that are on the A string can be played two frets down on the B string. Again, use your ears and see what works. Nothing will grow your bass guitar confidence like practice.

What do the switches on a Bass VI do? ›

This model was similar to the traditional Bass VI design with four switches (on/off for each pickup and a "strangle" (low-cut filter) switch) and a Jaguar-style control plate.

Is a 5 string bass harder to play than a 4 string? ›

Five string bass guitars have one extra string, which adds a lower B string onto the instrument's range. Compared to the four string bass guitar, the five string guitar has a wider neck, which makes it more difficult to play.

What is a bass with 6 strings called? ›

A contrabass guitar is a low-register bass guitar with four, five or six strings. It is often called, simply, a six string bass guitar. The five string bass guitar is rarely called a contrabass guitar, even though it typically has the same lowest note.

What is the fastest way to memorize guitar chords? ›

Learning how to memorize guitar chords is best accomplished by allowing your mind to focus on just one chord shape and let your fret hand muscles learn and remember where your fingers need to go by repeating several short memory sessions with each chord you want to learn.

What key is EADG? ›

I like to think of chords E A D G as a 'fusion' or 'superposition' of two keys, A and D : you're playing in the key of A with the chords E A D but you're also playing in the key of D with chords A D G. It's a fusion of keys, also a fusion of two sets of chords.

What is the rhyme to remember violin strings? ›

The four strings of the viola and cello are C,G,D,A and a helpful rhyme to help you remember them is ' Cats Go Down Alleys' while the strings of the violin are G,D,A,E and the rhyme is 'Good Dogs Always Eat'.

What is the hardest chord to learn? ›

The six-string F chord is one of the hardest standard chord shape to play on the guitar. When many people try to play the F chord on guitar (and often succeed), it's with far too much struggle and effort than is actually necessary. Even extremely influential guitarists can have a hard time with barre chords.

What is the easiest chord to learn? ›

Guitar chords chart for beginners

The first chords to learn on guitar are Em, C, G, and D. Let's get started in “first position” or “open chords.” These chords are played close to the nut and utilize a number of open strings. The next chord you should learn is C, or C major.

Can I teach myself guitar? ›

So, yes, you can successfully learn guitar by yourself. However, it will go faster for you and save you some trouble if you use good resources. And some things about learning guitar will go smoother with a skilled teacher. But it is entirely achievable to learn guitar on your own!

What key is C on 5th fret? ›

How To Use A Capo On The Guitar - Best Uses Of A Guitar Capo.
KeyCapo PositionPerceived Key
Db Major6th FretG Major
9th FretE Major
D Major2nd FretC Major
5th FretA Major
34 more rows

Why is the B string tuned differently? ›

The b string on a guitar is tuned to a different pitch than the other strings because it is a different size. The b string is usually tuned to a higher pitch than the other strings, which gives it a brighter sound. The b string is also usually thinner than the other strings, which makes it easier to bend.

What frequency is bass Low E? ›

The low E-string on a bass guitar is usually tuned to 41.2 Hz, while the lowest note on a standard piano is A at 27.5 Hz.

What is the easiest key to play on the guitar? ›

Generally speaking, the easy keys are the ones with the fewest sharps and flats. C major, G major, D major, and the chording gets trickier as you progress through the circle of fifths. Don't get nervous.

Should I memorize every note on the fretboard? ›

Knowing every note is the key to getting around the whole fretboard effortlessly. If you haven't started playing yet, come back to this after you've learned some music. That's way more fun than memorizing notes.

Is it possible to memorize a fretboard? ›

It requires an awareness of how what you're playing relates to the entire fretboard. While there are many fretboard memorization exercises out there, few of them focus on the benefits of spatial memorization, beyond merely being able to name a note at a particular fret.

What is the acronym for remembering bass strings? ›

Bass guitar string names and order

And so just as with the guitar strings, you can drill these using the following method to learn them in no time (especially because there are only four strings!): EADG – E Eat, A A, D Doughnut, G Guitarists – EADG! Do this once a day, and within a week you'll have it memorized.

What is the rhyme for remembering the notes on the lines? ›

Example 1 shows the letter names used for the lines of a staff when a treble clef is employed. One mnemonic device that may help you remember this order of letter names is “Every Good Bird Does Fly” (E, G, B, D, F). As seen in Example 1, the treble clef wraps around the G line (the second line from the bottom).

What is the rhyme to remember notes? ›

For the treble or G clef, notes on lines starting at the bottom and moving to top are: (E, G, B, D, F) Mnemonics are Every Good Boy Deserves Football, or Every Girl Buys Designer Fashions, or Elephants Get Big Dirty Feet. A mnemonic for notes in spaces is FACE.


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