Whether you are a novice or a pro, it is important to know what kind of strings you need for your acoustic bass.
In this guide, we will be reviewing some of the best acoustic bass guitar strings on the market. We will review multiple sets so that you can make a decision about which strings are right for you since this choice is very particular to each player’s style.
As well as giving reviews, we will also talk about the different types of strings and how they differ from each other. Many factors should be taken into account when choosing your set: gauge, tension, material, durability, etc. Of course, the perfect product will vary depending on which style of music you play and your playing preferences.
Also Read: Best Acoustic Guitar Strings
Best Acoustic Bass Guitar Strings – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- D’Addario EPBB170
- Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Bass Strings
- IBANEZ Carbon Coated Strings
- Thomastik-Infeld AB344 Bass Guitar Strings
- Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Strings
D’Addario EPBB170 is a set of medium gauge strings that are made from phosphor bronze. They are designed for acoustic bass guitars and feature a flat wound string with a round wound core. The string is made from high carbon steel wire wrapped in polyester and coated in bronze for durability. The result is a warm tone that’s great for fingerstyle playing.
- Gauges: 045-100
- Designed for 4-String Acoustic Basses
- Preferred for Its Warm, Bright, and Well Balanced Acoustic Tone
- Material: Phosphor Bronze Strings
- Due to the material of these bass strings being phosphor bronze, they have an excellent warm and sweet tone.
- These strings are coated in bronze for extra durability. In fact, it is one of the best strings on the list regarding this factor.
- D’Addario also offers other options of strings made from different materials, each one with its characteristic tone.
- The strings are packed in a element-shield bag.
An excellent set of strings, the D’Addario EPBB170 may be quite expensive ($20), but it is worth the price. The worthiness comes from the extended durability of these strings if compared to other options on the list, due to their exclusive bronze coating and element-shield packaging. Excellent choice for your acoustic bass guitar, regardless your style of music.
Ernie Ball is one of the most sought-after string brands in the market. The Ernie Ball Earthwood Acoustic Bass guitar strings come in a shielded packaging and deliver plenty of quality for the price. These strings are made of nickel steel, differently from the phosphor bronze of our already-reviewed D’Addarios, giving it a brighter tone.
- Gauges: 45-95
- Mellow Ringing Sound with Excellent Clarity
- Made in the USA
- Material: Nickel-Plated Steel Strings
- These strings are made out of nickel-plated steel. This particular material gives the strings a bright and resonant tone, excellent for cutting better through the mix.
- Apart from having a great sound projection, they also sound very full.
- Ernie Ball has one of the best packages of all strings, ensuring your set will come to you fresh.
- Even though these are priced at $20, the price is justified by the set’s durability.
An ok set of acoustic bass strings for the price, the Ernie Ball Earthwood does a great job. While expensive, the set has great durability, particularly due to its nickel-plated steel with phosphor bronze coating materials. A small detail, but that we judge very important: the packaging of the strings. Ernie Ball’s element-shield packaging is one of the best, in our opinion.
Ibanez is a brand trusted by many artists and musicians. These particular acoustic bass guitar strings have a carbon x-coated core wire, which greatly improves durability and helps you achieve a fuller sound. These strings are very expensive though: $50, by the time this article was written. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
- Gauges: 040-095
- Carbon X-Coated Core Wire
- Reduced Buzzing and Finger Noise
- Material: Carbon Coated Bronze Wound Steel
- These strings are simply one of the best choices regarding durability. It is surreal how long these strings can last.
- Similarly, the coating material also helps prevent unwanted buzzing and finger noise.
- Improved tone and sound projection.
- Still maintain the same natural feel as uncoated strings do.
While the Ibanez Carbon Coated Strings are impressive due to everything they offer, they are kind of expensive: $50, by the time this article was written. Given they will last much longer and have excellent quality, it is a great choice for advanced players but not for beginners and intermediate players.
Thomastik-Infeld strings are different from most other options on the list because they have a nylon core coated with phosphor bronze. Nylon cores sound much warmer and sweeter than steel cores (they don’t have the same bright characteristic), so it is a great set if you play genres such as jazz and bossa nova.
- Gauges: 041-086
- Complete Set of Strings
- Warmer and Sweeter Sound
- Material: Nylon Core with Phosphorbronze Coat
- As these have a nylon core, they are better suited for softer genres where you need a rounder tone.
- The playability is also different since nylon strings tend not to callous your fingertips as much as steel and are much more flexible.
- The company is very transparent about everything used to build these strings.
- Tone-wise, one of the best strings on the list.
The Thomastik-Infeld AB344 are excellent bass strings. Especially if you’re after a warmer and sweeter tone, this set is the perfect choice since it has a nylon core. We wouldn’t recommend it for more aggressive music genres and playing styles though, since they don’t have the same brightness as metal strings do.
Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys are electric bass strings, but they will work with an acoustic bass. The main difference you will have is in the tone: it will be brighter and have more attack if compared to acoustic strings. The choice is purely a matter of personal preference, but we recommend this to those playing more aggressive styles of music.
- Gauges: 50-105
- Rich, Balanced Tone
- Made in the USA with Tin-Plated, High-Carbon Steel Core Wire Wound with Nickel Plated-Steel
- Material: Tin-Plated High-Carbon Steel Core and Nickel-Plated Steel Wound
- Will sound brighter and have more attack than strings that are designed solely with acoustic bass guitars in mind.
- The high-carbon steel core wound with nickel-plated steel gives these strings excellent durability.
- Natural playability.
- Considerably affordable.
The Ernie Ball Regular Slinky is one of the standard bass guitar strings in the playing community. Although it was not designed exactly for acoustic basses, it can be used: the sound will be brighter and more aggressive so keep that in mind. If you play softer styles of music such as jazz and folk, this may not be for you.
What Should You Look For in a Acoustic Bass Guitar Strings?
Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for your next set of acoustic bass strings.
Take into account your bass guitar’s scale length. Some acoustic basses have a short scale, some have a long scale. The strings that are used on each of these basses also differ. It is important to pick the right strings for your acoustic bass guitar. Usually, the type is descripted in the product page or in the package.
The gauge is the thickness of the string. The thicker the string, the louder it will be. Usually, acoustic bass guitar strings come in between 45 and 95 gauge. It’s up to you to pick what fits you best. If you want a thick sound then go for a higher gauge with more tension, if you favor playability then go for a lower gauge with less tension.
Gauge affects the tone of your bass guitar as well as how it feels to play it. You might like playing with thick strings but if they are too thick they may feel uncomfortable on your fingers and they are harder to press down on the fretboard.
Gauge also determines how long a set of strings lasts before breaking or wearing out. Thicker strings last longer than thinner ones do, but thicker strings also tend to be harder on your fingers and harder for you to press down on your fretboard.
Acoustic bass guitar strings are usually made out of steel or nickel. Steel is a bit harder on your fingers but has a very bright attack and nickel lasts longer and tends to have a warmer, vintage sound, so it’s up to you to decide which ones fit you best. We recommend trying different types before sticking with your choice.
It is important to take into account the durability of a set of strings, especially if you’re on a budget. Luckily for bass players, bass strings usually last much longer than guitar strings so you probably won’t have to change your strings as often as a guitarist does. Other than that, the material and gauge also play a role: thicker gauge, nickel strings tend to last the longest.
Remember that it is also important to take care of your strings and instrument to ensure it lasts for a while: always remember to wipe the fretboard with a cloth or lemon oil after every session.
The price of acoustic strings will vary wildly. The most affordable, standard sets can be found for $15: these work just fine but they usually last less than most expensive, coated ones. You can find acoustic bass strings even in the $100 price range. If you’re a beginner, you can stick with the cheaper options as they will work just fine for those just starting out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between Electric and Acoustic Bass Strings?
Electric bass strings are typically thinner than acoustic bass strings. This is because electric basses have lighter bodies and thinner necks than acoustic basses. Acoustic basses, on the other hand, have bigger bodies and thicker necks, so they need thicker strings to balance out the tension.
Acoustic bass strings are usually made of steel and nickel, just like electric bass guitar strings, but sometimes you can also find phosphor bronze sets too.
Can You Use Electric Bass Guitars Strings on an Acoustic Bass?
Yes! It’s a very common practice to use regular electric bass guitar strings on an acoustic bass.
Acoustic bass strings often sound brighter than electric bass ones, but it’s a matter of personal preference and the type of music you play. Keep in mind that the sound will be quieter and won’t have the same projection though.
How Often Should You Change Bass Strings?
Some bass players keep their strings on for months, while others change them regularly. The most important thing is to keep your strings clean and well maintained. You should never leave your bass strings on for long periods of time without cleaning them. For the best sound and performance, you should change your strings at least once a month. Every other week, if you play frequently.
Should I Get my Acoustic Bass Guitar Adjusted After Changing Its Strings?
If you’re using the same gauge as before, it is probably not necessary. If you’re swapping the gauge, yes, it is best to take it to be adjusted. Even if you don’t change your strings regularly, you should still take it to a luthier from time to time to ensure that it plays its best and stays in tune consistently.
What Kind of Strings Are the Best for Fretless Basses?
Most players like to use flatwound strings on their fretless basses but there is no fast rule.
These were our top picks for the best acoustic bass strings. Acoustic bass players should take into account all of the factors that we mentioned in our article in order to find the best strings for their instrument: gauge, string material, etc. There are plenty of options out there for literally every budget.
Remember to take care of your strings so they last longer. It is also a great idea to take your acoustic bass to a luthier to have it adjusted frequently, especially if you’re changing the gauge of the strings for the first time.
How to Buy
The link for each product can be found on their respective titles on the list. We hope you liked this article. Feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions or questions!