Strings for my Starfire

One Drop

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Hi all, new to this forum- I've had a soft spot for the SF bass since I played a single Bisonic PUP one at 30th St. Guitars years ago. I just bought Tim's S/B one pictured above and wandered over here to find out more about these gorgeous instruments.

I'm also trying to decide what kind of flats to put on this bass, the rounds sound fine but I really want some big lows and thump. I have lots of flats around and have had variously good experiences with many of them dependng on the bass, but they are all long scale so I can't really experiment.

I might try the Sadowskys because they have a lot of the tone and thump of the Labellas but I think the way they growl will sound perfect for these very smooth PUPs. I like TIs but they are already on the floppy side for me on long scale Fenders and don't want even lower tension on a short scale. I think GHS Precision flats would be killer as well. I have Chromes on my Harmony H22 and they are perfect for that bass, not sure if I want the same flavour on two basses, though.

Interesting to read about the baritone switch, I would consider disconnecting it but that's not for now, see how the string hunt goes first.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'm going to go play the thing.
 

fronobulax

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Welcome. I've got TI Jazz Flats on my NS Starfire and some kind of D'Addario flat on the '67. I'm happy with both,but I'm also the guy who had a set of RotoSounds on the '67 for 30+ years and just moved those strings to the JS :)
 

One Drop

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Thanks, I've tried a lot of different flats over the years and really like the TIs, but I want something a bit thumpier for this bass, and ones I can dig in with a pick sometimes, which TIs aren't god for IME.
 

Yggdrasil

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IMO if you only have one Starfire or one Casady, then TI Jazz Flats are de rigeur.
More than one - Bob's your uncle.
 

One Drop

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Just wanted to apologize to the OP for the highjack.

Two things about the TIs are keeping me from going for them right away- one is the tension, but that I can probably get used to. Looking at the TI site I see the short scale E is beefirer and higher tension, that is a plus but I'm a bit worried about the feel of the set in general. Then again, I think I will be mostly playing fingerstyle with this bass, and I can get used to the tension as I have done on a Tokai P I have that the TIs sound great on.

The other and most important issue if the middy tone of the TIs- I love the harmonic richness and the juicy mids, but I really want some huge thump and big lows like the trad flats such as Labellas give, to set this bass under the mix more than slotting in. I know the TIs are deceiving, and can sound huge when in a mix, but I get that with my other solid body basses and really wanted to accentuate the fat bottom the Starfire can bring. Any clips out there with TI flats a Starfire?

As a point of reference I like the tone Catherine Popper gets on hers a lot, mids are strong but the bass is big and solid.

I mostly play through an old SVT, FWIW.
 

mavuser

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It is going to take a lot more than a set of strings to sound like Catherine, but I sure appreciate the spirit! I don't even think she herself knows what brand strings are on her Starfire bass. They are definetly flats though.

One thing Cat taught me, which may be an obvious/beginner tip to the rest of you, is to fret the note/string literally right in back of the fret. I thought she was playing right on the fret itself (which we all know probably wouldn't sound so good) and somehow getting this amazing tone...asked her and she said "no but right behind the fret that's how you get the best tone. ". Especially on a long scale bass (not a Starfire) those big lower frets (that seem to get played the most) have a lot of space on the fingerboard between frets for your finger to get lost in the middle of that zone. But u want to play each and every note right behind each fret, as close to the fret as possible without skunking the note (obviously). Sorry if by some chance that is bass 101; but I noticed her technique and not every player seems to be right there up against the fret like that.

as to the gauge of the string I think we are all different and it's just individual preference. I like the light gauge strings (D'addario chrome lights flats medium scale). They are great on the Starfire and there is a chance less is more when talking about working with those rosewood saddles. There also can be variation in the vintage pickups and sometimes they need to be tweaked one way or another, although I am far from an expert on that matter. Also the type of amp makes a huge difference. And then there's the tone knob on the bass. I seem to have that rolled off all the way to zero no matter what bass I play, especially Guilds.
 
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mavuser

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Also the D'addarios definitely have more tension than the TI's, I would imagine you could play them with a pick, but playing the bass with a pick is most definitely the opposite of Cat Popper.

I have found personally, while trying to achieve the tone of others, I have found "my own" tone, which was similar to what I was going for, but my own thing with my own (and different) instruments and rigs. and in each instance I was very satisfied. I have asked Cat who her big influences are and Jamerson/Mcartney seem to get mentioned the most.
 

One Drop

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Thanks mavuser.

I'm not looking for her tone as such, not my thing to go chasing other people's sound, but I have learned a lot about pulling different sounds out of a bass by trying to sound like others. In the end I find the bass dictates what strings it should have and how it should be played, which is why I like instruments that have their own strong personality to mix things up.

Normally I'd just experiment as I have a lot of flats around but they are all longscale and mostly cut for Fenders.
 

One Drop

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Thanks, I've heard the Pyramids on Kay HBs and on Hofners I think they sound great and would probably be amazing on this bass. I do really like the way the Chromes sound, too, they really shine on my Harmony, though I'm not a massive fan of the way their high mids sound on Fenders.

Last night I went ahead and ordered the short scale TIs, found a great price on a German site, about $60USD delivered. They sound amazing based on the clips I listened to and I know how rich they can sound from experience, and a few hours with this bass have impressed with the amount of bottom on tap so I'm not at all worried about them being too middy. The thing that decided me as well is the dryness up here at 1500m, necks just bow like crazy and I think a lighter string will suit this neck better up here than cranking the truss rod to support a higher tension string.

Thanks for all your help, I know how subjective string tastes are and I was just trying to short circuit the inevitable process of experimenting. I'll give an update when I get them in the mail.
 

One Drop

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Got the TIs in the mail today and put them on right away, the tension is fine and they actually seem tighter that the long scale set feels to me on my P bass.

The jury is out- I'm digging them a lot tension wise but I need more time to get used to them tonally- the D and G strings are surprisingly a bit woofy up the neck and the E is not as authoritative as it was with the rounds. Maybe some set-up is in order. I'll do some more playing and tweaking and report back.
 
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You mentioned in your original posting wanting big lows and thump.. Well you'll get some thump from various flats but not sure you'll ever get the 'big lows' out of a bi- sonic Hag. Setup of course is important but with the TI flats if you get too close to the pup you might get some clicking/ clacking.
 

One Drop

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You mentioned in your original posting wanting big lows and thump.. Well you'll get some thump from various flats but not sure you'll ever get the 'big lows' out of a bi- sonic Hag. Setup of course is important but with the TI flats if you get too close to the pup you might get some clicking/ clacking.
The action is fairly low and i like the dynamics I can get by playing lightly by default, no problem there and I can control the clank easily.
 

One Drop

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Well, after a few weeks I'm really liking the bass and the way it sounds and plays with the TIs. Not really impressed with the picked sounds I've been getting but I haven't tried through my SVT, I have a feeling there could be some great sounds there with a bit of RH experimentation and some mild breakup.

But fingerstyle with the tone rolled all the way off it's really sweet, and I'm loving the growl on the lower strings. Almost all my prior time on bass has been with Ps and Js and though I have played my Harmony a lot at home and in a few low key jams I'm really new to short scales and HBs so it's a learning curve.

One thing I love is how dynamic and touch sensitive these basses are with lowish action, really expressive and a pleasure to experiment with.
 
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I'm trying to get as much input as I can on strings for my 2019 Starfire ll. The folks at Thomastik recommended JR 324 Jazz rounds but so many others are saying flats are the only way to go, still others say Labella tape wounds. With the two bisonics each having tone controls and my Fender Rumble 800 modelling amp I can a lot of effects and tones but I don't want to lose any of that by putting strings that are too dull or too twangy.
 

fronobulax

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To the extent that your bass can be compared to a Newark Street Starfire I and that my comparisons to my NS will apply to you, I would go for a flatwound. In general a Bi-sonic gets its sound because of the midrange frequencies. Rounds introduce a twang that for me is not pleasant. So my advice would be to buy flats and use them. If you get to the point where they are not satisfactory and you can afford to try something else then try the rounds. But if you have to live with this decision for a while I'd try flats first.
 
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