A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:18 pm

I'll try to tell you what little I've actually learned about bass strings as they relate to Lakland 5 string basses and, specifically, my 55-01. I may even bitch a bit about the manufacturers.

First off, finding strings that are known to fit 35" scale basses thru-body is not at all easy unless you get something "Off The Rack", like Extra Long Elixirs, Laklands, 36" TIs, or certain DR strings. Some of the Ken Smith strings might go thru-body, maybe. For the rest of 'em, it's guesswork, research, and try when you buy.

It's really amazing how little info the string manufacturers give us. It seems that most just assume that we only play 34" scale basses and only string thru-bridge. The exceptions that I've found seem to be TI, Ken Smith, and DR (to a limited degree).

What kind of info would I find helpful, beyond the usual that we actually get? Here's a list:

Overall string length, from ball end clear to the opposite end.
Length of full winding, from ball end to the point of first taper. Or if taperwound, distance from each end to the start of the taper.
Tension at standard tuning (440Hz)
Pictures of the ends would be nice.

Even if the strings are "hand made", there should be plenty of consistency to allow for advertised measurements. It really wouldn't take a helluva lot of time to give some marketing jockey a tape measure, digital camera, fistful of strings, and instructions. Tension would be a little tougher to get, but I'd bet the equipment is in-shop (the numbers may already be known).

Enough of my complaining and tilting at windmills. Here goes;

1. Thomastik-Infeld long scale (for 34" scale basses) strings will fit, but only thru-bridge.

2. Thomastik-Infeld extra long scale (for 36" scale basses) strings will fit thru-body.

3. Slinkys will fit, but only thru-bridge. Even then it's close, as the windings taper just "north" of the nut. FWIW, the B is just barely there.

4. Extra Long Elixirs will fit thru-body.

5. Cleartones fit, but only thru-bridge.

Just so's ya know, the distance from the ball end to the saddle breakpoint is a tad more than 2 inches on the B string of my 55-01. That means that an additional 1.5" or so is needed to go thru-body compared to thru-bridge, assuming that there is an inch or so of wiggle room at the headstock. Within limitations, more is usually going to be better.

Tone of the various strings is pretty subjective, and my bass isn't your box stock 55-01. I'll add tone notes further down the thread.

Anyone else's additions would be welcome here.

Ken...
...at least the doctors find me fascinating...
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby Ken Baker » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:26 pm

For those just tuning in, this 55-01...

Image
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/lakla ... tion_1.jpg

...has been much breathed upon. Gone are the Bart pickups and preamp, replaced with Nordstrand Big Splits and an Aguilar OBP-3

Impressions of what I've had on so far.

Elixirs:
These were on the bass when I got it from Mal and they're a good choice, but with qualifications. The feel of the "Nanoweb" coating is great; nice & slick with subdued string noise. Tension seemed on the low end of medium. The sound remained really nice until the coating started to flake off. At that point, the tone deteriorated to a sort of a hollow clonky sound. The lows in particular lost some of their clarity. Part of the fault here is my own, as I took these off a couple times and put them back on. But I was VERY careful to protect the coating as much as I could.

TI Jazz Flats:
Great strings, great feel, unimpressive on this bass. Granted, I'm comparing their sound to that from a G&L L series and that's probably the problem. TI Flats and G&L are about as close to a match made in heaven as you're going to get. Even with the mids up they sounded kind of lifeless. Except for the thump, which was huge.

Slinkys:
They barely fit, even thru-bridge, but they sounded good. Good clarity, though not as even sounding across the strings as I'd like. Medium tension with average string noise. These had been used for a short time, so new ones may act differently.

Cleartone mediums:
Nice thru-bridge fit with a little room to spare. The B (purchased separately) is taper wound, so that saddle had to be cranked up. These are kind of odd, in that the clarity is good but that there is essentially no zing. These are new strings, so some zing was expected and it just wasn't there. Definitely not dead sounding, just no zing. Fundamentals are clean & clear and the B sounds great. These are advertised as having a one micron thick coating, but they aren't slick feeling - just nice & smooth. Tension runs to the high side of medium and they respond very nicely to my light playing style - very responsive. On a purely subjective level, I wish they were a little bit brighter. Added later: Anyone want these things? We can work something out.

Infeld Superalloys:
IN345s, so it was thru-bridge with room to spare but not enough for thru-body. These had been on the Bongo previously, so they already had at least a little time on 'em. Great, and very even, sound across all 5 strings. Medium tension with typical TI feel. Granted that they're broken in, but this is a good match to the bass and its electronics.

That oughta get things rolling enough for now.

Ken...
Last edited by Ken Baker on Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby jshilgebass » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:24 pm

FWIW...

I have two 55-01 basses, as you may well know. The twin of your bass, Ken, has strings of unknown origin on it; I have never changed the strings when I acquired it. The CAR 55-01 has...

Ken Smith Rock Masters 5XL (medium light gauge, 45-65-80-100-125):
These are stainless steel roundwounds, non-tapered....and since they are the XLs they fit thru-body with string length to spare. Definitely bright, but I don't have to turn the treble control down to control it. String tension is about medium, I'm guessing. They give a modern tone as opposed to, say, "vintage". Still, I can get good "thump" with them with tone control adjustment.


Joe Hilgeman
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby hmagman » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:30 pm

Ken,

I've had some luck with the Lakland 5-string nickel sets...worth a try.

Regards,
Harry
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:37 pm

Superalloys on there now...
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby nolabass » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:32 am

If I remember correctly those Lakland are made by GHS. I like them best on my 55-94 too.
I don't remember which brand of GHS....boomers I think.
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby Gil Escalera » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:09 am

Good info Ken, thanks. [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]

Myself, I've just always been content enough with the Lakland Nickel Rounds on my fretted 55-94 and the 55-02 before that, and never tried anything else.

My fretless 55-94 currently wears some unknown flats. I need to put some Chromes on it.

- Gil
To "B" or not to "B"... that is the question. ;)
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby SonicBlueJoe » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:26 am

I've used the IN365 36" Superalloys on my Joe pretty much since they came out with them. Plenty of room to spare, through the bridgeBODY, even with the B. Great round, even tone straight out of the box without the zingy brightness I usually associate with typical rounds. Not the string for people who like zingy bright and change their strings often to achieve that. To me, they sound broken in right away, and maintain that for quite an extended period of use before they start to feel dead. I like something between zingy and dead--"broken in" is how I would describe it--, and these strings seem to offer that for a longer period of use than any other stings I've tried (Laklands/DRs).

EDIT: revisiting this thread, I realized I made a really stupid and misleading statement about the above strings in regards to the whole point of this thread. Corrected above-while I havebn't used them in awhile now, the IN365 set DID string through the body with room to spare. Where's the DuhhhhhhDrooling smilie. :hid:
Last edited by SonicBlueJoe on Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby jshilgebass » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:57 pm

I can now report that Dunlop strings can be strung on a Lakland 55-01 through-body. I installed a stainless steel set on KC, my CAR Nordstrand-modded bass of DOOM!. [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]

There is a caveat, which to me is not a deal breaker. The strings do not have silk wraps on either end, and the end that goes to the tuning machines is wrapped such that it looks like how a taper-core string would be, i.e., less wrap on the end that goes over the nut. When I strung the strings up to tension, the thicker part of the string (one more layer of wire wrap) falls just short of the nut slot. Sorta like having taper wound at the nut end. To me, it does not affect playing, and the action does not buzz. The only strings affected are the B and the E. And there is enough length on all strings to get at least three wraps around the tuner posts.

Over the years I've preferred nickel wound strings since they are not as harsh sounding as I perceive stainless steel strings to be. I think when it comes to the Dunlops, however, I may just change my mind. They are just brighter sounding, not harsh. Perhaps the Nordstrand pickups and preamp have something to do with that, but I like these. I can still dial in dubby low sounds as needed. And the tension feels good; the Ken Smith strings I had on previously were just a little less tension.

I'll get a set of Dunlop nickel wound strings sometime and try those out. I just lucked onto four sets of SS that someone was selling for a nice low price, which is how I got to this point. No matter if they are NW or SS, Dunlop strings have been generating a positive buzz hereabouts. Now I can see (and hear) why...


Joe Hilgeman
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby hmagman » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:50 pm

jshilgebass wrote:I'll get a set of Dunlop nickel wound strings sometime and try those out. ...No matter if they are NW or SS, Dunlop strings have been generating a positive buzz hereabouts. Now I can see (and hear) why...
Joe Hilgeman


Joe,

Try a set of the Dunlop nickel's, it will make you smile... [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]
Harry
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby hmagman » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:03 am

Ken,

Here is another string option I'm using on my Modulus 5-string: D/Addario EXL165LS set with a EB 130SL single B-string (If you're looking for a tapered B order the EB 130SLT.

I think Tom A can get you a setup. [smilie=cool-smiley-031.gif]
Harry
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby JimDaddy » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:10 am

Thanks for the tips...
The issue with strings is trying to find a B Taper Core that will fit through the body ( I have a DJ5)
On the Lakland strings, if you measure from the beginning of the taper core to the outside edge of the ball, it is 3 inches...thats what you need...
I have not been able to find another taper core B with that spec......most are 2.5 inches..
When Lakland says their strings are custom made for them, they are not kidding...
Any input will be appreciated....
JimDaddy
 

Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:24 pm

I know it's been a long time, but...

The SuperAllows (IN365) work very well. Just a touch on the long side, but the fit and sound is good.

Also...

Dunlop light gauge, top loaded, have the best tone of ANYTHING I've had on this thing (55-01) so far. Also easy on the fingers.

Ken...
...at least the doctors find me fascinating...
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby vates » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:21 am

A great thread, thanks Ken!

What about DRs? Do they fit through-body?
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Re: A Thread About Strings to Fit Lakland 5 string basses

Postby 57RIP » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:00 am

I just restrung with GHS Progressives. Is the core on the B supposed to go over the saddle ? If I string through the body, it doesn't - it rests on the edge of the bridge plate as it exits the body... Top load the core goes over the saddle and the winding starts shortly thereafter. That's the way I left it ... I'm hoping they settle in after a little bit cause they are kinda bright right out of the packaging.

I'm really liking this bass...
I used to look at my dog Smokey and think, "If you were a little smarter, you could tell me what you're thinking," and he'd look back at me like he was saying, "If you were a little smarter, I wouldn't have to." - Fred Jungclaus
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