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March 06, 2010, 08:59:06 PM
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Author Topic: New LOW-TENSION Polyurethane Strings - Review and How-To  (Read 5626 times)

Newbie
*

Posts: 27
Livin' Large in Orygun, USA
The "Low Tension", Road Toad Music's - Pahoehoe polyurethane strings (Black)

They're $22.00 delivered, from California

http://www.bassuke.com/Pahoehoe.html

The tone and sustain of the Pahoehoe "Lows" and the gooey Fender strings are VERY comparable .  Unlike the early polyurethane Pahoehoe "Standard" strings, or the overly stiff Worths, the Lows play very much like the Fender strings, and provide some welcome durability.  Unexpected broken "G" and "D" strings should be a thing of the past.

* BONUS *  TALC IS NO LONGER REQUIRED!  With Tone Finger-ease String Lubricant, you can forget about the messiness of talc. A single spray application of Finger-ease before a gig or practice, is all that is required.  The polyurethane string material is totally unaffected by the silicone lubricant, which is a tried and true product that has been used by stringed instrument players for years.  Honestly, you actually WILL get smooth, quiet and effortless strings on your 'bory...with NO downside.  Sweetwater.com has String-ease for $4.59 - delivered.

Unfortunately, Finger-ease does not work with Fender's silicone strings.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FingerEase

NOTE:  Click the images below to enlarge them.

Attaching the strings to the bridge and tuners


Due to the thickness and slickness of the polyurethane strings, you must use a unique install method.

All but the "G" string have securely crimped and shrink-tubing covered metal terminations on one end.  The size of the terminations on the "A" and "D" strings fit perfectly as is, and go on easily.  I found that the "E" string's crimp needs some modification or total removal.  It's just too long.  In my case, an attempt to cut off part of the metal crimp caused the crimp to let go...anyway.

I didn't use any knots to secure the "A", "D" and "G" strings at the tuners.  I pull the loose ends through the slot, then under the string as it begins to wind on.  I make sure to keep tension on the string-end as I continue winding.  So far I haven't noted any slippage.

The bridge cavity: 

The tuners-1: 

The tuners-2: 


For "G" and "E", Nylon Tie-wraps are your friend

As I mentioned earlier, the "G" string doesn't require a knot at the tuner.  Use the "Tuck-under" method as used on the "A" and "D" strings.

Unfortunately, the firmer and thinner polyurethane "G" string is so slippery it defies tying a single knot at the bridge.  The solution...  Use a black tie-wrap on the end of the string as an anchor for a single knot...and you're good to go.  Man, I LOVE the sound and feel of that new "G", and I have no concern about leaving it under tension at all times.

"G" at the bridge: 

Due to the diameter of the "E" string, I had to deploy the tie-wrap method again at the bridge.  Tying a conventional knot is totally out of the picture.  For the bridge connection, I doubled over the end of the string, then attached a medium-sized, black, tie-wrap.  I used an inexpensive tie-wrap gun to make the job MUCH easier.  This termination method fits nicely, and is unobtrusive.

"E" at the bridge: 

Tie-wrap tool: 

There has been no slippage or movement of the bridge connection for any of the strings.  Woo-Hoo!

At the tuner, you must pull the "E" string through the slot, then attach a black tie-wrap...instead of tying a knot.

"E" at the tuner: 

To remove the wraps, simply clip the wrap's locking part with wire cutters, or a sturdy pair of scissors.  The nylon wraps are pretty tough, so be careful not to slip and damage the underlying string.

That's it!  If you have tried the hard Worth or "Standard" Pahoehoe polyurethane bass strings, and were unimpressed...you really should consider these new "Lows".  Yes, they do cost more up front, but individual string replacement costs should be reduced or totally eliminated, and you don't need to use TALC !!!
Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 04:42:20 PM by Wiley
   
Newbie
*

Posts: 9
Thanks for the review and the info on how to install them! They seem to be a good alternative from your description. I think I'm going to try them out.

Art
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 27
Livin' Large in Orygun, USA
Here is an economical alternative to Tone Finger-ease silicone spray for the polyurethane strings.

Though the 2.5 ounce can of the Finger-ease spray is handy to carry with you in your gig bag, the 16 ounce 3-In-One spray is great to use at home.  It's the SAME stuff.

TIP:  Put a few cotton balls in a small baggie, spray the balls with the silicone spray, knead the balls a bit to distribute the spray, use one of the balls to wipe the strings as needed.  Also, don't forget to pinch the ball with your fretting and picking fingers.  The application will typically last for the entire set, or practice.

              
Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 05:07:10 PM by Wiley
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 26
ROOTS ROCK REGGAE
Got my new Pahoehoes and managed to fit them using just one tie wrap on the bridge end of the G.
I love them, they really suit dub reggae and feel more stable and 'real' than the originals, they also look cooler.
The sound is deeper, more solid and less boingy, so it might not suit everyone.
I got some cheap silicone spray and it works a treat - no more talc all over the place and funny looks from punters who think I've got a drug problem with all that white powder !

Thanks a lot to Wiley for his excellent review and instructions - I was getting to the point of giving up on the Ashbory after so many snapped Gs and these strings might have just saved me from buying a new bass.

I only hope they last and don't suffer the same breakage rate as the Fenders - are they actually made from stronger stuff or will they eventually split and snap like the old ones ?

Should I order a spare set, (or a single G)  just in case?

Am I the only one in the UK using Pahoehoes ?
If so - great, I like to be exclusive.  :mrgreen:


---------------------------
All tracks recorded with my Ashbory -

http://myspace.com/redstriper
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 27
Livin' Large in Orygun, USA
Hey Red,

When you get a chance, how's about putting up some pics of your 'bory?  Curious how it worked out for you at the tuners and the bridge.

As for whether you should buy some backup strings...  Well, I guess if you gig, and you can't do without your bass, you might want an extra set...just in case.  I imagine it takes a little longer for a set to make the trip across the pond to you.

My strings have been under constant tension since I put them on a couple of months ago.  They have settled in and need very little retuning from day to day.  The intonation has stabilized...and for all I know, they will stay true for some time to come.  I'm still on my honeymoon, I guess, because I haven't had a single problem.  I give them a little pet, every once in a while...for good measure.   :wink:
Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 10:10:47 PM by Wiley
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 26
ROOTS ROCK REGGAE
Wiley - No sooner said..............



I wasn't sure about twisting the E to make it fit under the bridge, but it seems ok.
I tied a knot in the G at the bridge and all the strings use the took under method at the head.
They arrived in less than a week and they've been on for about 5 days now.
The tuning has already settled down quite well and they are more stable than the originals intonation wise.
The silicone spray is excellent and gives them more boing and the sound is very deep and warm.
I can't recommend them enough - far superior to the old strings for me.
I will order another set for spares, although changing strings mid gig is not really an option with the time involved - just have to hope they're strong enough to last.


---------------------------
All tracks recorded with my Ashbory -

http://myspace.com/redstriper
   
Newbie
*

Posts: 8
If y'all would forgive my lack of my playing skills, here are two recordings on the same instrument one with the normal silicone strings:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyURepi1rvE&feature=channel
and one with these new black urethane strings:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TUe_zpEbIg&feature=channel
The instrument is fed directly into the computer in both cases.

Tho
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 26
ROOTS ROCK REGGAE
Nice comparison Tho and nice playing skills too!
The normal silicone strings sound more suited to your style with a richer, boingier tone.
I prefer the new black urethane ones for my style, which is reggae - I really like the punchy attack and deeper tone.
You can hear my Ash played with my band here -
http://myspace.com/redstriper

BTW - I like your home made bass and wonder if you would be interested in making one for me ?
I have some ideas for a custom Ashbory, but I have no DIY skills.


---------------------------
All tracks recorded with my Ashbory -

http://myspace.com/redstriper
   
Newbie
*

Posts: 8
The normal silicone strings sound more suited to your style with a richer, boingier tone.
I prefer the new black urethane ones for my style, which is reggae - I really like the punchy attack and deeper tone.
You can hear my Ash played with my band here -
http://myspace.com/redstriper

BTW - I like your home made bass and wonder if you would be interested in making one for me ?
I have some ideas for a custom Ashbory, but I have no DIY skills.

You're right; I do like the sound of the silicone strings a little more than that of the urethane strings.  But at the slightly higher tension I'm using (tuned GDAE at 16" scale length), the reliability of the silicone strings are not enough for me, so I think I'll stick with the urethane strings until I decide to build a 15" scale length instrument.

If you're interested in an instrument/body, feel free to contact me off-line at blahx3@thoxbui.com.  I'm not sure if I can commit to a customized instrument, but I'd love to chat. Thanks.

Tho
   
Newbie
*

Posts: 8
So to order the strings, did you just mail them a check? I didn't see an online order form or anything.

Has everyone had a good experience with the site?
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 26
ROOTS ROCK REGGAE
I paid via paypal after emailing to confirm the order.
The strings arrived here in the UK within a week.


---------------------------
All tracks recorded with my Ashbory -

http://myspace.com/redstriper
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 27
Livin' Large in Orygun, USA
So to order the strings, did you just mail them a check? I didn't see an online order form or anything.

Has everyone had a good experience with the site?

Owen Holt, at Road Toad Music (RTM), is a great guy to do business with.  He's very well respected in the instrument building and selling business.  You will be dealing with the owner/luthier/operator of RTM.  Make first contact with Owen by sending him an email.

Note... 

Remove the two anti-spam asterisks ( * ) from the address.


owen*@*roadtoadmusic.com
Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 06:11:55 PM by Wiley
   
Newbie
*

Posts: 8
Thanks, guys. I can't wait to try these out.
   
Newbie
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Posts: 8
I received my strings promptly in the mail and strung up the bass tonight. I ended up using zip ties at the headstock for the E, A and G. At the bridge, I used a zip tie for the G, which is by far the trickiest to install.

I am liking the tone so far, and the strings are such that I can get a better tone from the open A and E.

This was a great find. I appreciate everyone being so helpful!

Eric
   

Newbie
*

Posts: 26
ROOTS ROCK REGGAE
Nice one Eric, I think you will be even happier when they settle down after a couple of weeks.
They stretch a lot, so leave room to wind them on so they leave the tuning pegs low down, you will get a better open string sound that way.
They stretch so much, you could almost get 2 strings out of each one, but you would have to pre stretch them first, which would be a good idea if you could rig something up.
I've just ordered a second set as spares and also 2 extra G and D strings.
I had so many snapped Gs and also Ds with the old strings, I still worry these Pahoehoes may eventually go the same way, (hope not).
Steve.


---------------------------
All tracks recorded with my Ashbory -

http://myspace.com/redstriper
   
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