Bass guitars are stringed instruments that have become prevalent in a wide range of musical styles/genres worldwide. An integral part of stringed instruments, as their name would suggest, are the strings.
There are plenty of bass guitar brands and models out there with a variety of different string counts, including the standard 4 or 5, or even more. To offer even more variety to these beautiful bass instruments, numerous companies produce bass guitar strings.
Finding the best strings for your bass guitar largely dependent on your particular instrument and preferred playing style. Though the brand of strings is far from the most important factor, it’s worth considering.
With so many brands out there, we’ll focus our attention, in this article, on the top 11 best bass guitar string brands on the market.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I’ve done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Variety of guitar strings
- Performance of the strings
- Currently in operation
With all that being said, let’s list out the brands.
The Top 11 Best Bass Guitar String Brands Are:
Let’s get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best bass guitar string brands. I’ll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable set of strings, and a link to their official website.
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DR Strings produces some of the world's best bass strings, bringing hand-wound strings back into the market. The company draws on a rich heritage of guitar design, being founded in 1989 by Mark Dronge, the son of Alfred Dronge, who founded the beloved company Guild Guitars.
Guild is featured in My New Microphone's Top 13 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands In The World.
The insight from building world-class instruments allowed DR Strings to reverse-engineer the string-making process.
But can a human make the difference versus modern-day machinery? According to the company, no machine can make the tiny adjustments needed for a superior string. Plus, all materials are US-sourced and US-manufactured.
DR Strings creates state-of-the-art, handmade strings for all players, including bass guitar, nylon, bronze, and nickel strings. Furthermore, their neon series allows players to choose from a plethora of colours to dress their instruments for the ultimate stage presence.
DR Strings sound great because they are humanly wound to perfection using the best materials available. Regardless of the style of bass you play, you won’t regret buying a pack of DR Strings.
Notable bass guitar strings: BKB-45 Black Beauties Coated Steel Medium Bass Strings
D'Addario strings require no introduction. They can be found around the world, being played on bass guitars of all musical genres. Furthermore, D’Addario’s extensive OEM contracts pretty much guarantee you have played their strings at least once in your life if you're a seasoned bassist.
D’Addario was founded in 1974 in Farmingdale, New York, but the family started making strings in Salle, Italy, in 1680. Today, it is still a family-owned business with offices on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, among other spots around the world.
Speaking of which, their XL series is the standard by which all other strings are judged. That being said, the company has been investing in sound innovation for decades, and the results are just awe-inspiring.
For example, the XT series with carbon steel cores and a treatment to avoid corrosion is as good and high-tech as strings get.
Notable bass guitar strings: NYXL45130 Regular Light 5-string Long Scale Nickel Wound Bass Strings – .045-.130
What originally started as California's first guitar-only shop would eventually become one of the great guitar string and accessory brands on the planet. Since the early 1960s, Ernie Ball has been building a reputation as a top brand in guitar strings.
Of course, Ernie Ball's bass guitar strings are also among the best of the best.
Available in over 120 countries around the world, Ernie Ball strings grace the fretboards of basses in venues across the globe.
Beyond the famed Slinkys series of strings, Ernie Ball has gone on to develop other lines that would accommodate bass players.
In that vein, they were among the first to experiment with cobalt, which enhances strings’ magnetic qualities for guitarists and bassists alike.
Buying your strings from Ernie Ball is stepping into the pantheon of great musicians. If you are looking for punchy strings with great attack, Ernie Ball is a sure bet.
Notable bass guitar strings: 2832 Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Electric Bass Strings – .050-.105
Thomastik-Infeld could be considered one of the best-kept secrets in the bass string world. The company certainly doesn't have the same mainstream publicity or marketing investment as the previous brand, but its commitment to excellence keeps it up there with the best.
Perhaps one of the main reasons behind this lack of popularity is that the brand has a long heritage coming from classic, unfretted instrument strings.
Indeed, they are one of the main brands in the world within that niche, and their orchestral strings can be heard in the most prestigious concert halls around the world.
Bass players can find a great variety of superb bass strings. The “Infeld” strings feature a new alloy reducing signal-to-noise ratio; this makes them perfect for high-gain situations, while flat wounds make for an excellent choice when playing jazz and other styles that require no friction.
If you haven’t ever tried a new set of Thomastik-Infeld strings on your bass, give them a chance; I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised the company isn't more well-known.
Notable bass guitar strings: Jazz Flat Wound Bass Strings – 4-String 32″ Short Scale .043-.106
With development and manufacturing coming out of Kent, England, the sound of the “British Invasion” lives in each string RotoSound puts out into the market.
Although for RotoSound, it all started with classical instruments, clientele such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Shadows quickly changed the panorama.
John Entwistle (bass player for The Who) approached them to create a set that would vibrate evenly. The company invited him over to the factory, and the iconic RS66 strings were born.
From that moment on, RotoSound supplied the most demanding bass players in the world, such as Jaco Pastorius, with the best-sounding bass strings in the market.
With input from many professional bassists, RotoSound continued to refine its strings to create perfection. This dedication certainly paid off, as RotoSound has, for many decades, been held to the highest standards for bass strings around the world.
Notable bass guitar strings: RS66LD Swing Bass 66 Stainless Steel Roundwound Long Scale Bass Strings
If you were to make a comparison with other brands, you could say that Dunlop is the opposite of D’Addario.
How so? Well, because D’Addario is a string company making accessories, and Dunlop is an accessories brand making strings.
Indeed, the brand is, perhaps, better known for creating the GCB-95 “Cry Baby” pedal, known as the quintessential Wah-Wah.
Although Dunlop is best known for pedals, capos, picks, and other accessories, the bass strings they manufacture can compete against any of the brands in this list.
To begin with, Dunlop manufactures nickel and stainless steel strings that are associated with rock bass players the size of Lemmy (Motorhead) and Robert Trujillo (Metallica).
On the other hand, Marcus Miller, bass player virtuoso, also benefits from Dunlop with his no-compromise, slapping style. If you are looking for strings that will make notes cut through, Dunlop is a great choice.
Bass strings may not be the first products that come to mind when mentioning Dunlop, though these strings are surely among the best of the best.
Notable bass guitar strings: DBN45105S Nickel Wound 4-string Short Scale Bass Strings – .045-.105
What is the link between Flea, Stuart Hamm, and Gene Simmons? Well, they are all superstar bassists who play GHS strings.
The company was founded in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1964 by three people: Gould, Holcomb, and Solko, thus, the name GHS. By 1975, it was bought by Robert McFee, who remains chairman of the board to this day.
The company’s Boomers are comparable to Slinkys (Ernie Ball) and XL (D’Addario) in terms of popularity and availability around the world.
Bass players can choose from a wide variety of materials, including bronze, steel, and even nylon-wrapped steel. It is common to find GHS strings in rocking stages around the world because of their attack and sustain.
GHS is regarded, together with D’Addario and Ernie Ball, as one of the most important string manufacturers in the world. Their reputation is well-deserved; pick one setup and find out why they are the top choice for so many professional bassists.
Notable bass guitar strings: M3045 Bass Boomers Roundwound Long Scale Medium 4-string Electric Bass Strings
In case you are not familiar with them, Fodera is a bass manufacturer founded in 1983 by Vinny Fodera and Joey Lauricella. Today, they are regarded as the Lamborghini of basses and supply only the highest quality instruments in the market.
Fodera’s philosophy has always been the search for excellence. In that quest, they found that whatever strings they shipped their basses out into the world with didn’t do the instrument any justice.
Hence, they decided to create a string set that would match the quality and sound of their instruments.
The result is just as staggering in quality and performance as the basses themselves. These quality fanatics took bass strings to the next level like they did instruments, so perhaps it is time to give Fodera strings a chance.
Notable bass guitar strings: 45125 Nickel Roundwound 5-string Bass Strings – .045-.125 Medium
Although not so well-known as D’Addario, La Bella also dates back to the 17th century and comes from Salle in Italy.
By 1914, the brothers Emilio and Olinto Mari opened the first La Bella string factory on 5th Avenue in NYC. Since 1981, the company has manufactured all strings sold around the world in their Newburgh facility in New York City.
Regarded by some as one of the finest classical guitar strings manufacturers, La Bella also produces beautiful-sounding bass strings.
The wide variety, coupled with the obsessive attention to detail and explosive sound, made these strings bestsellers in a plethora of different styles. From nickel to nylon, you can find all types of bass-oriented La Bella strings, each of which sounds genuinely amazing in its own way.
Notable bass guitar strings: 760FS Deep Talkin' Bass Flatwound Bass Strings – Standard
Fender is a brand that needs no introduction. The company has made several of my “top brands” lists (see below) and is best known for creating some of the most iconic instruments and amplifiers in the history of music. Fender's Stratocaster is the best-selling guitar of all time.
The same passion applied to the instruments goes into their string department.
Although not their primary selling point, strings like the “Bullets” are well-known and used around the world because they are the best match for Fender instruments.
Bass players find a wide assortment of strings going from bronze to flat-wound steel. Plus, those lucky owners of a Fender bass can benefit from the “bullet” end of the strings, improving stability and extending their lifespan.
A company the size of Fender doesn’t simply disembark in a business niche; it always goes the extra mile to conquer it. Having new Fender strings on your bass is a sure sign you mean business.
Notable bass guitar strings: 7250M Nickel Plated Steel Long Scale Bass Strings .045-.105 Medium
It is safe to say that Elixir created a new business niche and set the course for guitar string innovation when they came up with their coated strings. Their patented fluoropolymer coating extends their lifespan by protecting them from debris, sweat, and any other element threatening their integrity, including corrosion.
But let's rewind to 1997; the company that was to become Elixir Strings was testing cables and coating them with polytetrafluoroethylene. Soon after, they started playing with the coating material to make guitar strings that sounded great and were also corrosion-free.
After being tested by 15,000+ guitar and bass players, Elixir Strings was officially born. Since the first prototype, the company has experimented with a nano polymer, evolving the coating into a microscopic layer that doesn’t affect tone.
Available in bronze, nickel, nickel-plated steel, stainless steel, bronze, and phosphor bronze, nanoweb and polyweb coated strings from Elixir accommodate bass, acoustic and electric players alike. The brand’s bass strings sound so good and last for so long that they have amassed countless fans around the world.
Elixir has made a name for itself by offering a crisp, everlasting tone. If this sounds good to you, be sure to try out a pair of Elixirs on your bass.
Notable bass guitar strings: 14002 Nanoweb Super Light Long Scale Electric Bass Strings