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Strings for Double BassBass String Buyer's Guides

Strings: Bumped String Sets for Rockabilly

         Manufactured by: Gollihur Buyer's Guide

Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
All shoppers outside the US State of New Jersey pay NO SALES TAX on any purchases at Gollihur Music. (NJ Residents pay NJ State Sales Tax of 7%.) International customers, please visit our "How to Order" Policies page for information concerning VAT and Customs Charges that may be assessed by your country and/or delivery services.
You've got options! Click the drop-down to choose (prices starting at $124.00)
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Bumped Sets String Choices
A Special "Buyer's Guide" from Mark


What the heck is a "Bumped" set?

A bumped set, simply, is a custom set of strings with SUPER-light tension.

It is traditionally created by substituting a string designed for a higher pitch for each string on your bass; commonly, this means using an A-string for the E, a D-string for the A, a G-string for the D, and a High C-string for the G. Thus, you're "bumping" each string down one position on your bass, but - and this is the key - you're still tuning it E-A-D-G.

Wow - that sounds like the strings would be really light, doesn't it? Why would anyone do this?

When it comes to rockabilly bass playing, sometimes ease of play is paramount. Many players find that standard string sets are just way too stiff to play 3+ hours of non-stop slap bass on. Thus, a bumped set can be a happy medium between the extremes of higher-tension "real" upright bass strings, and the tonal compromise of putting weed-whacker line on your bass (no, seriously).

Previously, "bumping" a set might require that you purchase a whole set (plus a high C) -- and you end up paying for an unused E string that gets thrown in a drawer somewhere in the bass den. So we've put together some popular bumped sets to help you out.

You can read the short descriptions here, and purchase the set of your choice directly from this page. You can also learn more about the character of the strings featured in a specific set you're interested in by clicking its link in the "related items" section, below. (Though note that "bumped" sets are ONLY available on this page to prevent confusion on the "regular" strings pages.)

The Choices:

  • RotoSound Superb RS4000: These strings have been made for decades; they have a nylon core, which is flatwound with nylon on the G and D strings, and with monel (a nickel alloy) on the A and E strings. The strings have a comfortable soft feel, with a lighter tension than most steel strings, and good tone and volume. These strings have a larger diameter than most steel strings which gives them a more natural feel as a bumped set.

  • Thomastik Superflexible: Recently, some rockabilly-slapstyle players have found that they like the Superflexibles - which were not purposely-designed for Rockabilly. For many, they're just a little bit harder to slap than non-metal strings, but for steel strings they're pretty easy on the fingers. They have a bit more "click" - but also more actual note - than plain gut or nylon, especially on the E and A; they will probably sound a little "twangy" until they break in (especially if you're used to gut or similar). But they're reported to have a long life, and they work quite well for "regular" pizz sound as well. And of course, these strings will work with a magnetic pickup like the Schaller (while gut or nylon won't).

  • Pirastro Obligato: These strings have a solid synthetic core with a very thin metal wrap. They were designed to emulate gut strings, so their attack is "old school" with a more blunt and thicker, warmer hit, with a little less sustain than more modern jazz strings. Their very smooth surface is kind to the fingers and delivers a nice oldschool thump.

  • Thomastik Spirocore: Spiros are a longtime favorite for jazz and other genres, and they have been a popular string (regardless of style) for many years. They have great sustain and a great big sound; good for many styles. If they were good enough for Milt Hinton towards the end of his career, they're good enough for me

Are we missing a set of strings that makes a particularly good "bumped" set? Please let us know, and we'll add it to our string options!


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Related Products

Shadow SH RB-PRO Rockabilly Pro Pickup/Preamp System
Shadow SH RB-PRO Rockabilly Pro Pickup/Preamp System

This new complete pickup/preamp package for Rockabilly features a dual-pickup system along with a very well-designed blending preamp. The system is designed specifically to get the sound that incorporates the distinct "click" that is so desirable for rockabilly slap playing; but it can also be used for gigs where a more conventional sound is needed. The preamp even incorporates a built-in tuner, among other very useful features. Easy to install, and the preamp even mounts directly to the tailpiece!

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Rockabilly Bass - Slap Technique by Johnny Hatton
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This item is made in USA!Finally, a comprehensive method for the slap bassist. Learn to play from famed Brian Setzer orchestra's Johnny Hatton!

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D'Orazio Rockabilly Ropecore Chrome-Steel Strings (Light Tension)
D'Orazio Rockabilly Ropecore Chrome-Steel Strings (Light Tension)

Finally, your metal-wrapped rockabilly strings are here. Get that aggressive metallic CLACK with a string that won't leave your fingertips in tatters. Like the Psychobilly set, these work great with a magnetic pickup. But they have a touch more tension for those players who also need to play a little "straight pizz" as well, and need a reasonable pizz tone for those situations.
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

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Pirastro Obligato Upright Bass Strings
Pirastro Obligato Upright Bass Strings

Pirastro's Obligato strings have a solid synthetic core with a very thin metal wrap. They do a pretty good job emulating gut strings, and have a real organic vibe to them; they also have a fairly pronounced "roll" to their pizz feel, meaning that they rotate a little under the plucking fingers. You get used to this, though, and they do have quite a satisfying thump to their tone. They also bow quite well.
    Extended Strings Available: Low B String Available for this string High C String Available for this string Low E String for extensions (to low C) Available for this string SOLO Gauge Strings Available for this string5ths Tuning String Set Available for this string
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

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RotoSound Superb RS4000 Double Bass Strings
RotoSound Superb RS4000 Double Bass Strings

Rotosound has been making this set for decades; a nylon core is wrapped with nylon on the G and D, and monel (a nickel alloy) on the E and A. Tonally, they're good for many styles of music, including jazz, bluegrass, and contemporary styles. They have a flexibility and durability that makes them useful for slapping styles like rockabilly; and their timbre suits that sort of genre well, too. They bow, but I wouldn't call their arco capability a selling point.
    Extended Strings Available: High C String Available for this string
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

From $129.00

Thomastik Spirocore Upright Bass Strings
Thomastik Spirocore Upright Bass Strings

The ubiquitous Spirocores; among the first high-quality steel strings made, they're an old favorite for jazz and other pizz styles, and have the (deserved) reputation for exceedingly long life. Big, booming pizz tone, and full-bodied arco (though there are easier strings to bow), set these as a benchmark -- ask most anyone to describe a bass string, they'll probably compare them to Spiros. They're available in almost any variation, from weich (light) gauge, 1/2 size, 5ths tuning, Solo, and more.
    Extended Strings Available: Low B String Available for this stringHigh C String Available for this stringLow E String for extensions (to low C) Available for this stringSOLO Gauge Strings Available for this stringWeich (light) Strings Available for this string5ths Tuning String Set Available for this string
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

From $219.99

Thomastik SuperFlexible Upright Bass Strings
Thomastik SuperFlexible Upright Bass Strings

Superflexible strings feature a multi-strand steel core with chrome-steel winding, which makes the feel of the strings, well... super-flexible. They have a hybrid sort of appeal, in that they are equally good for bowing and for pizz, and have a "middling" sort of tone and sustain that can be used in a variety of different genres without drawing unwanted attention to themselves for sounding out of place.
    Extended Strings Available: Low B String Available for this string High C String Available for this string Low E String for extensions (to low C) Available for this string SOLO Gauge Strings Available for this string
Sets AND Single Strings are available (click through to order)

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Strings: Choices for Rockabilly and Psychobilly Slap Bass Players
Strings: Choices for Rockabilly and Psychobilly Slap Bass Players

Looking to set up your bass for Rockabilly? It all starts with the strings, and here are a few you might consider...

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