Innovation by GHS

Ultra Blacks - 140UB (UltraBlack) Med/High Tension Strings

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  • Ultra Blacks - 140UB (UltraBlack) Med/High Tension Strings
  • Ultra Blacks - 140UB (UltraBlack) Med/High Tension Strings,  ball end
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Innovation Double Bass Strings have a unique, non-metallic core which provide a gut-like tone without the cost or maintenance of gut upright bass strings. They hold their pitch well in climate and temperature changes, and most of their strings are equally suited for pizzicato (plucking) and arco (bowing).

Many of Innovation's strings are similar in design, but they assign different names to the different tensions/gauges. For instance, if you like the description of these strings but prefer a lighter feel, the "Rockabilly" set is essentially the "Ultra Black Light." You don't have to play Rockabilly to enjoy them, either!

Innovation UB (Ultra-Black) Double Bass Strings are named for their distinctive "Ultra Black" colored outer winding, and work well for a player seeking a fuller, darker-sounding string for traditional jazz and other styles. They are constructed using a flexible braided core with a black tape winding. Unlike most other "black" strings, they can be bowed successfully. UltraBlack strings have a darker tone, like most gut strings, but have the advantage of being a bit more distinct than gut. They offer a less "twangy" alternative to other popular jazz strings. The flexibility of the core (a nylon wound in a "rope" pattern) allows you to really "dig in" without having the string excessively modulate out of tune. Yet the outer wrapping has a hard enough surface to get a nice "growl" or "mwah" from fingerboard interaction. Despite it being marketed as a "Jazz" string for pizz players, the surface of the string reportedly is also equally bow-friendly.

Includes our exclusive Gollihur Music tipsheet to get the most out of your purchaseThe UltraBlacks fill the void between the traditional gut string sound and more modern steel strings; they have a solid fundamental and middling sustain. Players thereby find them appropriate for nearly all pizzicato work, whether it be jazz, bluegrass, folk, or traditional music.

Note: All of the Innovation strings do not contain any ferrous materials; they are not suitable for use with a magnetic pickup, like the Schaller we carry. They will work with all typical piezo-based pickups (like the Realist, Full Circle, and all the K&K pickups and systems).

Innovation designs these 3/4 size bass strings to fit on a standard 3/4 size bass. They may very well fit your bass if it is larger than 3/4. For your reference, the lengths of the string, as measured against the bass tailpiece to the nut is 51.5 inches, plus an additional 17 inches to handle stringing in the headstock.

For a comparison chart of the differences between the different Innovation String models, check out the comparison tab.

String Lengths

  • Ball end to nut (Afterlength + Playing Length): 51.5 inches/136cm
  • Afterlength (Ball end to bridge): 5.5 inches/14cm
  • Wound top of string (pegbox): 17 inches/43cm

String Gauges:

.078 .088 .102 .124

Important note about the gauges listed above: the measurements were done here at the shop with a (cheap) digital caliper, so they may not be spot on – they’re not intended to be critically accurate, as they are here for basic guidance to give you a rough idea of what to expect. Additionally, variances in raw material supplies (at the manufacturer) can result in strings that may be slightly different from batch to batch. GHS makes the strings to meet a certain tension spec and mass, but (for instance) if there are variances in the gauge of the nylon wire or nylon tape used for the outer winding, it can make for a difference in the strings' overall diameter. All that to say, don't get too caught up in the numbers! Where the rubber hits the road is how the strings feel under the fingers.


Innovation Comparison

Differences and comparisons between the Innovation Strings we carry are as follows:

Set Tension Outer Winding Tonal Character
Ultra Black Set Medium/High Black Nylon Tape Clearly-defined attack with more sustain.
Honey (Solid Core) Set Medium/High Chrome Tape Most "gut-like" of their offerings, tonally.
Braided (Stranded Core) Set Medium/High Chrome Tape Dark for pizz, short sustain. Rich tone under the bow.
Polychrome Set Medium Chromesteel Tape Good hybrid string, a modern take on gut-like sound.
Super Silver Set Medium Clear Nylon Wire Pretty close to Traditional gut-like sound and feel.
Rock-a-Billy Set Medium/Low Black Nylon Tape Mix of articulation and gut-like sustain good slap/click
Rock-a-Billy Reds Set Medium/Low Red Nylon Tape Mix of articulation and gut-like sustain, good slap/click
Golden Slap Set Low Clear Nylon Wire
(inner winding has gold color)
Similar to the Super Silver, with less tension. Very slappable, but great for pizz, too.
Silver Slap Set Low Clear Nylon Wire
(inner winding has silver color)
Similar to the Super Silver, with less tension. Very slappable, but great for pizz, too.
Psycho-Billy Set Low with
thicker gauge
Clear Nylon Wire Similar to the Silver Slaps, but thicker diameter for slap (similar tension).
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