Cheap(er) string trial – update

I played my Olympia flat clad PJ this morning, and despite having to retune the E and A strings, it was fine. I didn’t manage to beat the new high score for Cigarettes and Alcohol by Oasis on Score Attack Hard, but I got close. Perhaps tomorrow.

The strings feel as good as the Rotosound equivalents. I guess that longevity and sound quality will be the next test, but it’s very good so far. I could quite easily restring my Thunderbird with these (but do I wait until I can afford a Babicz replacement bridge first…?)

Pressurewound disappointment

I’ve always wanted to try some Pressurewound or Groundwound strings. On Talkbass, the general consensus was that Pressurewound were better, so I ordered a set of Rotosound SM55 strings. When I looked at them, I did wonder if I’d ordered Roundwounds by mistake as they don’t look any different, and in fact I did have to check that I’d not put on the set of strings I’d just taken off my Squier CV 77 Precision by mistake. They feel just like roundwounds. I think I’ve learned by my mistake and will stick to flats from now on.

Cheap(er) string trial – Day 1

So far so good. I strung my Squier PJ up with the Olympia flats and overnight none broke or went out of tune. They feel very similar to the Rotosound flats on the Nevada bass and at the moment I’m pleased with them. It will be interesting to see how the tone compares to the Nevada (I know they’ve got completely different pickup combinations but you know what I mean) over the coming months.

Cheap(er) string trial

I’ve been converted to flatwound strings now and have strung two basses with Rotosound SM77 strings. I love the sound and feel of them, but they are quite pricey (£29.43 from Amazon). Therefore I’ve decided to trial a set of Olympia FLS 4B-45100 strings. They’re a snip at £14.99 and my first non-Rotosound/Fender choice for strings. I will report back on my findings.


I’ve always wanted to try some Pressure Wound strings, so another trip to Amazon could be on the cards later today…

The Silk Purse Lives!

After adding a new bridge, new tuners, new knobs, a good blast of electrical cleaner on the pots, and some flats, this is my new daily player now:


I had bought a new black pickguard for it, but it didn’t fit. I thought it looks fine without a pickguard, so it’s going to stay naked. It plays well enough and I’m happy to leave it out. For about £30 plus second hand flats (and a bottle of Laphroaig for my stepson) I’m quite chuffed with it.

Misjudging your audience

Those of you who keep up to date with my blog know that I write custom DLC (downloadable content) for Rocksmith, which is arguably what computers and the Internet were designed for.

One Sunday afternoon, I was at a loose end and thought to myself it would be a wizard wheeze to write a custom track for “Waterfront” by Simple Minds – you know, the one which just goes “dum-de-dum-dum-de-dum-de-dum” all the way though, the same note played for about twelvety five minutes.

Well, it seems that I completely misjudged my audience. From the stats below showing the Simple Minds content I’ve created, it’s apparent that Waterfront is extremely popular:


That’s nearly 300 downloads for something which took seconds to produce. Quite why Love Song isn’t ahead of The American is open to question.

I’m still astounded that there are so few downloads of what I’d call classic bass lines:




My current Top Ten is:


David Bowie’s untimely death clearly helped him gain the top spot and last podium place, but everyone has gone mad for “ABC” by The Jacksons. I’m going to add DD (dynamic difficulty) to all my customs in the coming weeks/months and it will be interesting to see how that affects the order. Simply adding vocals to “Life On Mars” ramped up the download count dramatically.

New Project – Turning a Sow’s Ear into a Silk Purse….

This is my step son Dan’s old bass. When he moved out, he left it behind and said he didn’t want it any more. I’ve always wanted a Music Man but can’t be bothered to save up for a real one, so I thought I’d take this ancient relic and do it up.

It needs:

  • A new bridge
  • New tuners
  • New volume/tone knobs
  • New nuts to hold the volume/tone controls on
  • New strings

I’ve sourced replacements from e-Bay and will shortly start rebuilding it. It’s a Nevada clone, so probably not worth much more than the cost of the replacement parts, but it’s a challenge and if I can make a daily player out of it, it will be money and effort well spent.


Check your intonation – it’s simple and makes a huge difference

I recently bought an amber Squier Precision Bass off e-Bay. Whilst I was very pleased with it having purchased it unseen, I did think that the bridge saddle arrangement looked odd. The other day I got hold of a Boss TU-3 tuner to replace the Boss clip on tuner I’ve used for a few years. The clip on tuner was ok, but not really that simple to use, and not a great amount of use for my headless bass!

Anyway, I thought I’d check the intonation on the Squier. The G string saddle was almost hanging off the bridge, so I hoped that something was wrong. It was. When I checked the tuning at the 12th fret, the fretted note was way too sharp. After screwing the saddle back towards the bridge about 10mm, the note was correct. The other strings were way out too – all too sharp by quite a margin. After fixing them, my Rocksmith scores improved dramatically as with a properly tuned bass, the game believed that I was playing the right notes again.

Don’t be put off thinking that checking a guitar’s intonation is a job for an expert. With a tuner, a screwdriver and a few spare minutes, you’ll have the guitar in perfect tune in no time.