The Best Bass Strings for Playing Multiple Genres

Written by Jack Sutherland on 07/06/2021

If by some chance you stumbled upon this blog and have no clue who or what Exit 85 is... We're a rock band. And by "rock" I mean drum stick spinning, 2000-watt bass stack, and lots of guitar distortion and overdrive. That's us. However, we can't expect everyone to be as fanatic about Metallica or Rage Against the Machine as we are. So it's important to change up genres from time to time.

Maybe a little Wild Cherry to get people on the dance floor? Some Rapper's Delight, or a Rock/Hip-Hop crossover like Bring the Noise or Walk This Way? Whatever it is, sometimes you've got to mix it up. And when you do, it's hard to pull off funk, R&B or Jazz when you're only geared up to play rock. So when possible I try to find equipment or accessories that are versatile across multiple genres.

Anthrax public enemy
Anthrax the kings of thrash metal, and Hip-Hop titans Public Enemy, crossed genres in 1987, coming together to re-record "Bring The Noise", the greatest rap-metal song of all time.

So which bass string is the most versatile?

When it comes to bass strings there are so many great options. If you asked 5 different bass players which strings they preferred, you'd likely get 5 different answers. So before I get to my personal favorite, here's a few that you definitely wouldn't regret going with instead.

D’Addario NYXL

D’Addario is a name you just can't go wrong with. Their NYXL for 4-string or 5-string basses found at this link, come light, medium or heavy and have a very versatile tone, at a competitive price. They were also listed as Guitar World's best bass strings of 2021.

Ernie Ball Slinky

Ernie Ball Slinky Nickel Wound Strings are also a popular option across many genres. They have a notorious brighter sound, that is great for funk slap bassists. And while they may not drive as deep as some rock bassists would prefer, they can definitely get the job done.

Rotosound Jazz Bass 77

A more uncommon pick from a legendary brand are the Rotosound Jazz Bass 77 Strings. Don't let the name fool you, these strings can handle a lot more than Jazz. Brighter than the typical warm sound of most flatwounds.

DR Black Beauties

I have to mention DR Black Beauties because they just look so damn cool! With so many great options it's hard to put them at the top based solely on their sound, however they sound surprisingly good for coated strings, especially when new. In my experience they do not last as long as uncoated strings. All of DR's coated strings tend to sound dead sooner than I'd prefer. However, I wouldn't hesitate to play with a new pair at any show, and do occasionally just to add a little extra pizazz.

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The Best Bass Guitar of All Time

Written by Jack Sutherland on 07/03/2021

It's crazy to think that just about 70 years ago, electric guitars were rocking stages throughout the world without a single electric bass to accompany them. However, it didn't take long for Leo Fender, the founder of the Fender Corporation, to recognize this void, and fill with the most iconic guitars in electric bass history. In October of 1951 Leo created the Fender Precision Bass, or P-Bass, the first ever mass-produced electric bass. 9 years later he followed it with the Fender Jazz Bass, a similar bass with subtle differences in the body, neck, and pickups. Fast-forward 70 years to today, and they're still the biggest names and best sellers in electric bass guitars. Many would even argue that they're the best basses ever made.

The famous musicians that play these basses, like Flea, Jaco Pastorius, Sting, Geddy Lee, and countless others (see my full list below), are a testimony to their greatness. No matter what style of music you listen to, you've heard someone play one. In recording studios many believe that capturing a Fender bass sound is an absolute must. And it's not just the sound that musicians love, the weight, balance and body shape make it one of the most comfortable basses to play, while the quality, value, and name recognition, make it extremely versatile for all genres and skill levels.

Jazz bass 90s 2
Jack playing his Fender Jazz with Dismoire Cove in 1999.

When I began playing bass in the 90's, I was lucky enough to have a mentor that knew a lot about music and guitars, and bought me a Fender Jazz to learn on. Over the years my guitar and bass playing friends would upgrade their instruments, always in search of something better, but I could never find a new bass that I liked playing as well as my Jazz bass. And I've played quite a few basses, in multiple bands and in very demanding settings. I've owned and gigged with an Ernie Ball Music Man, Ibanez SR, Peavey, and I eventually developed a real affinity for Warwicks. However, I always eventually came back to my Fender Jazz. 20 years of performing live has convinced me that it's the best bass guitar money can buy.

Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson 5 playing a flat wound Fender Jazz Bass in the 1970's

But why should you buy one?

I wrote this article to help anyone who's shopping for a bass guitar make an informed decision. Picking the right instrument will likely be the difference in whether or not you stick with this hobby that I am so fond of. For the sake of transparency, if you purchase through the links I've provided below, a small profit will go to help me and my band, continue to make the music we love. Musicians supporting musicians. But that is not why I chose Fender. I could have created these links with nearly any bass for sale online. But I chose the Fender Jazz and P-Basses because I love them and feel 100% confident to recommend them to any bass player, regardless of skill level, the setting that you play in, or your musical style. And it's not just me, the greatest bassists on the planet play them. They're ergonomic, durable, not too heavy, reasonably priced, and have great name recognition. Bass players everywhere know and respect these basses.

It could quite literally be the first and only bass you'll ever need!

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Play Like Exit 85!

Written by Jack Sutherland on 06/28/2021

Want to learn the secret sauce behind Exit 85's rockin' sound?

It requires a lot of trial and error to get the right sound on a consistent basis. Below is a list of equipment and accessories the band has used over the years. We've personally vetted and recommend all of these, as they've lots of travel, multiple cities and venues, and even rain, drink spills and the occasional tipsy fan.

From loud speakers that have been stuck in the rain, to pedal boards, amps and guitar strings that get pounded on nightly... We're compiling a list of all of our favorite gear in this article. We'll update it as deals change or as we discover better options, so make sure to check back. And as always, feel free to contact us if you need any specific advice.

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