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String Change for a Mike Kelly Dragonfly V

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  • String Change for a Mike Kelly Dragonfly V

    I have a Mike Kelly Dragonfly V. I have noticed the bronze acoustinc strings they put on at the factory are doing damage to the fretboard. I really need to move to a flat wound to save the fretborad, but I'm unsure of whether the Fishman Sonicore under saddle pickup will work well with flat would electric strings and what it will do to the sound. If it doesn't sound acoustic, that is okay, I have a fretted Takamine I can use for the acoustic stuff. If it ends up sounding like an electric 5 string, that would be okay, because I need the low B on a couple of things.
    Then, I wonder if the fretboard can be repaired, especially with all the inlay in the fretboard.

  • #2
    I'd expect the under saddle pickups to work just fine with flat wound strings, as they are vibrational pickups as opposed to electromagnetic pickups. I'd also expect the sound to change.
    "The Web puts all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips; unfortunately it's mixed with all of the world's bull****************."
    -- Bob Parks

    "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."
    -- Oscar Wilde

    "No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."
    -- Oscar Wilde

    "It is a trap of history to believe that eyewitnesses remember accurately what they have lived through."
    -- Theodore White

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    • #3
      I expect the sound to change, that is part of my anxiety - what will it sound like? I hope for a big fat fretless sound, but because they are not electomagnetic, I worry about signal strength going to the pre-amp. But, I am going to look for some light to medium flats and see what happens. As I said, If I loose the acoustic sound from the bronze (which is what I expect), I can replace it with my other acoustic electric.

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      • #4
        I don't know of any way to know what it will sound like without actually doing it. Another idea would be nylon wrapped strings. That'll give you a different sound. More like an upright.
        "The Web puts all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips; unfortunately it's mixed with all of the world's bull****************."
        -- Bob Parks

        "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."
        -- Oscar Wilde

        "No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."
        -- Oscar Wilde

        "It is a trap of history to believe that eyewitnesses remember accurately what they have lived through."
        -- Theodore White

        Comment


        • #5
          I've used the Nylon wrapped before. They are duller than flat wounds and they don't last very long before the frets eat through the tape and
          the black stuff starts peeling off. It gets rid of zipper noise but that's about it.

          I'd first try half rounds or roller wound strings. They are half way between flats and round wounds. They are brighter like round wounds and
          have the outsides flattened by either pressure or grinding them flat. They are pretty good on not wearing the frets down.

          Nickel strings are better than stainless steel for wear. Stainless Steel chews frets up in no time.
          Flats are cool too but you loose midrange and overtones, and have more fundamental tones, which is still fine because
          most bass notes are under the under instruments in a mix. It can sound plunkey when you play upper notes or crank the mids.
          If its an acoustic this may give you the kind of upright bass tones you hear in Jazz music.

          Strings are cheap though. Just try a new set out every couple of months toll you find the ones you like. Just stick with the same gauge
          strings so you don't have issues with the neck relief.
          Oh and there are some electric strings that have much finer winds that reduce fret wear allot, DR is one. I think Labella is another.
          Most electrics have much smaller winds then acoustic bronze strings. Steel and Nickel are strings then brass so they can go smaller and still be strong.

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          • #6
            I bought a set of nylon wounds back in 2003 or 2004. Recorded with them on my first album in 2004, used them on my first set bass for several years, and had them on one bass or another until last year. I didn't ever play them long and hard, nor were they ever on my primary bass, but they didn't ever wear through or peel off. I still have them, and wouldn't hesitate to put them on again if I have a need or desire for that sound. No idea why yours fell apart.
            "The Web puts all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips; unfortunately it's mixed with all of the world's bull****************."
            -- Bob Parks

            "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."
            -- Oscar Wilde

            "No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."
            -- Oscar Wilde

            "It is a trap of history to believe that eyewitnesses remember accurately what they have lived through."
            -- Theodore White

            Comment


            • #7
              This is a fretless, so the fret wear is not the problem, the rounds are digging furrows in the fretboard, so I need to go to a flat. I used tape wound sometime in the 70s (I thing), and didn't much care for them. If I get an upright sound, that would be fine. Then I wouldn't have to lug my upright around philthumb

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              • #8
                Originally posted by isaac42 View Post
                I didn't ever play them long and hard, nor were they ever on my primary bass, but they didn't ever wear through or peel off. I still have them, and wouldn't hesitate to put them on again if I have a need or desire for that sound. No idea why yours fell apart.
                I do play bass hard and even bend the strings like a guitar to get that fretless bass thing happening so
                my strings don't last very long time wise no matter what I'm using. I get maybe a month out of bass strings
                or two long gigs before I change them. I may go longer recording depending on how much use
                I put on the strings.

                Most of the abuse comes into play recording. I may track a single bass part a half dozen times per song.
                some songs more some less. Then you multiply that by 20 songs in a session you're talking about playing
                120 songs in a single weekend. That can be equal to 3~4 shows of live playing.

                Multiply that by a minimum of 4 sessions per months and you're talking maybe 600 songs of material in 32 hours?
                That's allot of abuse for a single set of strings plus I do dig in hard on many of those songs. If it was light Jazz .
                Live you may play 40 songs in a night? It really doesn't compare. Frets wear, strings notch and go dead, they loose elasticity
                or develop weird overtones. (Strings may notch at fret center when depressed, but when you lift the string that
                notch is no longer directly over the fret and since your string harmonics do occur over the frets the natural harmonics
                are affected by the string wear) I even cycle the order of songs so I'm playing in different keys so wear more evenly.

                Strings seeing that kind of abuse will get tend to lose the ability to bend at the frets you play the most.
                The string then goes less sharp when you press them down with normal pressure on the fretboard and sound flat.
                Other areas of the strings don't get used much will sound sharp in comparison. Then if you retune to make the flat notes sound normal,
                yje open strings and unworn areas sound really sharp.

                That kind of crap drives me nuts because all the other music needs to be in tune with the bass. All you can do is tweak the tuning
                so all the notes are relatively in/out of tune. You could fix it some of it by re-tweaking the intonation but I learned long ago,
                you don't want to adjust intonation to worn strings because you'll only wind up having to tweak it back again when you do change strings.

                I'm brutal on frets as well. I just refretted my Short Scale Gretch bass a few weeks ago.
                The originals lasted maybe 5 years and needed replacement after 2 years Its now playing better than ever.

                In a fretless bass like the OP has, you can either re-sand the fret board or fill it when the wear gets bad.
                Its going to wear with any strings, its just the round wound will do it faster and be more noticed getting a solid note.
                At least with flat wounds, you'll have smooth trenches develop instead of small indents in a row.
                Last edited by WRGKMC; 04-16-2014, 12:22 PM.

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                • #9
                  Sanding the fretboard may help. Since there is a lot of inlay, I might have to take it to a professional if I need to do something about it. It isn't that big a deal. This bass only gets played once or twice a week and then only for a short time.

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