Gorilla Tips & GHS Pressurewound Strings
So, I cut down on my practice time a bit over the weekend. I’ve been aiming for at least an hour a day for a while, but because I wore out my fingertips on my fretting hand, I scaled back to about 30 mins. I’m trying to avoid getting a blister or some other annoying wound. This will definitely slow down my completion of the Hal Leonard book. Last week, I realized that if I can finish a page a week, I’ll actually finish Book 1 by the end of May.
I remembered seeing something that I thought was silly around the end of December, on Talkbass. Someone had gotten these little, color-coded, rubbery fingertip casings for Christmas. However, after having to force myself to scale back practice, I can see their benefit. I ended up hunting online and found a set. They’re not multi-colored, but I wasn’t looking for that. They’re called Gorilla Tips Fingertip Protectors.
I ordered a set over the weekend. From the reviews, I see that they have one drawback – they grip the strings more than skin does, so sliding ability is diminished. However, as far as protection goes, they seem like they do the job. What I found interesting was that a lot of people with injuries like amputated digits and the like use these and really like them. I actually suggested them to Christopher Hopper, who writes the My Life in Music blog (its one of my favorite blogs – he’s a fantastic guitarist and bassist, classically-trained, and writes about all kinds of interesting life experiences). He recently injured his finger, partly due to the weather and lack of humidity where he is, and has used all manner of different remedies in the past, including ointments and even glue to help remedy the situation. None has worked over the long term.
My plan is to either use the protectors for one practice session per day, as I try to have both an AM and PM session, or to use it only on the finger that’s giving me problems, which right now is my index finger. This way, I still build calluses and generally condition my fingers to press down on the thinner strings on the bass, which I generally didn’t use much until the Hal Leonard book put it on my radar. Then, my tedious practice habits caused me to wear out my fingertips on those unnaturally thin guitar-like strings. I really prefer the bigger low strings. It does give me sympathy for guitarists though, if they have to endure this for their music.
The other thing I did was look into strings. This was largely because of another Talkbass post in which someone asked about GHS Pressurewound strings, which apparently are like roundwound strings that get compressed, which smoothes and flattens them. They’re somewhere in the middle of roundwound and flatwound strings in terms of tone quality. They have more of a bite than flats, but are smooth and a little more mellow than rounds. They’re supposed to be easier on the fingers and on fretboards.
I mostly saw 4-string sets, but searching led me to a 5-string set, and then more digging led to the discovery that we can buy single strings, including a really thin one suitable for a high-C on a 6-string bass. So, I looked around and found them on GHS’ website, Bass Strings Online and JustStrings. Ultimately, I ordered a 5-string set and a thin one from Bass Strings Online, because they had the best price and free shipping on orders over $25. Here’s a video that demos the strings: