S.I.T. 12-String Bass Strings
S.I.T. makes string sets for 12-string basses in both their Power Steel and Power Wound series in the long 34" scale. They are made in the USA in Akron, Ohio.
Fundamentals: G .040, D .060, A .075, E .095
Octaves: G .018pb, D .025, A .035, E .045
At one time a set with .020 gauges for the octave G strings was offered. It is no longer available.
Older string packaging. A variety of different labels were used, some which listed only the set number while others included all the string gauges.
S.I.T. 12-String Bass String Reviews
Power Steel "Juan’s Blistering Harmonics & Plenty of Punch Set”
by Juan R Leõn
A few weeks ago I tweeted a short comment about my love for the S.I.T. Power Wound Nickel 12 string Bass Set. I commented on their wonderful tone and great feel. I also commented that I would love to see a lighter gauge, stainless steel set. Well, a day later I was contacted by Tim Pfouts of S.I.T. about helping me out with a custom set. I told him what I wanted and he said he would get back to me. A couple of days ago I received my custom set in a nice white package with the words “Juan’s Blistering Harmonics and Plenty of Punch Set” right across the front. I had commented to Tim in an e-mail that I wanted a set that would deliver those exact things. And they do.
The custom gauges that I was looking for were somewhat lighter than the 2 sets that S.I.T. currently offer (or any other string manufacturer for that matter). Here is the rundown:
Fundamentals: 30 (G) - 50 (D) - 70 (A) - 90 (E)
Octaves: 18 (G) - 25 (D) - 30 (A) - 40 (E)
Long scale, stainless steel round-wounds. The octaves have the bass string size ball ends. These are S.I.T. Power Steel strings which are made from USA #430 stainless steel wrap over USA hex-core. All Power Steel strings are wrapped using S.I.T.'s exclusive S.I.T. Level Wrap process which keeps proper tension and angle under extreme power winding. This ensures consistent feel and tone with brilliant brightness, clarity and plenty of punch. Like all of S.I.T. strings these were expertly crafted in Akron, Ohio. My custom set cost me $40.00. This is not an off the shelf product and that price point is certainly modest.
The Power Steels have a wonderful and crystal clear harmonic sweetness with plenty of growl and mid range that is at once cutting but never harsh. The sustain is impeccable with slow die-off. The strings are easy on the fingers (and neck) while not feeling too “jangly”. I tend to find 12vers strung with heavier gauges too feel stiff and un-responsive to subtle finger articulation. With this set I can execute fast runs with ease and more precision while vibrato and legato laced runs feel comfortable. I don’t use a pick when I play so a gauge of this determination feels like heaven. The strings stay perfectly in tune, of course, and respond well to my aggressive and varied playing styles such as finger picking riffs, raking, slapping and tapping.
With my neck pickup all the way up they deliver a deep but not muddy resonance. With my bridge pickup all the way up and no neck they sound thunderous and piano like. I tend to use about 90% bridge pickup and 10% neck pickup with the mids up to 100, hi’s rolled to about 75 and the bass to about 90, and at this setting the S.I.T Power Steels make my Dean Rhapsody really shine.
Without even plugging in my bass I knew that these strings would do the job just nicely. I play through a Behringer 4x10 being pushed by a 1500w Crest Contractor Grade Power Amp and a Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro. I use this rig on larger gigs and out door settings. For smaller venues I run through a Carvin Micro Bass Amp. Both of these scenarios afforded the S.I.T.s to really shine while the larger rig most definitely allowed the strings’ overall timbrel range to really come through. I have always been a fan of stainless steel strings and their ability to produce a truly piano like tone. Though S.I.T.’s Power Nickel sets are incredibly punchy, the Power Steels, to my ears, have that extra zip.
I can’t stress enough how important customer service is to any business and the folks at S.I.T. surely know a thing or two about that. The fact that Tim reached out to me to see what they could do to make my playing experience even better is a rarely seen trait these days. Tim listened to what I had to say, offered great advice, and then delivered a product that was exactly what I wanted, and needed. And the personal touch to the packaging was more than just mere frosting on the cake, it shows that S.I.T. pays attention to detail, at any level.
So for those of you looking for a lighter gauge set for your 12ver most definitely consider getting ahold of S.I.T. Ask for Tim and tell him you want “Juan’s Blistering Harmonics and Plenty of Punch Set”!
Juan R Leõn
S.I.T. Power Wound Nickel Strings for the 12-String Bass
I have used several different brands of strings on my 12-string bass over the past three years. These have included GHS strings, which I wasn’t impressed with since they had a rather dull sound, the Hamer strings that were made by D’Addario, and I even tried Rickenbacker strings when I was in a jam, having to improvise with two 8-string sets. My preference has been the D’Addario’s - they are good sounding, consistently good quality and have definitely been my favorite. Until now.
I recently tried a set of Power Wound Nickel strings made by S.I.T. Strings. Stay-In-Tune strings are made in Akron, Ohio. I had never encountered these strings before as no local stores carried them.
For those who are really into the technical specs, these strings have a Swedish Steel hex-core with a nickel plated cover wrap and are round wound. They claim that the hex-core produces a brighter, more stable string since the hexagonal corners lock the wraps into place. Every S.I.T. string is quality checked three times, once as it comes off the machine, once by a quality control staffer, and finally when it’s coiled.
The Power Wound strings have been their most popular and widely used bass strings and it’s easy to understand why. These are really good sounding strings! They have a very similar look and feel to the D’Addario strings but with a much rounder, warmer tone. They are very comfortable to play. The string tension is good, not too tight or loose. The gauge of the octave 'G strings is .018pb. Normally I use .020’s for the high G strings but the .018’s seem to help take off the nasty edge that can result with the EMG pickups. They are more subdued but still have the presence I like.
The real test for me was how these strings would sound when recorded. As many of us have discovered, due to the wide frequency range it’s tough to record a 12-string bass! It’s easy for me to get a good live tone with most quality strings. But the problem has been that when it came to recording, I have never been happy with my tone. I either ended up with that nasty high end or a wimpy sound lacking in lows. I am happy to report that these strings have made a significant improvement in my recorded sound. The warmth and roundness in the sound combined with a smoother top end has made a big difference. I’m actually looking forward to recording again, now that I don’t have fight with my tone every step of the way.
S.I.T. guarantees their strings to stay in tune, hence the name. And stay in tune they did. They have held their intonation very well. I’m definitely impressed with the sustain, they ring a long time!
I always buy my strings one set at a time. I’ve experienced just enough of the Dead String Syndrome when buying in bulk that I’d rather buy strings as I need them to make sure I get a fresh set. The problem with doing it this way is that it can get expensive but SIT strings are much more reasonably priced than the other major brands. I’m glad I discovered S.I.T. strings. I’ve been buying more!