Clef Gut Upright Bass Double Bass Strings

(7 customer reviews)



Clef Gut Upright Bass Strings are a high quality European-made gut double bass string with a classic tone and stability that is sure to last.


Clef Gut Upright Bass Strings are a high quality European-made gut double bass string with a classic tone and stability that is sure to last. Handcrafted gut strings are unheard of at this price point, as similar gut string sets cost upwards of $400. These double bass strings are handmade by European craftsman using only mutton serosa (sheep intestine). Mutton gives a lower tension, softer feel, and warm rich tones within the string. It is far too delicate to process by machine, and even the twisting of the strands into a string is done by hand—it’s the only way to properly judge the tension of the string. Clef Gut Upright Bass Double Bass Strings are available in full sets only. Sorry, no individual strings.

Gut String Oil is highly recommended to extend the life of any gut string set. Purchasing the set and oil together? Follow this link to the combo deal and receive 25% off your gut string oil.

Whether you play bluegrass, rockabilly, or baroque music, you owe it to yourself to play on an full set of authentic all gut double bass strings. Or if you’re a jazz player looking for that classic “Paul Chambers” tone, these Clef Gut Upright Bass Strings are for you. For those of you who have asked for gut sets with wound A and E strings, be sure to take a look at the Clef Gut Jazz Double Bass Strings.

As gut strings are a natural product, time of usefulness is an unknown.  Weather, pH of user, care, musical style, etc. can all diminish longevity. We’ve heard of breaking after 30-60 days and we’ve heard of them lasting years. Our Jack Hanlon’s are quite old, but he’s religious about oiling them. 
Check out this video on gut string care:

Curious how to put the correct loop on the end of a Clef Gut Upright Bass String? Jack Hanlon’s demonstration below is a must see.


  • Highest quality gut string for the price
  • Lower tension is easy to play
  • Great old school sound

Technical Information: Clef Guts are a boutique item made in small batches by hand. Due to demand outpacing supply, we will often run out of stock before the next batch comes in. PLEASE CALL FOR AVAILABILITY BEFORE PLACING YOUR ORDER IF YOU HAVE A DEADLINE THAT YOU NEED THE STRINGS FOR AS WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO MEET YOUR DEMANDS.

  • String Diameter (in millimeters): E 4.5, A 3.7, D 2.8, G 2.1
  • Please note: these dimensions are for uninstalled Clef Gut strings. Strings may thin under tension. If you are moving from a light gauge steel string to a larger gauge gut string, modifications to the bridge and nut may be necessary to accommodate the larger string diameter.
  • Clef Musical Manufacturing Corporation imports these fantastic double bass gut strings at a great price. However, due to changing global markets, we have seen increases in the cost of our gut strings over the years. Although this is unfortunate, Clef Gut Upright Bass Strings are still an outstanding quality gut string at a modest price.

Upton Bass String Instrument Co. specializes in building award-winning custom double basses and offers accessories for the double bass. Upton Bass also services all instruments and bows of the violin family with world class restoration and repair, to view our online restoration portfolio visit

Upton Bass is ready to offer advice and answer any questions regarding double basses or related bass topics. Please contact UB at or call the shop at +1 (860) 535-9399. Hours of operation Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm. The Workshop (The Barn) and showroom are located in Mystic, Connecticut conveniently between Boston and NYC. 

7 reviews for Clef Gut Upright Bass Double Bass Strings

  1. Andrew Kerensky

    I wanted to try some Gut strings without breaking the bank, so i bought these from Upton Bass. I must say i am very pleased with them, the first couple of days i was’nt to keen on them however now they have settled a little i can hear they have a warm sound that bows very well for plain strings. The E string still seems a bit muddy with little definition when played pizz, but fine when bowed. I thought they had a little less volume than my Thomastik ‘Superflexibles’ however a friend felt they sounded louder, so go figure. For the price i think they are a real bargain, i wonder how long Upton Bass will stock these strings before they run out, i think they are going to be very popular.

  2. Janelle sweeney

    Having only played the double Bass for a short time I was searching for an alternative to guts that gave a good sound at a cheap price. Then I saw the Clefts advertised on rockabilly Bass and ordered a set. I found they took about 3 weeks to play in and what a sound they make. I play Rockabilly and slap, the sound of the slap is so much louder and crisp. The clef’s feels so good and the price is great. I will certainly recommend these strings for those looking for that fat slap sound. Janelle Sweeney

  3. Jake Leckie (verified owner)

    I normally go for the top two (G and D strings) gut, and low strings (A and E) wound, and I wondered why not try all four gut? – I am very happy with the G and D strings, but be wary of going for the full pack. The low E and A are quiet when pizz. I am sticking with two gut, two wound with this set. Worth the experiment, my how they sing. The A D and G are good for rockabilly and gypsy music, but its hard to swing on the A for bebop because it is loose and quiet.

  4. No Name-Witheld


    I have to send you an e-mail to say how happy I am with the Clef Gut Strings. They sound great, even the E string has plenty of sound/volume and tone. I am really surprised. I have always used gut but never an all Gut E usually all Gut G,D,A and a silver wound Gut E or a steel E. The price is great compared the Guts I have been using (Gotz and PIRASTRO EUDOXA).

    I know so many people that rave about the strings.

    Thanks for your great service.

    The strings were shipped out as soon as I ordered them. What more can I ask.

  5. Mark Eagleton (verified owner)

    These Clef gut strings are a great, affordable option to see if gut strings are right for you. I’ve been using them for about a year. Shortly after putting them on, I realized that gut strings were exactly what I’ve been looking for. I play lots of honky tonk/rockabilly style slap bass and bluegrass. Steel strings just can’t match the nice, mellow clickety clacks that these strings–and gut strings in general–produce.

    If you haven’t used gut strings before, it’s important to note that they (and these Clef strings in particular) have quite a bit less tension than steel strings. They are much floppier to play and a bit quieter than steel. They are, however, MUCH easier on your hands. If you slap and/or play multiple sets a night, your hands will thank you.

    You should also be aware that the gauge of the E and A strings are substantially heavier than their steel counterparts. This may require modifications to your bridge, nut, and tailpiece. I had an extremely hard time putting on the E string, as it didn’t fit easily into my tuning peg hole. I had to do it a second time when I installed a new tailpiece, and I had a much harder time putting the string on the second time due to some unraveling.

    Since purchasing these strings I have had the chance to play other gut strings on different instruments. While the $200 price tag is a bargain for these strings, you do get what you pay for. They are a great introduction to the gut string world, but you can really tell the difference between a $300+ set and these. Nicer gut strings don’t unravel quite as easily, and are quite a bit smoother than these. I oil my strings a little less than once a week with walnut or olive oil. These Clefs have a tendency to get hairs on them despite frequent oiling. Some of the fibers that come loose can be quite big, and need to be clipped off. My G string suffered from one too many of these larger hairs, and during a 3 week period where I didn’t play at all, it broke.

    Now that I know the difference between nicer gut strings and these, I’ll be spending the big bucks on the good ones. I would, however recommend these Clef strings to anyone wanting to give gut strings a serious try, or to anyone on a more realistic budget who’s playing style is well suited to gut strings.

  6. Bobby Keyes

    These strings are a good value and high quality. I played in a set, and the G and D are mellow with good sustain for gut and really easy on the fingers. The A was a bit dampened on my bass, but the E was unfortunately unplayable for my jazz pizz. So… I the bought wound A and E gut set… and voila’! Great gut sound now on all four strings. Nevertheless, the unwound A and E gut strings might be for you.

  7. dean ferrell

    I have been using clef gut plain unwound strings for about 3 years now, both as an “historically informed” soloist, and at my “day job” in the Iceland Symphony.
    Besides reacting well under the bow in the normal EADG tuning, they are very resilient to the various stresses I subject them to in “historical” performance.
    For example the Vienna tuning (classical Violone), which I used at the ISB convention in San Fran 2011, I tuned the G up to A, and the D up to F#. Later in the performance I cranked them up to Bb and G, and had the A and E tuned up to Bb´and F´. (My middle string of 5 was a Xx Xxxxx plain A, which is very light gauge, tuned to D and then Eb.)

    A week later I was using them at work in the normal tuning, and the harmonics were still true in the 3rd octave; this means that the strings retained their cylinder shape; no “sounds sharp and flat at the same” time effect.

    I also use clef gut for baroque violone; the G tuned to (a=415) A, the D to E , (the Xx Xxxxx a to C) the A to G and the E to D.

    The pizzicato is great for orchestra; a good tympani like attack, with a resonable ammount of sustain. The plain A sounds best on a mensure of 42″ or more; at 43″+ the pizz is very similar in sustain to the D. The pizz on the E is functional at 43″, but lots better at 43 1/2-44″. (my own bass is 43 3/4.) With the bow, the plain A is manageable down to 41″, but the plain E does not sound well under the bow at less than 42″.

    You can hear these strings in action at:



    best regards and hope to see you in Copenhagen


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