I've been reading a bunch of the TalkBass forums recently and it seems everyone has a SansAmp Bass DI pedal or similar pedal on their board or use it as a pre-amp with a power amp setup. It sounded like a box that would give me that tube amp sound without having to buy a tube amp. So I gave it a spin to see/hear what the hype was all about. Playing into a solid state amp you could definitely dial in that tube sound and then some. Being able to use it for some dirt in your signal chain, as a pre-amp or DI box really seems to give the pedal value for the price.
Having only used the stock strings on my Carvin bass, I decided to try some new strings and picked up a set of DR high beams to see how much different the bass might sound with some aftermarket strings.