please suggest string gauges for C-G-D-A tuning
I'm planning to tune one of my fretless basses C-G-D-A - so called cello tuning, also known for its use by Red Mitchell on upright. This is an EBMM Sterling fretless, regular 34" scale.
Any suggestions on what string gauges would work best for this purpose?
Suggestions on what brand of strings are welcome too. I plan to use flats.
This is the bass in question:
You can design a set with your preferred tensions on each string by using the D'Addario and Circle K Strings tension charts to approximate any brand, i guess the chart for D'Addario Chromes would be the one to use.
But if you need more help ask i have the experienece.
I use a 40, 65, 90, 125 set of D'Addario Nickel Wounds from Bassstringsonline. I'm guessing if you're going to go with flats, you are going to want a slightly lighter gauge.
The above mentioned tension charts are your friend too. Find something that is very similar to a regular 4 string set tension when tuned in 5ths, or you're going to have a lot of neck warping issues.
I've heard great things about Circle K but never taken the leap. From what I hear, they're fantastic for "alternate" tunings.
Sorry i didn't see the requirement for flats, Circle K don't sell flats. I edited my previous post.
For octave down cello i used to use .125 .080 .050 .030/.032, a light inverse tension set with a slight and consistent fall in tension from low to high. I find that the extra range within same number of strings makes inverse tension even more necessary.
It's also possible to have cello pitch by mixing flats with plain steel strings. My fretless is tuned in tritones or fifths with .055fw .032fw .020p .013p. That gives equal tensions in fifths or inverse tension in tritones.
If you want flats, add about 5 to 7 percent to the tension figures for typical flats compared to typical rounds. Again, what you're wanting is relative tension.
Here's what I mean: first, strings by genre are similar in construction, therefore similar in tension. It has to be, or you wouldn't get the similar tone and longetivity of strings that does exist from brand to brand and model to model. All the differences that are discussed on the forum and in "string shootouts" and such are subtle. For these purposes, a round is a round and a flat is a flat.
Now, regular basses are tuned, of course, EADG. Red Mitchell, or 5ths tuning, is CGDA. Therefore, the D string is the same. Find a D string you really like in brand, model, and gauge, and compare it to the D'Addario chart. For example, a D'Addario Chrome flat .060 D string has about 45 pounds of tension. So cross reference the chart and see which string diameter for the given pitch has about the same tension, and go from there. It doesn't matter if the string brand, model and gauge actually has 45 pounds of tension, or 44, or 46, or whatever. What matters is that since the strings will be made in a similar manner, the appropriate gauges for the other strings can be extrapolated generally. Since the strings are .005 apart, and not .001, even if CircleK does .002 or .003 differences, it will never be exact. Close is what we're looking for.
Another way to think about it is to add or subtract about .005 in the gauge per pitch difference. So, if a regular medium or medium light G string is about a .045, then to go with an A, try a .040. And a B string is about a .135, so a C would be about a .130 or .125, if a lighter feel is desired. Then a G would be about a .90 instead of .85, give or take.
Think about it: every guitar manufacturer of nickel plated rounds markets a standard set of 10-13-17-26-36-46, and with subtle differences they are all about the same. It really is similar with bass strings as well.
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