Round Core B String Observation
I generally use DR Hi Beams and have a 4 string P Bass that I've converted to BEAD tuning. Awhile back, I ordered some 135 gauge Hi Beam B strings from Jason at BSO thinking that due to the round core, I would need at least a 135 to have a focused solid B string. I found these B strings to be kind of lame and unfocused sounding (not floppy feeling though) and I thought it might be attributed to the fact that DR uses a lot of wraps on the larger strings compared to other manufacturers. Fast forward to now, I put a set of medium gauge Hi Beams with the 125 B string and was expecting even worse performance. Well, exactly the opposite. The B string has focused notes all the way up the string and it growls like the E string. Also, there is still no flop. I'm confused. I assumed I would have to go larger for better performance. Maybe I just like a lighter B string. Anyone else have similar B string experiences?
I'm actually torn. My hands love balanced tension my ears love light unbalanced tension. Still haven't found the perfect compromise yet.
I just put in an order for Sunbeams with a .130 B string. Not sure if I should've went with a .125 or not.
Lighter-gauge strings actually tend to be more resonant. They vibrate more freely, thus producing a harmonically richer tone - especially roundcore strings. So long as the degree of tension is acceptable and the signal strong enough (easily enhanced with active electronics), it's all good.
Two of my five-string basses wear light-gauge DRs - a set of Fat Beams and a set of Lo-Riders - each with a .120 gauge "B" string, which is nicely articulate for my purposes. I don't downtune, and I play with a reasonably consistent light touch.
All my other five-strings have .125 gauge medium "B" strings, and I like them fine for those applications. But I have no need to go to a heavier gauge than that.
Lighter strings have overtones more in tune, the heavier strings make overtones slightly sharp due to their stiffness.
The problem with lighter strings is that if you hit them hard they might sound floppy and entirely out of tune for a fraction of a second.
I have to say that when I tried D'Addrio's Balanced Set with the 0.120 E (not B) string I liked it a lot. And it was brighter than the 105. Unfortunately most of my basses can't take a 120 E string.
My sadowsky 4 with a 105 hi beam sounds better tuned down to low-c than 95% basses with a .130. Those thicker strings often get really thuddy and have bad tone and intonation as you move up the neck. But there really are no great rules, you just have to try stuff.
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