String tension question?
I just changed my bass strings from some Rotosounds to some DR Sunbeams, and the tension in the strings seems much less. Does this sound ok, and does it matter? Also, is there a way of finding out what the right tension for a set of strings ought to be?
Many thanks :rolleyes:
Tension depends on various things:
1: Gauge of string. Strings can go from light (a 95 E) to heavy (a 110 E), for instance.
2: Type of string. In general, flatwound strings will have more tension than roundwound. The material that the string is made of also has an effect.
3: Brand - different brands will obviously have different aspects about their strings, so two sets of strings of the same gauge and type will differ from one brand to the next.
It doesn't matter so much but you will most probably have to have your bass set-up to accommodate the different tension.
Many people tend to use the D'addario tension guide as a reference, but this of course only measures the tensions of D'addario's strings. That said, it is an adequate reference: http://daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf
Also, the strings you purchased should publish the tensions on the package somewhere.
There is no right or wrong tension, it is simply another preference of the player.
Yes Rotosounds will have much more tension than Sunbeams. The 'right' tension is the one you like best!
Sunbeams are very flexible as they have a round core. That is mostly what you are feeling. If you want a more rigid feeling string go with DR Nickel Lo Riders.
SidMau said it best... "there is no right or wrong tension, it is simply another preference of the player."
Thanks for the replies guys. To be honest, I quite like the lower tension, the D & G strings on the Rotosounds were nearly slicing my fingers off when I first put them on. I might get a shop to look at my bass; when I bought it I though that the action was very low, but haven't adjusted it (as I don't know what I'm doing). I play finger style, and tend to get clicking noises quite a lot, which I assume is due to the action? Also, I find I have to be extremely accurate with the fingering not to get fret buzz!
Yes, those sound like low-action symptoms. Learning the accuracy piece won't hurt you regardless of string tension - it's good practice. It's likely the slightest loosening of the truss rod will help. If you don't know what you're doing, seek out a luthier. A good one will explain what's needed as well as taking care of it for you.
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