B String Question

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by madbassplaya, Jan 26, 2013.


  1. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Been playing a while now and I started with a 5 string bass with a low B, so i'm not a 5 string noob. :D

    I see a lot of guys going bigger in the B string world .135 plus. I've tried a .135 one time and it was HUGE to me. I've been using a .130 for a while now but I'm just not satisfied with the tone of the string as I have been with a smaller B string (.125). I've used three different brands with a .130 and none of them satisfy me as much as the tone of a smaller string.

    Why is this? it's only .05 of a difference.
  2. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Well, the difference is tension :) The thicker a string is, the higher the tension. So, Some people prefer a .125 B, others (like me) a .140 :)
  3. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    I like a more taut string but the smaller B's seem to sound less thuddy and more natural.
  4. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Location:
    Oak Park, IL
    I agree. I've also found different gauge B strings react differently depending on the gauges and setup of the other strings. I' tried 125s - 143s (143 from Circle K) and 135 or 140 seems to be the sweet spot for me.

    But Circle K does make a great string!
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  6. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    If you are playing a 35" scale bass, anything over a .130 probably isn't needed. String style,core,and technique all factor in too. I used .135s on all my 5 and 6 strings (34"),but I lightened up my touch a while back,and a .130 does just fine.
  7. brianerwin

    brianerwin

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    I started out with the .130 on mine as it came with the bass as standard I assume. I like it a lot
    But I guess I just got used to it. The 135 & 140 sounds really big, maybe would be more loose on the
    Bass guitar, not sure though. It would have to be a major adjustment to the nut on my bass to go bigger.
  8. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    What is it what you are looking for?
  9. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Maybe i'm just more used to the sound of a smaller B now? I used .125 for years and it was great and I used a .128 once (labelle, I believe) and it was outstanding as well. I've recently started using some different sets that I really dig the EADG strings but I don't care for the .130 B string. I've tried bigger B's and smaller B's and it seems I enjoy the smaller a bit more.

    I'm guessing that a .130 plus has more wraps on it and that's what is causing the difference in tone.
  10. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    The worst B I tried was a .135. The best was a .136. It's not just about the gauge.

    (If you hadn't guessed, the .136 is a Circle K.)
  11. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    So what do you think the difference between the two? Is it the core, or the number of wraps?
  12. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I'm really liking the 125 I have on my Bongo, but that's more of a feel thing than anything.
  13. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    I used a .125 Sunbeam on a Bongo 5HH and Stingray 5HH and they both killed!
  14. groooooove

    groooooove

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    .05 is a huge difference.. it may be a small number, but when it comes to a musical instrument, and its strings, the smallest adjustment can make a huge difference.

    if you found what you like, stick to it. what works for you is what matters, even if my B string is half an inch thick.
  15. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I couldn't really say. I'm not sure what Circle K do differently but it's the first B that feels and sounds like a regular string, rather than one that needs special treatment and a light touch. Possibly the number of wraps. The result is that it looks big but doesn't feel it and doesn't produce a dead thud.
  16. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Plus the gauges that Circle K makes are a bit different then most string producers make :)
  17. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    France
    Yep I've experienced the same thing: while using a 36" fiver, 130 was quite good, 135 perfect; Then coming back to a 34" JB, had to came down to a 125 tappered, 130 was even to muddy, probably because of the lack of definition due to shorter scale.
  18. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I think that's the opposite actually. A longer scale would mean that a lighter string would have more tension so, for example, a .125 on a 35" may have the same tension as say a .130 on a 34". So you'd want a heavier gauge on a shorter scale to avoid it being too floppy.
  19. capnsandwich

    capnsandwich

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    It really depends on the bass, the strings and your touch. I've had 5 strings that had floppy B strings and never really satisfied me. Then, I've had basses with great B strings and I've used the same strings gauge and everything. Also, some people play with a heavier touch and can benefit from a lighter gauge string. Others, like myself, are finesse players and a lighter gauged string sounds a little thinner to me than a heavier one. String construction, especially the core, come into play as well. A hexagonal core will feel tighter than a round core string.
  20. String Theory

    String Theory

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Southern California
    I like the tension on the B string to match the E. The best strings I have played are the Circle k Strings .142. I have also had success with Daddarios .145.
  21. millsbass5

    millsbass5

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    Logan,W.V.(not up some holler)

    ^^^^
    "but I lightened up my touch..."-QUOTE


    That's the key right there to a good-sounding low "B". No matter what gauge you use.

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