Need an answer to sound vs gauge debate

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jessicabass, Nov 12, 2013.


  1. jessicabass

    jessicabass

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Location:
    ohio
    Will thicker strings give you a thicker tone?
    Or is it just based on preference for the player?
    Referring to flats in general.
  2. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    It will have SOME effect on overall sound, but your bass, pickups, EQ, amp, etc.. are also going to play a part in it as well.
  3. jessicabass

    jessicabass

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Location:
    ohio
    So if i had a set of ghs flats 45-95 and then put on a set of 55-105 i would get the same sound?
  4. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    All things remaining the exact same, the heavier gauge would give you a slightly beefier sound with more fundamental. You'd probably hear this with the bass by itself. In a band setting, you'd probably be more hard-pressed to hear a real definitive difference.
  5. odin70

    odin70

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Compare a 35 - 90 set to a 55 - 110 set. You will hear a difference.
  6. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    Interesting, I've always heard that thinner strings have more fundamental and that thicker strings have more harmonics.
  7. markanini

    markanini

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    From my experience it's hard to pin down whether going up or down in guage will have more harmonics, more fundamental etc. I'm guessing the uncertainty has to do with different brands using different core-to-wrap ratios for different gauges. Bottom line: Choose gauge for feel, choose brands/lines/materials/construction for tone.
  8. king rew

    king rew

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Maine
    Smaller gauge= more fundamental. Try it yourself, down tune your a string to low e to match your real e string and compare. Listen how the thinner string has much less harmonic content, but still produces fundamental. There is a diff tone indeed, but may not matter in a band setting, so I say go with what feels right.

    Edit- my experience has been with rounds only. Flats should just have less harmonic content in general.
  9. u84six

    u84six Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    US
    Go with what feels right to you with the bass you're using. Sometimes basses with wider necks really call for heavier gauge, while thinner necks are the opposite. I just go for what's comfortable and what pops best, which is generally a light gauge. In a band setting, you won't notice much difference in sound.
  10. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have experimented with different gauges and found that I like the fullness of a heavier string but lost some of the clarity. They didn't seem to have as much definition.
  11. Jensby design

    Jensby design

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Hastings, NE
    :eek:***! a girl on talkbass :confused: I need to get out of the Luthier's Corner more often.
    Anyway, I do this experiment on every bass I own from time to time.
    Tune each string to the tension that plays and sounds the way you want, (you may need to make a few adjustment) check the pitch.
    First time with a set gauges .105 .85 .65 .45 I ended up being tuned DF#A#E :meh: the gauges I needed to get the sound I wanted was more like .94 .71 .52 .38 low tension and balance :oops: I had been getting the wrong gauges this whole time. Did the same experiment on a different bass, :confused: very different results.
    ( mysterious intelligent sounding voice )
    The answer you've been looking for has been right in the palms of your hands this whole time.
  12. donn

    donn

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    Would it be fair to say - talking about flat wound strings - that the heavier gauge will have about as much fundamental, plus more low harmonics like 2nd partial etc.? Which to some extent we hear as if it were the fundamental, with low notes, so with the reinforcement from the 2nd, the 1st sounds better defined even if a spectral analysis wouldn't show any increase.

    My experience was that I also hear less high junk on the G - maybe not harmonic strictly speaking - but I changed from light GHS to heavy La Bella, so it's hard to say exactly what role the gauge played.

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