Short Scale gauge suggestions for downtuning

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by KayXero, Dec 8, 2013.


  1. KayXero

    KayXero

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    So Im new to short scales, and while I like the size of the bass body and neck, Im not fond of the strings as much as standard scale. The E isnt as tight as on my other bass.

    What would you guys recommend for a good short scale string gauge? I wanna get a good thumping E without floppiness. Also is there a string out there that will allow me to down tune a full step without ending up in flop city?

    And let me add that these strings are for a cheap SX project bass. So considering its a chinese made bass thats not of the best quality, do I need to be mindful of string tension damaging the bridge? Ive read stories of tight strings ripping the bridges off of cheap basses.

    Thanks
     
  2. KayXero

    KayXero

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  3. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

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    Maybe try shortscale labella flats 45-105. Lots of thump. I wouldn't say the E is floppy, but it's not gonna be as tight as on a bass that's 4 inches longer.

    Labella jamerson flats are like bridge cables, but tension that high isn't a great idea on a cheaper bass. I'd be more concerned about the neck bowing badly than the bridge ripping off.
     
  4. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    How short is short? Any bass ought to be able to withstand standard tensions - SXs are stalwart beasties so don't worry about that.
     
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  6. KayXero

    KayXero

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    30 inch scale is what Ive got. I was just trying to play it safe. I was thinking light gauge, but still may go medium. I just didn't want an insanely floppy D when I drop-tune.
     
  7. Lo-E

    Lo-E

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    I would try using the same strings you use for a standard scale, but one gauge heavier. Start from there, and then adjust to taste.
     
  8. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    As a place to start I suggest .118 .090 .067 .049 - or gauges close to them - for E standard.

    When you drop the tuning, are you dropping just the lowest string or the entire set?
     
  9. KayXero

    KayXero

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    I either drop to Eb Ab Db Gb, or DADG. Never a whole step down for all my strings. Being able to get DADG is what I generally need for some songs I play. The half step down isn't all that necessary.
     
  10. ronlitz

    ronlitz Supporting Member

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    I'm in the same situation - I have a 30" short scale that I want to use with a band that tunes down 1/2 step. I installed D'Addario EXL160S (short scale, 50-70-85-105), and I find the E string too floppy (and doesn't sound great either). I have a set of Labella short-scale flats that I'm going to try next (760FM: 49-69-89-109). Flats are stiffer than rounds in the same gauge, so maybe these won't be too floppy. I'd rather have rounds, but I haven't found any round-wound short scale with an E larger than 105. Might have to try cutting standard long-scale strings - others have done this successfully. The D'Addario EXL230 looks like a good choice (55-75-90-110).
     
  11. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    If you are dropping using standard gauges then upping the sizes close to what I suggest certainly will be an improvement. Trick will be finding a .120-ish that handles being wrapped around a tuning post - some might break if full thickness goes around the post.
     
  12. ronlitz

    ronlitz Supporting Member

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    Knuckle_head: can you recommend a 4-string set that has a .120-ish E string, or are you recommending taking the bottom four strings of a 5-string set?
     
  13. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    The set I suggested to KayXero is .118 .090 .067 .049 - fudge to the nearest .005 and you may have a winner.
     
  14. ronlitz

    ronlitz Supporting Member

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    What I mean is, do you know of a brand that comes in those gauges?
     
  15. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    I put out a set that is exactly those gauges, or you can assemble a series of singles rounded to the nearest .005. I make Circle K strings . . . .
     
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    For some weird reason, it seems anyone who makes readily available short scale strings seem to make them in very light gauges, when physics says they should make them heavier than their long scale gauges. It doesn't makes much sense to me.
     
  17. FourBanger

    FourBanger

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    It is because short scale basses were/are seen as student basses. Lighter strings are easier to play and a lot of thr thinking was that once you were good enough to start caring about the tone you were also playing a full scale bass.
     
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    It seems that some company would realize this is total nonsense and make a proper set of short scale strings.
     
  19. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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  20. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    Sorry man, I should have used the words, "the industry" instead of "a company". The stuff you are doing at Circle K is pretty different than the most of the string industry. That being said, I don't see any options for a 30" scale set on your website.
     
  21. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

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    Any set sized .118 and smaller will work on your bass - perhaps I should ahve been more specific. Standard would be optimal, and you need to mount them with a bit of care. Once up to pitch they are golden.

    The larger the tuning post the more forgiving the string will be fwiw
     

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