String tension and gauge in relation to action...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Feb 16, 2014.


  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    I wanted to have some opinions and/or facts from folks in the know.

    I've currently got my short scale bass strung with 40-95 gauge D'Addario NPS rounds. I don't mind the loose tension but find that I can't get my action as low as I want.

    Would moving up a gauge allow me to lower my action due to reduced flexibility? Maybe 45-100...

    Alternatively, are there any short or medium scale flatwounds that would enable me to keep the tension about the same as these 40-95 rounds? This particular bass is a bit trebly anyway (it's the Warwick corvette SS active, I wish I'd got the passive model, oh well) so it wouldn't hurt to tame it down a bit.

    I have knackered hands which is the reason for wanting to keep the tension lower. For comparison, 45-105 rounds on a long scale bass is too high tension for me.

    Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing some views.
  2. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Washington
    45-100 rounds will be just as hard on your hands as a 45-105 set, the D & G strings are the killers tension wise. I'd recommend something like a 40-100 or 35-95 set of GHS Precision flatwounds(you can custom order a set here), or some TI flats if you can afford them, they are both round-core strings so they will have less stiffness and tension for their gauges. If you want some rounds that are similarly low tension, try some DR Sunbeams or Circle K strings.
  3. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Thanks for the reply. That's true, the D&G would be the same. I considered the custom light Chromes, 40-100, might be worth a try.

    Would the GHS flats not be too floppy, and not let me reduce the action?

    I heard that TI flats have fairly low tension for flats, but also heard that they are similar to same gauge rounds. The only SS flats they offer are 46-106, I think they'd be too much.
  4. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Washington
    The 40-100 set of GHS flats would probably feel a bit floppy to most people just like the TIs do.(TIs are low tension, don't let the gauge fool you)

    I've played the 40-100 Chromes before and they were great but still a little stiff on the D&G for me to do the fast tappity-slappity stuff that I like to do, I got my action very low with them though. The GHS flats or TIs will most likely require a little higher action than hex core strings like Chromes, but IMO the round-core will make the strings easier to play than slightly lower action would. I don't know your hands though, it may be the opposite.
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  6. donn

    donn

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    If it makes any difference, I'm pretty sure GHS flatwound strings are hex core.
  7. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Circle-K balanced tension sets offer such a variety of gauges that you can find a set that matches your tension requirements closely.

    Skip can recommend a set based on your requirements, saving a lot of time & money on trial & error.

    And they sound great. I would compare them to Rotosound Swing 66 nickels noting that the Circle K's are more consistent from string-to-string and they seem to last longer.

    I like 'em.
  8. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    They are hex.

    The only string we make at the moment with a round core are the ones for the NS Design electric upright.
  9. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Washington
    Thanks. I've heard many times that they were round core and just assumed that is why they feel a little more flexible than other flats.
  10. markanini

    markanini

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    A simple thing I'd suggest you try is a .100 E with that 40-95 set.

    I'm not convinced higher gauges always help you get a lower action, it really depends on your playing style and each neck reacts differently to tension.
  11. gary m

    gary m

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Location:
    Mid -Atlantic
    It might be worth mentioning Pyramid flats here as well. They have just a bit more tension than the GHS flats, yet they're not as stiff as Chromes. I prefer those for my short scale basses though they're a bit pricey. www.stringsandbeyond.com has consistently good prices for them if you're interested.
  12. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    Nope, it's all in how they wind the ribbon wire over the core.

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