String tension question?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by LordDog, Jan 12, 2014.


  1. LordDog

    LordDog

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Location:
    Norwich UK
    Hi folks,

    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:
  2. SidMau

    SidMau

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    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.
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    Yes Rotosounds will have much more tension than Sunbeams. The 'right' tension is the one you like best!
  4. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    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."
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. LordDog

    LordDog

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Location:
    Norwich UK
    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!
  7. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Burlington, Vt.
    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.

Share This Page