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1/4 size Kay strings query

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by lonote, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. My 1/4 size Kay needs new strings. If I buy 3/4 size strings and trim them to fit my 1/4 size bass, will I be okay? I have done this many times with my EBG's over the years and never had a problem but the DB, of course, is a horse of a different color. By the way, this is a matter of availability and price. There are a lot of good deals on strings but they never seem to reach down to the 1/4 size strings. Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Some strings don't like to be trimmed. They come apart. Others, like Dominant, tend to break more easily if you roll them up past the silk on the tuning peg.

    You may not like the feel either. The mass of the string and the tension is designed for a given string length. If you shorten the scale and tune to 440 A, you may have a mightily flabby string on your hands.

    If you really want to try it, I'd suggest a stiffer, ropecore string.
  3. At this point, I am looking for a 3/4 size that I like and can afford. I don't want to pay $200 for a set of strings for the little Kay when it might be gone tomorrow (if I find the right deal) and I don't want a set of Red Labels. I just want it to be a little easier to play and a little better sounding until I get rid of it. Like I said, I've done it many times with EBG's and it sounds like the downside to trimming strings is pretty much the same for the DB as it is for the EBG. Thanks for your help. I am enjoying the DB and I can't wait to own one that fits me better but in the meantime I've got this one electrified and jerry rigged with a 2' endpin so it's playable and giggable, if not ideal.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups

    They sell strings made out of weed eater line for $15. And you can trim them to your heart's content and not worry in the least about it ;)
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    :D Ray, I can always count on you to make me laugh...I actually heard you rolling your eyes on that one.
    That said, there's a lot of basses out here that are strung with weed whackers that sound pretty good. Absolutely no fundamental, but lots of WHOMP on the low end.
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It's a sound that cuts, for sure.
  7. Thank you. We're here all year. Don't forget to tip your server. :cool:
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    While I was joking about it (yes, I WAS joking), quite frankly, those weed eater strings aren't half bad. On the G,D and A strings, you get a good fundamental with a fair amount of sustain. On the E, however, you get pretty much a dull thud, so a lot of people just keep a steel or wound gut E and use the rest. And believe it or not, you can bow them. I wouldn't recommend them for classical, but for swing and rockabilly (and even some jazz applications where sustain isn't a priority), they're not bad at all.
  9. Since I'm a blues player in search of thump and not looking for sustain, the weedeater strings just might do the trick. How far wrong can I go for $20, know what I mean?
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL! Well in that case, I wasn't joking after all!

    Seriously, I use them on my bass, and though the E does sound flabby unamplified, it actually sounds pretty good amplified. And thanks to the slappers at rockabillybass.com, I learned a couple neat tricks with them:

    They are gauged .095 to .175, and some have complained that the G feels a lot more tense compared to the rest of them. If you have that problem, just go to Wal Mart and buy some .080 line and make your own G string and the tension matches a lot better. Just make sure (obviously) you get the round kind. You have to check because most stores carry the line with ridges in it. They work better in your weed eater, but they'll cut your fingers up like a razor.

    Also, I did this as a goof, but accidentally discovered it makes them sound better. You can dye them using Rit dye. I dyed mine black, but you can dye them any color that's darker than the strings. Boil up some water in a pot (I used a disposable aluminum pan for this so I didn't ruin my wife's good pots), take the pot off the burner, throw the Rit dye in the pot, then stick the strings in for 2-3 minutes. Rinse them, dry them, and wipe them down, and they will be colorfast, they will look really cool, and they'll sound better. I don't know whether it's the dye or the boiling water that makes them sound better, but I noticed a definite improvement.

    Jazzers and classical players may scoff at the notion of using weed whacker strings (much like Ray did), but they sound a lot like guts (some people like them better than guts), and they do bow, though it's a little harder to bow them than steels. My pal Marshall Lytle, the bass player for Bill Haley's Original Comets, turned me on to them, and then I found out that they're all the rage in rockabilly circles. And though I still like steel strings, these strings are much easier on your hands, especially if you slap, and they're a heck of a lot cheaper than guts while still getting a very close approximation of the gut sound.
  11. I did some research and found what JimmyM says is the prevailing sentiment (although nobody else mentioned Rit dye).
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups