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.135 .140, or .145

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by wardak, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. wardak


    Dec 3, 2001
    Honolulu HI
    Anyone using these gauge of string? I'm looking at my options here as a way of tightening up the B on a 34" scale bass. DR offers a .135 in several styles, as does D'Addario and Ken Smith (up to .145). I'd like to know how folks like them.

    I did some research and found (per a D'Addario string tension chart, and a little math) that the .125 or .130 B's are usually several pounds lower in tension than the rest of the set. A .140 gets into the ballpark and .145 is pretty close to a match.

    Are these larger strings pretty decent? Ridiculous? Tough to play? Don't feel much different than the next size down? Looking for your experience/opinion. Thanks!
  2. cjgallen


    Oct 19, 2001
    I got a .135 on my fender jazz. Good tension, not too loose, not too tight, and I can keep my action reasonably low with no rattle or buzz. I can't imagine using anything lighter, just seems like it would be flopping all over the place.
  3. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Most 5 string sets have .130 or lighter. The B string tends to "flop" more as there is less tension.

    I tried the Rotosound .135 and it does better than most B stings.
    I tried the Ken Smith .145 and it is very tight with good sustain and overtones. I have a Hipshot on one bass and the .145 even handles a low A. It is the only string I have found that has enough tension to sound decent on the low A.

    I would recommed that you try several different B strings and see what you prefer.

    Single strings can be ordered from www.juststrings.com.
  4. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    this kinda puts me in an odd situation:

    i'm really lookin' at dean markley SR2000 light gauge for playability issues.

    but the B is .125. ie, too floppy (i've got a .125 DR hi-beam--non-tapered--on my spector, and it is way too floppy).

    the next highest gauge has the same gauge for the B (.125) but heavier gauges for everything else! totally pointless for me.

    then the will lee gauge has a .127 gauge B, which is acceptable. but it has a ~.110 gauge E, and the other strings are a bit too fat.

    and apparantly, dean markley doesn't sell individual strings!

    am i totally hopeless? will i have to cope with a floppy B? will dean markley do a custom set dealy for just anybody (which i am, btw)?
  5. wardak


    Dec 3, 2001
    Honolulu HI
    Not sure, in my search it seems that the larger gauge strings are available from some companies but are not widely advertised or shown on retail web sites. Ken Smith has the larger sizes, as does D'Addario--DR goes up to .135 in some of theirs, but they're special order. Chances are that one of those brands has something you'd like.

    Thanks for the responses to my original questions!
  6. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I buy the Low B strings separately at

    They have single strings from D'Addario, DR Strings, Elixir, Fender, GHS, Ken Smith, La Bella, Maxima, Pyramid, RotoSound, S I T and Thomastik-Infeld.

    It costs a little more to buy single strings but it is worth it to get the right tension and sound.
  7. msherman


    Nov 20, 2002
    Connecticut, USA
    Actually, D`Addario makes, or at least made a low B string all the way up to .165.
    They sent me some samples of this string a few years back. They sounded great, but the string generated alot of volume and It fealt like a Piano string. I`m not sure if they are still making it.

  8. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    The B string is something to be played differently,
    a larger string than 130 just sounds bad to me, too big to boomy, it lacks definition according to me.

    A 125 string well played can sound a lot better.
  9. A Fodera .130 is as tense as most .135's, maybe more than some brands' 135's.
  10. wardak


    Dec 3, 2001
    Honolulu HI
    ...in a B-E-A-utiful blue stain...WOW! $85 via a local woodcrafter who does a lot of custom stuff. It looks awesome.

    Anyway, now that it's back I took the opportunity to install some new strings, including a D'Addario XB SL .145 guage B string. I have to get it over to a true bass rig to hear it in its truest sense, but as far as feel goes, it's pretty awesome. I ordered a custom set of strings so that I could match the tension for each one as closely as possible (per D'Addario's tension chart). With the stock .130 string, the B felt and played different than the other 4 strings, and I tended to avoid it sometimes because it wasn't as tight and responsive as the others. (It seemed a little like a "4+1" string bass, instead of a 5-string bass--but even with the .130 on this one has been better than a lot of other basses I've tried).

    This .145 feels like a perfect match to the other strings. Through a pre-amp and a surround sound setup with sub-woofer it sounds pretty good--the B seems to be a nice match to the other strings. I have to check it all out a little more closely, but so far this gauge matches my expectations. I'd like to also note that with this bass's 35" scale and string-through-body setup, the SuperLong strings are just long enough for the bass to have the typical 4" of extra length to wrap around the tuning pegs. I should've measured them before installing them, but basically the A string is the furthest tuner from the nut--just enough string. On the B and G, closest to the nut, I trimmed a little bit of string off.

    Will update as soon as I give this thing a good setup and check-out.
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the will lee low e is .107". i use a sr2000 .135" for the low b, and i'm very happy with it.
  12. wardak


    Dec 3, 2001
    Honolulu HI
    Been using the new strings for a several days now, and I'm really diggin' the set, including the .145 B. Now that the strings have broken in a little (or I've adjusted to them, not sure which) they feel perfect. Thought I'd share an update on the joy...

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