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4 String C Standard

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Miigi, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Miigi


    Jul 10, 2012
    Ok here we go. I want to tune my 4 string bass to C standard. Already got a Git. Tech who will set the Bass up now the only thing left to do is choose the Strings.
    Spent the last day googleing around to find out which gauge i want to use (just buying a pair and giving them a try is not an option due to me beeing "financially impaired").
    From what i read people are using from as low as .045 -.105 up to "butchering" a 5 string set as high as .070 -.135
    The "problem" i'm facing now is that i don't have enough bass expirience to know what i want tension wise...i think i'm using Warwick Red Label .045 -.105 i like the tension on it though the 4th string could be a bit harder and the 1st and 2nd a bit softer i used the D'Addario chart to get an idea of the tension that is on the strings (don't think there is a huuuger difference between D'addario and Warwick so i think the numbers are viable enough) which would make the tension.
    So now i am trying to find the strings that fit me best and want to get some opinions on the tensions (oho he finally get's to why he opened the thread :eyebrow:) from some more expirienced players.
    The Strings i have my eye on are all D'addario 5 String Pro Steels

    EPS 220-5 40-125 http://www.thomann.de/gb/daddario_eps2205_ebasssaiten.htm
    The tension on the higher strings seems a bit to high to me discarding the G string...using the G string and discarding the A string it might be to low.
    EPS 170-5 45-130 http://www.thomann.de/de/daddario_eps_1705.htm
    Looks like a good even tension but the 4th could again be a bit highter (didn't bother looking up 080 B and 065 E as the tension was so high in the first set already)
    EPS 165-5 45-135 http://www.thomann.de/de/daddario_eps1655.htm
    My personal favourite if using the "real" 1st and 2nd stings. Nice tension on the 4th string but the 1st might be to low (not only in terms of personal preference but of fret buzz/rattle without using a ridiculously high action and the attack of a 4 year old)?
    Ok so now that i have rambled on and on and on (and apparently still keep going) what are your thoughts on the subject? What sort of gauges do you use? Does a higher tension produce a clearer sound on a tuning that low (dunno how i get that idea but it makes sense to me)?
  2. S6I6X


    Jun 25, 2011
    San Diego
    Some people think it's easier to play on lighter tension string but too loose and it can get weird feeling and detrimental. Also, the higher the tension the lower your action can be without excessive buzzing. Depending on how technical of a player you are the perfect set for something like that could be hard to figure out. I spent many hours and tons of money finding out what I like. I would say if you are going to go with standard string companies use a .135 for the lowest string. It should be perfect and any lower and it'll be super floppy. Not a problem for many bass players but like I said it depends how technically you play. There's also a custom gauge company called Circle K. They make great strings that last and the best part they Sell them all as individuals so you spend any extra money building custom sets. They Also have a tension chart for all string sizes to all notes so you can build it up perfectly.

    So either Circle K or just get any preferred brands heavy set minus the highest string however is cheapest.
  3. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Going off of your current set in standard tuning, I'm guessing you'll want a set very nearly 40 lbs across the board (erroring on the lighter side for the thinner strings).

    Based on D'Addario's numbers, I think you'll want to piece together a set that looks something like this:

    That will probably sound and feel most even.

    Since you are on a budget, I wouldn't consider TI's. And even though I highly recommend Circle K's to everyone, they are still a bit on the pricey side (worth it, though). If it's still a bit too much for you, check out bassstringsonline. They have a Build Your Own Custom Set feature that will allow you to build a custom 4-string set for about the same price as a standard 5-string set.
  4. Thanks guys, this is very informative for ignoramuses like me -

    FunkM, your approach of picking string weights to match their tensions is easy to understand - but: how do I figure out what target tension is best for me?

    Some people here argue for heavy string weights to get low low notes without floppiness, but how do I know how much tension a neck will take?

    And is there any simple way to measure what the tension of an unknown string is?

    And how does scale play into all this? I'd be tempted to adapt a 35" 5-string rather than a standard 34". Is that a dumb idea?

    Thanks, listening now...
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    It's all preference, which makes it hard. The best thing you can do is start with your current set of strings and ask yourself which feels the best to you, then go compare it to the Circle K or D'Addario tension charts, and design a set based on that tension.

    A bass neck is fairly resilient, so it's likely that you will exceed the string's tension handling before your bass'. Apparently some older Rickenbackers have issues with heavy strings, and a guy recently had about 230 lbs of tension on his SX neck and maxed out the truss rod before getting it straight, but I've never heard of issues other than that. The suggested range is between 30 and 50 lbs per bass string.

    There is - measure the length of the full wind of the string and weigh the fully wound part (this may require you to cut off tapered ends and ball ends). To get the unit weight, divide the weight by the length (in inches). Figure out what scale it's going on and what it will be tuned to. With these three pieces of information, you can accurately determine tension.

    For a good estimate, measure the string's gauge and compare it to a similar string as listed on the D'Addario and Circle K tension charts. It will be somewhere in the ballpark.

    Scale increases tension by about 3-5 lbs per string. It may feel better to step down a gauge when increasing the scale length, but again, that's all preference. I play 35" scale basses almost exclusively with heavy strings (about 48 lbs of tension each), and I love it.
  6. Miigi


    Jul 10, 2012
    Thanks. Sounds pretty good yeah found this set http://www.thomann.de/gb/daddario_eps1605_ebasssaiten.htm

    if i were to throw away the "D" string would get me to

    seems like a good spread and not to high tension on the higher strings. And it's 7 bucks cheaper than buying the D'addario strings seperate
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Keep in mind that fourths tuning means that you will be tune CFBbEb, so those B and E strings will have about 3-5 lbs less tension than what you show there.
  8. Miigi


    Jul 10, 2012
    Hmm good point the chart doesn't show sharps/flats so i forgot that there will be slightly less tension...well guess the set is still the best choice for me as all the others would be to loose on the 4th and depending on whether i leave out the "G" or "D" string either way to hard on the first 2 strings or very very loose.
  9. Miigi


    Jul 10, 2012
  10. Miigi


    Jul 10, 2012
    Ok so i went out today and bought a set of Warwick Yellow Label, they didn't have Black and i finally after 2 days of figuring out gauges wanted to get some hands on expirience and with a price of 17€ it's 10 bucks cheaper than the black labes another selling point since i wasn't sure the gauge is ok for me...nickel wound though.
    The gauges are .135, .105, .085, .065 and i absolutely love it. The 4th string is a bit hard to tame at times (mostly due to me hammering on it, dunno why just is like that on the 4th but i like the "clacking" (no buzz) so no harm no foul) but other than that the tension is great.
    Another plus side is that i have to play EADG songs further down the neck which is great for my hand size best example is "my generation" couldn't get the triplets on the fills down before (ok i didn't try that hard to learn them maybe half an hour or so) and now i got them down after a few trys (well i have the technical part down but since i can't record right now i don't know if i play the right sound for me on them but that's just fine tuning).
    So after rambling on and on yet again all that is left to say is thank you to S6I6X and FunkMetalBass for your advice.

    PS: Another plus (albeit a minor one for me) is slapping...the 2nd string had this weird terrible buzzy/snarky (yeah i have no idea if you have the same idea of a "snarky" tone as me) tone on a pop which is gone now aswell.

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