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4-stringed set tuned down, or 5-stringed set tuned up?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Rolle2k, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    Bgavin, I got something similar to that 120-95-75-55 in Ken Smith singles from Juststrings.com for under $30.
  2. I'm paying $16 for the GHS heavy set. They get changed out once a month or so.
  3. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    That's a tough price to beat, but I might be able to. What do you think about this Fender Super Bass Medium 5 string set:


    For $3 more, throw out the .105 and here's what her tension would look like:

    C# - .125 -40lbs.
    G# - .85 - 43lbs.
    C# - .65 - 45lbs.
    F# - .45 - 38lbs.

    Far from perfect, but much more balanced and a much tighter low C# than what she's using now, all for under $20 a set with a .105 string to spare.
  4. Fender doesn't publish tension specs to the best of my knowledge. What are you using to calculate tension for 7250?
  5. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    According to information I've received, UW's of most manufacturers are very similar to what D'Addario has posted in a pdf file on their site. I punch that information into Greenboys spreadsheet tension calculator.

    Those numbers for the Fender set may not be dead on, but they'll be close and the uniformity will certainly be better than the GHS set than you're using now. Plus the C# will be tighter and more responsive, with little or no nut modification necessary.
  6. maglor64


    Jul 24, 2007
    Bass Below wrote:
    This is all very helpful for me, Because I also play C# Standard tuning. My only complication to this is that I sometimes drop the low string to a B for Drop B tuning.

    Any thoughts?

  7. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York

    In that case I would suggest going with the .175 or even the .195 as your low string, especially if you plan on playing at that tuning for some time. With your low string heavier than what I'm currently using, you can drop it down to B and at least still have some tension. I'm not sure what kind of sound you'll get out of it, but it'll be much better than dropping that far down on a so called standard gauge string.

    As I said in the post you quoted, change the 85 to a 90, and would stick with those gauges for the rest of the set. They're working out just fine for me. The only bad thing is that the stainless steel is devouring my fingerboard.
  8. Roland777


    Jun 1, 2006
    Dude, I seriously think he's referring to C#1 - not C#0... In which case, a .110-.125 will suffice, depending on what kind of tension you like. I tried tuning a .105 to C will tensionwise pleasant results.
  9. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    Roland, I'm pretty sure you're right. I was going by the quick assumption that he was using a 5 string, tuned the way I do.

    I assumed he was talking about dropping his 5th string (which if his standard tuning was C#, would be tuned to G#) down to B -1. Scary, but I would never mock trying new things.

    Anyway, my mistake.

    Maglor64, I would go with 50-65-90-120, that is assuming you're tuning C# standard on a 4 string. If you're going to be dropping that low string to a B on occasion, a .125 might be better. With a .125, you're still a hair under 40lbs. at C# and around 32 lbs. at B. Not great at B, but you wouldn't want to go much higher otherwise you'll be way too tight at C#.
  10. maglor64


    Jul 24, 2007

    You are correct, I was referring to C# Standard on a 4 string, dropping the C# to a B.

    Bass Below
    Thank you,

    I think your right on with the 125-90-65-50 set.

    ...however, things have become more complicated...

    I play both bass and guitar. I have a home studio where I program drums/keys etc. and play bass and guitar. I have been refining by guitar tuning/string gauges as well as my bass string gauges, as of late.

    You can view my guitar progress here:


    Anyway, it’s looking like I will be settling around C standard tuning on my 6 string guitar (24 2/4” scale) and my 4 string bass (34” scale), both of which will be drop tuned about half of the time to drop Bb.

    With all of this in mind, it seems like the way to go in terms of string gauges for my uses (assuming I don’t change my mind again:meh: ) would be:

    [A side benefit of this would be that I occasionally jam with a group of guys that play in E standard, and I could tune this set to B E A D. Standard 5 string tuning with the sacrifice of the G string.]

    As you can see, I’m trying to get a lot out of one bass…

  11. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    Here's what I came up with as the most ideal set for everything you want to do with one bass, without restringing it:


    The 135 will give you a tension of about 40.5 lbs at C, when you drop to Bb you'll be at 32 lbs, which is low and a compromise, but still playable. Tuning BEAD to play with the standard tuned band, you'll be around 36 lbs. That is your most difficult string and that all works.

    The 100 will give you a tension of about 41 lbs at F and about 36.5 at E (when you're BEAD). Very playable.

    The 75 will give you 42 lbs at A# and 36 lbs at A

    The 55 gives you 40 lbs at Eb and 35 lbs at D

    So with your C standard, you have a tension all across the board that only varies by a pound and a half at the most from string to string. Plus, it's hovering around 40 lbs, which IMO is perfect.

    When you drop that low string to Bb, it's gonna be a bit floppy, but that's just a compromise that you'll have to live with.

    When you tune it BEAD, your tension only varies by a half a pound all the way across. At 36 lbs, it's still very playable.

    I'm in a very similar situation. I messed around with string gauges for a long time with no success. I learned a ton from a member here who goes by the name greenboy. He aided me in two extremely significant ways: he opened my eyes to measuring string tension which helped me find a suitable solution to my tuning issues, and he pointed me in the direction of another member, knuckle_head, who is currently building my ultimate solution.

    All of the advice I've given you so far is garbage compared to this: Contact knuckle-head. It was the best thing I ever did. I know you want to accomplish all of your goals with one bass, I did too. I jam with some friends sometimes, playing covers, and I want to tune my bass standard when I do that, but with my gauge set up, I can't. Once I get my bass from knuckle_head, my Stingray will go back to semi-normal string gauges and will be tuned standard. My Knuckle Quake will be my regular bass, tuned G#-C#-F#-B-E. With normal gauges on the 39.5" scale length, I will not only have the ideal tension, but the use of thinner strings to achieve the same low notes will give me a much better sound. The 165 I'm using now does the job, and gives me adequate tension, but all of those heavy wraps on that string audibly deaden the sound. To accomplish that same G# with a much lighter string is a dream.

    I know what everyone says, they can't afford another bass, especially a custom bass.... neither can I, but I'm finding a way to afford it because it will be worth so much more to me than the monetary value.

    Just my two cents ;) :bassist:
  12. maglor64


    Jul 24, 2007
    Thank you so much Bass Below,

    Its nice to find someone who's willing to help a bro!
  13. maglor64


    Jul 24, 2007
    I have some concerns about going so heavy:

    1. Will the wrapping needed for 135 be significantly more than 120-130 to a degree that would be noticeably sound deadening?

    2. Will I have to file the nut for the 135 to the point that it (the nut) would have to be replaced to hold a traditional E standard set?

    3. Will I have to file the nut for the 100?
  14. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    There is not a significant difference between a .135 and a .130, and the slight benefit in tension will likely prove beneficial

    It is in your best interest to get a new nut as a thicker string will want to sit higher off of the fret board than a nut cut for a standard E tuning - upside is if you end up wanting to put it back you have the old one to put back in (provided the old one comes out undamaged in the replacement process).
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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