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5 string bass - low B advice please!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Koldov, Oct 13, 2016.


  1. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    Hi All,

    A while ago I bought a second-hand 5 string from ebay due to my new band playing in drop C tuning.

    The strings were dull and lifeless as expected, so I swapped the ones I could from my spare 4 stringers, but was obviously missing the low B.

    My local shop didn't have a lot of choice but had an old Trace Elliot .135 gauge (I think) string out the back (guess there's not a lot of call for them). Well, alarm bells rang when the winding at the stopper ring wouldn't fit through the bridge, but a bit of reading on the internet suggested the bridge hole could be drilled out! I seem to remember hammering the winding, but anyway I got it to fit through somehow...

    Horrible string, felt like a cable! I was expecting it to be fat but it just felt horrible and was still very dull and a bit flabby.

    After quite a bit of research I got hold of someone from Spector (who made the bass - Performer 5 Classic) and although he said it was a very old model, suggested .125's would have been the original B string.

    So, I hopped on ebay and found a super bright D'Addario XL prosteel 0.125 (Long Scale as I found a few of my other 4 string spares too short even for the other positions). Unfortunately what I didn't see was 'tapered' and although I thought it would be ok, this means both ends! So even though it is long scale the taper at one end sits in the nut and the taper at the other sits on the saddle... That's not right...

    So really all personal preferences about type of string aside, does anyone know what string I need to put on this guitar?!

    These mistakes are getting quite expensive now so I just need to make sure the string I get will a) fit through the bridge hole.... b) not have a taper that sits in the nut or on the saddle... c) will be the right scale length... d) be the right gauge for feel (I know that's personal - but the .125 although totally wrong in every other department 'feels' about right - could I go thinner?).

    Many thanks in advance.

    Kol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  2. christle

    christle

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    With D'Addario strings you would need Super Long scale because your bass is 35" scale IIRC. Any DR set should work and any Ken Smith set should also work. BassStringsOnline will have an excellent selection of strings for your bass. They are helpful with suggestions, are priced competitively and have a discount for TalkBass members. Their owner, @SLaPiNFuNK, is an active member on TalkBass.

    As for gauge I find .130 to work well for me.
     
    Klonk, 4StringTheorist and OOD like this.
  3. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    Thanks for the prompt reply!

    I think you are right with the 35" scale length.

    Unfortunately I'm in the UK, so it looks like BassStringsOnline is a no go for me.

    Is D'Addario the only maker that I'd have to watch out for in terms of needing Super Long Scale strings?

    And I'm hoping if it doesn't state taper then the bridge end is not tapered (I mean it's not like 'a thing' with all D'Addario bass strings is it?).

    I like the brightness on the low B and .125 feels right (for a 5 string beginner).

    Only I've seen this one:

    D'Addario XB125SL Nickel Wound XL Bass Strings and Single.125 Super Long Scale

    And it states - **PLEASE NOTE** Length of string (ball end to start of taper) - 38" or 96.5cm

    I think that's a little long for my low B tuning peg.
     
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    OOD likes this.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Didn't you say the normal string was too short?

    Take a measurement of your current string from just past the nut to the start of the ball end to see the minimum length you need.
     
  6. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    Thank you, didn't see that! even with shipping and a terrible £ - $ situation (for us anyway) seems like a good deal!
     
  7. OOD

    OOD

    Jul 29, 2009
    If BSO does ship to your location, you should definitely buy from there. Jason knows a lot about bass strings.

    Unfortunately B strings are fickle strings, so it might take some time to find one you love. I personally use a 145 D'addario nickel to avoid it being floppy.
     
  8. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    Well, overall not too short as such. Only it's just that the taper starts the wrong side of the nut (and only by maybe 5mm)!

    The taper is for winding on the peg, is that right?

    I'm a bit new to bass, even newer to 5 string and (a bit naughty I know) vary rarely change my strings.

    I'll do the measurements tonight and update.
     
  9. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    All measured up now:

    Saddle to Nut = 35"

    Back end of bridge (string ball end) to Low B tuning peg 38 1/2"

    So that makes these spot on:

    D'Addario XB125SL Nickel Wound XL Bass Strings and Single.125 Super Long Scale

    **PLEASE NOTE** Length of string (ball end to start of taper) - 38"


    Thanks again for all the help!
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    > Unfortunately what I didn't see was 'tapered' and although I thought it would be ok, this means both ends! So even though it is long scale the taper at one end sits in the nut and the taper at the other sits on the saddle... That's not right...

    > b) not have a taper that sits in the nut or on the saddle

    'Tapered' means 'taperwound' which refers to the taper at the bridge end, it is intentional that the narrow part sits in the saddle, this greatly helps clarity, brightness and tone, highly recommended.
    If you want to buy in the UK try stringsdirect.co.uk, great company, they stock, and can order in, any D'Addario single string.

    > The taper is for winding on the peg, is that right?

    Yes, the string will break if the full gauge is wound around the tuner post.
     
  11. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Does that mean you're tuning the B string up to C?
     
  12. Koldov

    Koldov

    Jun 13, 2016
    Hi,

    Sorry for the late reply....

    Initially I wasn't, but I found over time hitting first fret on such a heavy string pretty tiresome, a long way to 'travel' and didn't have quite the same feel as an open string - so eventually I did.
     
  13. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggravesmusic.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    On that topic, Koldov- The nut my be cut too high if its difficult to press down to the first fret- it should be just as easy as any other note to get. It's rather common for the nut from the guitar factory to be too high, and it needs to be 'slotted' (and few sellers do this)- a special nut file is used to cut those string slots down to where they are just a bit higher than the fret- this makes playing a lot more comfortable by the way. You can have a tech do it on a set up for you, at some point.
     
    gebass6 likes this.

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