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5 String Gauge Question!!!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MIMJAZZ, Dec 6, 2012.



    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I see people who don't like their 34" 5 string basses, because the B is floppy. Wouldn't it just make sense to get a heavier gauge set so the B would tighten up? Or even just use a flat wound set that would add a bunch more tention?

    I really want to he one of those Fender P V basses, but the 34" length is deterring me a little.
  2. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I believe that a heavier gauge will actually flop more.


    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Lighter gauge?
  4. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Heavier gauge is the way too do it. A lot also depends on string construction,playing technique,etc.. I use a .130 B.
  5. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I use DR FatBeams but a DDT or HiBeam low B in .135. Works great.
  6. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    It is common for five string players to buy light gauge 4 string sets and heavier B strings as a single.
  7. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Yes. Almost all sets have a B much looser than the EADG, it's just a tradition with no good reason behind it. Check out 'balanced tension' sets from Circle K Strings and a few others.

    A heavier gauge will flop LESS.
  8. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Yup, I like to dig in a bit so the more common lighter B wasn't doing it for me. The heavier gauge solves the problem. My 5er has a D'Addario medium gauge set 50-135. I like them a lot.
  9. Stringing through-body is reported to tighten up a floppy B-string.
    My SR5 is bridge-only, but the incoming Warmoth deluxe 5 is through-body.
  10. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    I use .130 or .135 on all my 34" scale basses. I also try to string through the body, if possible. To the OP, the I've found the B on the Fender P fiver to be pretty darn good!
  11. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Not all 34" scale 5ers have 'floppy' B strings
  12. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Yep, it really is that easy. Also, it may be worth taking along a headstock tuner when trying basses in stores. There is no guarantee that anyone ever tuned a store bass up to pitch properly. I know when I try store basses all I do is match the fifth fret on each string to the open string above it to get them roughly in tune. I have to guess which of the four or five strings is closest to being on pitch and tune the others against that. That "floppy B string" could just be one that is tuned to an A or a G. I've never met a floppy 34 inch B string on a bass I know was tuned properly.

    I do not know if this is a consistent difference between the chains or not but the one Sam Ash near me has a much better selection of Fender Vs than all the local GCs combined. Take a tuner to a Sam Ash, try some Fender Vs, and I think your concerns will be dispelled.

  13. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I've been using Circle K balanced tension sets for the last several months. The tension is remarkably close, string to string. String life is quite good.

    Worth a try, IMO. If you hit their web page, you'll see the gauges are lighter on the top and heavier on the bottom than the traditional string sets.

    I like them very much. The disparity in tension in general--and the floppiness of the low string, in particular--of standard sets has irritated me for a long time. These fixed it.
  14. mandohack


    May 6, 2011
    MI, USA
  15. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    "Floppy B string" has several causes. Mere diameter of the string really doesn't tell you a lot about the string's mass, and therefore about its tension at pitch. Core wire, wrap wire, number of wraps, ratio of the different wraps, alloys, etc. all come into play. Add in the variables of the neck construction (if the neck is flexing, the string's going to be floppy too) and neck attachment, etc. And we've not even considered proper set up and how it feels tuned to wherever YOU are playing it.

    Unfortunately, it eventually comes down to experimenting until you find what's right for you. I've played some great 34" 5-string basses with well-defined and good feeling B, I've played some 35" ones that flop. I was attracted to the Lakland 5's because every one I've played (all 35") had solid B strings that sounded like the rest of the bass, and not like some foreign appendage. But some of the Music Man StingRay 5's and one G&L L-2500 I've played (34") had great B strings too. While most of the Peavey Cirrus basses (35") had good B's, two of them didn't.

    There are a lot of variables to consider

  16. I have a Fender P-5 that I bought about a month ago. I've been experimenting with strings on it. It came with .130 Fenders. I tried a 129 GHS Brite Flat, it was tight but too thunky & lacking definition. I've now settled on a...wait for it...

    ....125 DR Black Beauty!! This thing is tight, has definition and the sound difference between the E and B is VERY minimal!
    Also, these DRs were previously broken in on my 35" scale Spector Rebop 5.
  17. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I am a fan of DAddario EXPs on my P5 and my Hannewinkle Jazz style 5. I have tried everything under the sun and these seem to be a nice compromise for general playing.
  18. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Floppy B doesn't have much to do with string guage IME. Also 34" basses don't "flop" more than 35" basses automatically. Floppyness has more to do with string tension and bass build.

    I've used .119 guage B's up to .130 guage. One isn't more floppy than the other. If anything the .119 was LESS floppy because it was a higher tension string.

    I have a USA G&L L2500, 34" scale. No flop at all with any B I've used.