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Absolute lowest tension strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by nickn, Oct 4, 2008.


  1. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Right now I am using GHS Boomers, .040-.095. They are pretty light but I need to go much lighter. I want something so light that the note I'm playing will completely buzz out if I play with anything other than a ginger, soft touch. I know about TI Flats but I'm kinda leary of flatwounds... what about the TI Rounds? I also noticed a set of Rotosounds that was around .090 for the E-string. Any other suggestions? I need the absolute most low-tension strings that exist!
     
  2. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    DR Highbeams/Sunbeams are the lowest tension strings I've ever played. I don't think they get a lot lower than those.
     
  3. jasper383

    jasper383

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
  4. I don't know if you could go this light, but just grab a tenor set and use an A as your E, all the way up. The package that you buy will say "ADGC" but you will tune your bass "EADG" (or however you would like).

    I know a few gospel cats that tune down a half step because they like light tension. Give it a shot, except you will be tuning town by a 4th!
     
  5. TI Jazz Rounds have even less tension than the flats. DR Hi-Beams/Sunbeams are also less tense than most.
     
  6. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks for the ideas, guys. The D'Addario chart is helpful. Looks like the half-round in .090 would make a good E.

    Matt, your post gave me an idea. Rather than buying a separate set of strings to downtune, why not just downtune the strings I have now? I could downtune them to D-standard or something, and capo the 2nd fret to get back to the good ole' EADG. Actually this sounds like what I'll do for now until I buy a set of real low-tension strings... any objections?
     
  7. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Just curious, why do you want such low tension?
     
  8. Sounds like a temporary fix. The tone will be different because you will have effectively created a short scale bass, and if you use muscle memory a lot when playing (if you don't look down much), your fingers might be a little confused.

    But if it doesn't work, just tune it back.
     
  9. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Okay, I think that is what I'll do for now, and like you said, if it ends up not working out, I'll just put it back to normal. In the meantime I'll cook up a set of D'Addario Half-rounds to put on the bass when I can get around to ordering them. They consistently seem like the lowest-tension strings that D'Ad has to offer. Thanks!

    Tendinitis. I talked to a physical therapist whose area of expertise is wrist issues. She's very familiar with the plight of the bass player with an injured wrist, as her son is a bassist. Among a few other things to keep my wrist pain down, she recommended using the lightest gauge strings I could possibly find and playing with the lightest touch possible.
     
  10. You could go high tension with low action.

    Just a thought.
     
  11. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I should clarify that the tendinitis is in my right hand. Unless I'm missing something, I think that the high tension/low action thing would benefit the left but not the right... or am I missing something? :confused:
     
  12. I have it too... but can't imagine that string tension would make a difference... However, I'm also not a doctor.

    The biggest helt to me has been adding multiple strap positions... I used to have a non-adjustable strap (leather) with strap locks, so I had three strap locks on the tail end of the strap. If my wrist was acting up, I would use a different strap position to vary the angle of my wrist. I now have a normal cloth adjustable strap, so the positions are limitless. This really does help... I wear my bass VERY high, like Bill Buddah Dickens high, but I drop the strap a few inches if my wrist is in pain. Try it!
     
  13. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I wish I had a strap that let me go that high. The cheapo nylon 2" strap that I have will go that high, but it makes my left arm/hand numb after a bit. I have a slightly nicer strap that's 3" and padded, but it doesn't seem to allow me to go very high. Grr. I need to get a real strap.

    As for string tension, playing on my OLP MM2 strung up with heavy-gauge flatwounds hurt my wrist like a MOFO... my P-bass strung up with relatively tight hex-core rounds hurts as well... But the Jazz with the .095 rounds is really nice. It seems that going lower in tension only gets better and better... though I wonder if there's a point where you stop seeing any benefits...?
     
  14. TI Jazz Rounds are definitely what you're after. .89 gauge E-string. Super low tension. Plus they use smaller string windings so they have a smoother feel. Great tone. Very warm and organic sounding. They're by far my favorite strings :)
     
  15. cripula

    cripula

    Dec 20, 2006
    Canada
    +1

    I have RSI in both wrists - lower tension strings definitely makes a difference for me. I use DR Hi-Beams and sunbeams (and John Pearse nickels), and TI flats, but the TI Jazz rounds are the lowest tension string I think I've ever played. I wouldn't want them on every bass, but I love them on my '66 Jazz. They feel amazing, super slinky, and really respond to a lighter touch. Very musical strings, I dig 'em.
     
  16. That surprised me, too. I know wrist angle is a major factor for tendinitis but I'm trying to understand how string tension would be a factor. Of course, a high tension string is tighter but you have to pull a loose string further to get the energy into it. Loose strings might actually require more motion (although less force would be required).
     
  17. nickn

    nickn

    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Look guys, I'm no expert, but that's what the doctor said... my primary doc said I have tendinitis, and then I was referred to a wrist specialist who told me, among other things, to use lower string tension. And by golly, it works. Actually the biggest thing that helped my wrist pain was indeed adjusting my wrist angle/position. I now play with the bass in the "classical" position with the body cradled between my legs instead of resting on my right knee, and it makes it a lot more comfy. :)
     
  18. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've been using TI flats for a few years, but I played a friend's bass strung with TI rounds and they were far better than any rounds I can remember in terms of finger noise, feel, and timbre; I may try a set when it's time to change strings. :)
     
  19. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    My way of reducing RSI is to use the thicker strings on lower action. The string needs less "pluck" to get the sound out, and so my fingers move less, i think.
     
  20. bassplayertom77

    bassplayertom77

    Sep 24, 2008
    Rotosound RS66LA, .30-.85. Saw them on Music 123 in the 'other guages' subheading.
     

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