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After Almost 9 Years Of Playing, I Tried My First Light-Gauge Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jan 9, 2005.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I celebrated getting another bass a few weeks back by getting two new sets of light-gauge strings for my two main basses. I always wanted to try them but was worried that they would sound weak or twangy. I put them on and WOW! They're so easy to play! Double-thumping is now much easier and doesn't get painful after a short period. Three and four-note chords are also easier to play faster. You have to play a little lighter, but the tone isn't missing like I feared.

    The two sets I got were a Fodera Diamond series stainless 5-string set for my fretted and a DR Sunbeams nickel 5-string set for my fretless. The DRs are actually custom gauges apparently, with a .130 B string (woohoo!) going down to a .40 G string. They're designed to have an consistent feel going from a light-gauge G to a fairly heavy-gauge B, although in my experience I tend to prefer strings that are pretty similar in size from one string to the next. They both sound great-the Foderas are snappy and articulate with a nice even bottom, and the DR Sunbeams are very fretless-friendly with their warm midsy sound, although the G string takes quite a bit of finesse to keep a mwahful sound in the lower registers, otherwise it gives a more clear ringing tone.

    So here's a question-is adjusting the action or getting the intonation accurate (particularly on fretless) any more difficult with light-gauge strings? I normally bring my bass to a shop for setups, but I'd like to know for when I do my own setups.
     
  2. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    well, there you have it...the two best string companies in the world!!

    i love Fodera and DR's (the foderas tend to get better the longer you have them!)

    anyway, carry on! ;) :D
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Not that I've noticed... and I use a .120 B.
     
  4. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Joplin,Missouri
    Hey cool another light gauge user! I did the same thing! Played fatties for years until i had to use some lighter gauged strings at a show when i broke a set! Made me very happy! Like you i loved the feel and the ease of playing after that. The only problem is if you get used to them you will almost have to order good strings on-line. Because i cant find a local store that will sell them! :scowl:
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    That's okay-all the strings I've gotten in the past five years have been ordered online because A. finding 5+ string sets around here is difficult and B. finding them in the brands I want is impossible.
     
  6. I used to run Ken Smith Slapmaster ultralights (.030, .050, .070, .090) on my Kramer (when I played it with any regularity), and it's like having power steering, compared to using heavier gauge strings. You do have to have a lighter attack, though.
     
  7. tappel

    tappel

    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Lighter strings will vibrate more freely so, yes, a good setup will be a little more difficult to attain.

    Tom
     
  8. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Australia
    I've used light guage strings on my 4 string for the last 3 years and I feel like I am playing a totally different instrument when I play something with heavier strings. And just so you know, I have an ultra low action, with very little neck releif. I have had to learn to play closer to the bridge, but I can control volume better that way and I like the tone better. But yes, lighter touch necessary.
     
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    What James said:D

    A good setup is easy. OTOH learning to play with a low setup and light strings takes a bit of effort.