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 Supporting Member 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 Supporting Member 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.