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And another thing... string choices for acoustic bass guitar

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Asomatous, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Asomatous


    Oct 25, 2017
    Okay.. I see lots said about this but I need some extra advice.
    So, I got my first acoustic bass guitar and I ripped the frets out. The D’Addario phosphors were nasty so they had to go straight away.. then came thought about string choices (I have played Fretless electric for years but this is a different thing)... something else which complicated things nicely is that I have decided to tune in fifths as A-E-B-F”-C” (can’t find a hash key on this board) which means I need to construct sets from singles to get the right tension.
    So, for simplicity and because on paper it seemed a good idea I bought some D’Addario half-rounds. I won’t turn this into a rant but I’m not a fan! Strangely rough and abrasive and with a LOT of friction, I never felt anything like them and I don’t want to feel them for much longer. They also sound pretty dull.

    so... I looked at the GHS pressure wounds and they only do them in sets with no super lights... I need my top string very thin. I went with .130, .95, .65, .45, .30 and all except the A string (lowest on the five in this tuning) have too much tension on this bass, forcing me to tune down to a whole tone, giving me a low G which can’t resonate so well with this body..

    so, if the strings are similar tension to the D’Addario halfs I probably want a .22 or something up top, which means I’ll PROBABLY ave to use a guitar string for that, but I need something totally similar to the lower strings.

    so, I am saying “so” a lot and this is a little more complicated than I want it to be.

    BASSICALLY: Is there a string manufacturer making fairly low tension strings which are available in singles and go up to extremely light gauge or into usual guitar range??? I was so into Warwick Black Label strings on my 6 string thumb that I never looked further after that point, and I’ve never used lighter strings on a bass than a .30, which would probably be the limit when built FOR bass. D’Addario seem the simple option and maybe I just have to put together a set of their roundwounds, but I was never really a fan or any of their strings on bass (I like the pro-steels for guitar).


    Anyone with ideas of how I can set something up to a good standard with close tonal match would be really appreciated. I am also planning to install a magnetic pick-up on the acoustic so they need to be steel or nickel core (I was interested in trying nylon wound but can’t find any in high gauge singles).
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I would ask Jason at bassstringsonline.com (@SLaPiNFuNK here) and Skip at Kalium strings for advice. If between them they can't find or make what you need, they ain't out there...
  3. Asomatous


    Oct 25, 2017
    Thanks. I did find that first site and there are a lot of options, but I am in England so could work out expensive with shipping and taxes (or could be a bargain).
    I’ve actually been thinking of trying Elixirs nanoweb nickel wound with a .26, .40, .60, .85, .130 ... I thought maybe the coating would save a little board wear. I tried some on the electric YEARS ago and wasn’t so into them but they weren’t bad and could maybe suit an acoustic. And they are easy to put a set together.
    Anyone want to talk me out of the Elixirs?
  4. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    First, Pressurewounds are available at singles from places like Welcome to Bass Strings Online - A Bass Store for Bass Players! or Strings, Instrument Strings, Music Strings for Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Fiddle and More.

    Second, using a tension chart (found here), if you liked the Pressurewound feel/sound, you'd want to do something more akin to PWB128 - PWB84 - PWB54 - PWB28 - PB20 (plain steel). That'll put everything around 27lbs of tension (which was the 128 at A tuning), save the top two which are closer to 20lb.

    A set of nickel strings could be done at 130 - 85 - 55 - 30 - 20 (all wound), which averages around 27.8lbs of tension per string, with the wound 20 being closer to 22.4lbs.
  5. Asomatous


    Oct 25, 2017

    thanks, John. The only issue there is that there won’t be good tonal balance if my top string is a plain steel. So I guess maybe I want the highest gauge possible will wound or I’ll end up with the wrong kind of twang up top. I don’t know if I need the tension quite that low, I’ll try and figure out the tension of the current setup (not particularly matched) and go over the charts.
    I have never used any pressure wounds before so I’m not sure I like it, all I know it that I don’t like the D’Addario grounds! I’m not really so against the idea of reverting to rounds as it’s probably my preferred tone anyway and I think actually less damaging to the fingerboard than these D’Addarios are!
    I guess I am looking for two advices at once, both the possibilities of single strings (thanks for confirming GHS) and also how people feel about different strings for acoustic mass guitar (I know there is a lot of that talk here, but it usually isn’t so descriptive).

    anyway, you’re input is really useful so thanks again!
  6. Asomatous


    Oct 25, 2017
    Ah, sorry, I just saw that with the nickel strings the .20 is wound..
  7. Asomatous


    Oct 25, 2017
  8. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Sadly, no. I don't have records of what the UK Distributor carries.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    At what point did you realize you should have figured out if strings were available for the tuning you wanted to use before you bought the bass?
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If BSO can’t help you find something you miggt try contacting the Gabriel Tenorio String Co. (www.thegts.co) and see if they can help you out.

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