Appropriate gauges?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Guimdonatron, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. I am currently looking into lighter gauges strings
    for my Noguera 5 string (being strung from BEADG
    to EADGC). At the moment my bass is strung with
    TI Powerbass strings coming in at:

    .119, .107, .080, .068, .047

    I am now looking at Circle K's custom set.
    I picked the following gauges based on a falling
    rate of tension per string. I assume this is okay,
    or should it be relatively similar? Anyways...

    .094 at 34.1 lbs
    .067 at 31.5 lbs
    .049 at 30.7 lbs
    .035 at 28.6 lbs
    .025 at 25.5 lbs

    The main purpose for this change is
    because I have a light touch and I would
    like to begin incorporating more Classical
    guitar techniques.

    I primarily play jazz, hip hop, and dnb/jungle.

    Also, can anyone recommend me a site
    to get a nut? I'll have to replace one I
    imagine and I am not willing to pay $70
    for the local luthier...
  2. As a side note, I have other basses that will
    have heavier gauges so I would prefer all
    comments to be related to lighter gauge strings
    as opposed to, "Just play normal gauges! Jaco did!"

    I respect everyone's preferences, but I'm looking
    to experiment, and I aim to conduct an educated
    experiment if possible.

    Thank you for everyone's time.
    I truly appreciate it!
  3. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    You can likely use the nut you have. I believe you will find tonal benefit from the tension relationships you put together and am looking forward to your take on it once you do this.

    If you have the budget, having a balanced set for comparison/backup may be prudent.
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I would think you would want it similar, or even a slight bias in tension towards the C string. This is because the more mass to the string will start to damp the string's overtones, so over time the heavier E string will not be as bright or even toned as the C string. Classical solo double bassists prefer even tension across the board, as opposed to heavier lower strings for section use.

    Something like the new balanced set D'Addario EXL-220BT 40-55-70-95, plus a .030 for a C string sounds like it will do what you are wanting to do right now. XL's tend to be twangy, but they settle in with good, almost "scooped" clarity, which may be exactly what you're looking for.
  5. Aceonbass

    Aceonbass Commercial User

    Apr 10, 2004
    I use Circle K matched tension strings. I happen to like about 40 lbs tension per string, but their chart makes it real easy to pick lighter gauged strings in a lower matched tension too.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I do something similar, but definitely not that light!

    I use custom sets from Bass Strings Online, I like being able to choose the gauges I want plus not being stuck with one type of string. He has a huge selection of different types and makes that you can make custom sets with:

    If you want something you can play with a light touch, I highly recommend round core strings. Look at DR...HiBeams for steel or Sunbeams for nickel. The round cores make them super responsive and effortless to play.
  7. Diggin' all of these responses so far,
    definitely stuff to think about. I'm not
    sure if I'll end up bumping up about .05
    on all of the strings.

    Can someone provide a link or explain how
    tension effects tone? I understand the difference
    in feel, but I don't fully grasp the tonal qualities.

    Thanks again, guys!
  8. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Assuming all other things equal, more tension means that the string is less flexible, so a greater percentage of the energy is transferred into vibrations of the harmonics and less to the fundamental frequency. This means that the higher-tension string will be a bit brighter and clearer, but the lower-tension string will be a bit fatter and bassier.

    Although more extreme, try detuning your G-string down to D and play it along side your open D-string. This should give you an idea of the role tension plays in tone.
  9. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    Through years of experimentation i have discovered that tension falling from low to high is perfect for alternative techniques such as chords, tapping, fingerstyle, string bending. So your set is ideal for you, it will work better than an 'equal tensions' set. In fact my recommended gauges for other brands are very close: .095 .070 .050 .035 .025. Make sure to build a custom set from singles, there are no inverted tension sets available at the moment, despite the many advantages, CKS singles come at no cost penalty compared to the sets.
    You very probably will not need a new nut, i have been using a .040 in a .165 slot and a .007 in a .032 slot with no problems, as long as the nut floor has a curve the downforce at the nut keeps the string centered just as well as fretting with a finger would.
    The .030 is tighter than the .040, which itself is too tight for someone with a light touch who wants to use advanced and guitar techniques.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    OK, then, maybe a .028. D'Addario has a tension guide that can sort that out.

    It is my experience that the higher gauges, especially on the E string, have damped out with less overtone response than smaller gauges, over my 38+ years of playing bass. YMMV.
  11. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I think a big part of that is in construction technique. String manufacturers will often make the E-string stiffer (I think D'Addario uses a 3-wrap?) so that it can stay at a lower tension and still feel somewhat consistent with the other strings.