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Are D'Addario Chromes bad for a 'vintage' neck because of their high tension?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Vinnie Boombatz, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    I'm asking because I put them on a '76 P-bass. Had to adjust the relief because these are higher tension strings compared to the D'Addario EXL Nickel Wound Rounds that were previously on there (.045 .065 .080 .100)

    If these are not a good idea for an older instrument, are there any other 'bright' sets of flats out there similar to the Chromes, but lower tension?

  2. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    Your 76 Precision should have a pretty substantial neck. I wouldn't expect medium tension flats to cause any trouble, and truss rod adjustments are normal when switching string gauge/tension.
  3. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Solid-body instruments of any caliber at all aren't about to be damaged by a set of strings, y'know.
  4. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    I kind of thought so, but just wanted to make sure. I come from playing Telecasters, which are virtually indestructible guitars, and liken to Precision Bass to the tele as far as it's durability and utilitarian nature. I guess I just needed reassurance that my P-bass was of the same caliber as a Tele!
  5. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I'd say if you're worried about anything, just make sure all the screws on the bass are snug. Loose bridge, neck, tuner, and/or string retainer assemblies are bad in general.
  6. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    Absolutely agree. I've already gone through the bass and snugged everything up recently!
  7. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I have had them on my 70's Fenders all years of basses never an issue and no problem IMO.
  8. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Your bass came from the factory with Fender 850 flats, which had at least as much tension as Chromes.

  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    OP, This is why it has a truss rod in the first place: to counteract string tension.
  10. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    Thanks for the tip, but I know the purpose of a truss rod and what it's there for. As I mentioned, I adjusted the relief to compensate the higher tension strings. My question was pertaining to the fact that before I recently acquired this bass it ha apparently sat in the case with the previous set of strings on it for something like 25 years. I've never been fortunate enough to own an older instrument like this and was just making sure that it was ok to put the higher tension strings on after lower tension strings had been on there most likely for the entire life of the bass.
  11. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Fair enough Truth is, anything can happen to a truss rod, brand spankin new or 40 years old. The wood is the least of your worries as long as it has not been kept stored in a wet environment or left baking in the Arizona sun. An old neck like that will be very stable now until it rots away; with proper care, certainly many decades. I guess the big picture is that it was made to be strung with steel under tension. So go forth and use what you like on it. Treat the truss rod with respect and a light hand and let it do its work in sharing the strain of the strings. Enjoy your bass. 8)
  12. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    Sweet! Thanks for the info. Much appreciated!
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I disagree somewhat with the "use 'em and don't worry" (paraphrased) advice.

    You didn't state the exact gauge you are using, but I find the my vintage 1955 P-bass and vintage 1971 P-bass (with a '69 neck) set up better with lighter strings. I use the gauges you switched out, either Chrome flats or Ernie Ball Blue Steel flats.

    Don't forget that the neck wood compresses, loses stiffness and camber, and that there are only so many turns on the truss nut, even with a washer or two. Go light on the old instruments is my advice. All IMHO.
  14. One thing to keep in mind is the generally stiffer nature of flats in comparison to rounds does not always translates to "higher tension" in terms of the linear pulling force exerted on the neck. It is sometimes confusing when the terms "tension" (ie pulling force) and "stiffness" (degree of flexibility) are used interchangeably.

    For example, the total weight of D'A Chromes 40-100 is actually less than the XL Nickel rounds 45-105, which can't be that bad on any healthy neck, vintage or otherwise. The only reason why I downsized from 45-105 to 40-100 when I switched from rounds to flats was because of their stiffness.
  15. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    According to D'Addarios tension sheets a given gauge Chrome is only slightly higher tension than a comparable XL or ProSteel.

    They are stiffer because of how they are wound, not because they are ag a drastically higher tension.
  16. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN