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B string gauge question

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Uncajohnny, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Uncajohnny


    Dec 24, 2011
    Tried a search for this info, but couldn't seem to find this particular info. Have (2) 34" 5-string basses, one a Ibanez Soundgear 405 & the other a Chinese 'BTB' replica (only 34" scale) Both seem to suffer the same problem, ie; the B sting seems 'floppy' when tuned. Thought to cure the problem with some R-Cocco light gauge (40-120) strings, but the B still seem kinda 'loose'. Was thinking some custom size DR-Low Riders (40-60-80-100-115) or CircleK (112 .082 .061 .045 .031) or (118 .090 .067 .049 .035) might make a difference. My question is: will a smaller gauge have slightly more tension when tuned to B or am I not getting the relationship between Gauge size & string tension?
  2. Smaller gauge will have less tension at a given pitch.

    Try a circle K .136 gauge B.
  3. Lemon Of Troy

    Lemon Of Troy Banned

    Nov 6, 2012
    Palmetto State
  4. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Very common complaint, and yet almost all string sets still have the B much looser than the rest. So if you buy a mainstream set with a .135, such as 135 105 85 70 50, the high strings will then be extremely tight.
    You may prefer to design and build a custom set of singles with equal tensions. Or, buy a 'balanced tension' set from Circle K Strings such as the .142 set.
    Tension charts:
  5. Be wary of .142...a lot of bridges won't take that string gauge without drilling it out.

    Sidenote: Has anyone tried GHS Precision Flats on a 34" Fender 5 string? It's a .125 B string. I currently have a .130 round and am wondering if the .125 will be too floppy.
  6. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I use a .118 tuned to E sometimes. Personally, I would want at least a .135 for a B.

    BTW- I'm pretty sure GHS Precision flats have a round core, which results in lower tension. I think you can order a custom set from Bassstringsonline with a .128.
  7. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I went up to a D'Addario steel .135 on my SRA-305 over the stock strings, with great improvement in tone and feel, and the next time I change I'll probably use, due to the mahogany body, GHS steels in 45-60-80-106-138 as a custom set from basstringsonline.
  8. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I have double ball status graphite half wounds on my Steinberger Spirit
    45 65 85 105 130
    and have never understood talk about about a floppy B
  9. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    On my BEAD tuned bass I use .130, .105, .080 and .060 Ernie Ball flatwounds. E, A and D pull about 50 pounds. B does 43 pounds. For me this is enough. If the B is too tight, it produces more highs and less bottom end. I want this booming B, so .130 is a good compromise for me.
  10. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    i use the 0.118" gauge on my B on my 6xers...totally dig the Circle K strings...The B is solid..not floppy at all.