B String Question

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by madbassplaya, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Been playing a while now and I started with a 5 string bass with a low B, so i'm not a 5 string noob. :D

    I see a lot of guys going bigger in the B string world .135 plus. I've tried a .135 one time and it was HUGE to me. I've been using a .130 for a while now but I'm just not satisfied with the tone of the string as I have been with a smaller B string (.125). I've used three different brands with a .130 and none of them satisfy me as much as the tone of a smaller string.

    Why is this? it's only .05 of a difference.
  2. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Well, the difference is tension :) The thicker a string is, the higher the tension. So, Some people prefer a .125 B, others (like me) a .140 :)
  3. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I like a more taut string but the smaller B's seem to sound less thuddy and more natural.
  4. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I agree. I've also found different gauge B strings react differently depending on the gauges and setup of the other strings. I' tried 125s - 143s (143 from Circle K) and 135 or 140 seems to be the sweet spot for me.

    But Circle K does make a great string!
  5. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    If you are playing a 35" scale bass, anything over a .130 probably isn't needed. String style,core,and technique all factor in too. I used .135s on all my 5 and 6 strings (34"),but I lightened up my touch a while back,and a .130 does just fine.
  6. brianerwin


    Oct 21, 2012
    I started out with the .130 on mine as it came with the bass as standard I assume. I like it a lot
    But I guess I just got used to it. The 135 & 140 sounds really big, maybe would be more loose on the
    Bass guitar, not sure though. It would have to be a major adjustment to the nut on my bass to go bigger.
  7. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    What is it what you are looking for?
  8. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Maybe i'm just more used to the sound of a smaller B now? I used .125 for years and it was great and I used a .128 once (labelle, I believe) and it was outstanding as well. I've recently started using some different sets that I really dig the EADG strings but I don't care for the .130 B string. I've tried bigger B's and smaller B's and it seems I enjoy the smaller a bit more.

    I'm guessing that a .130 plus has more wraps on it and that's what is causing the difference in tone.
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    The worst B I tried was a .135. The best was a .136. It's not just about the gauge.

    (If you hadn't guessed, the .136 is a Circle K.)
  10. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    So what do you think the difference between the two? Is it the core, or the number of wraps?
  11. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    I'm really liking the 125 I have on my Bongo, but that's more of a feel thing than anything.
  12. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I used a .125 Sunbeam on a Bongo 5HH and Stingray 5HH and they both killed!
  13. .05 is a huge difference.. it may be a small number, but when it comes to a musical instrument, and its strings, the smallest adjustment can make a huge difference.

    if you found what you like, stick to it. what works for you is what matters, even if my B string is half an inch thick.
  14. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I couldn't really say. I'm not sure what Circle K do differently but it's the first B that feels and sounds like a regular string, rather than one that needs special treatment and a light touch. Possibly the number of wraps. The result is that it looks big but doesn't feel it and doesn't produce a dead thud.
  15. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Plus the gauges that Circle K makes are a bit different then most string producers make :)
  16. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    Yep I've experienced the same thing: while using a 36" fiver, 130 was quite good, 135 perfect; Then coming back to a 34" JB, had to came down to a 125 tappered, 130 was even to muddy, probably because of the lack of definition due to shorter scale.
  17. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I think that's the opposite actually. A longer scale would mean that a lighter string would have more tension so, for example, a .125 on a 35" may have the same tension as say a .130 on a 34". So you'd want a heavier gauge on a shorter scale to avoid it being too floppy.
  18. It really depends on the bass, the strings and your touch. I've had 5 strings that had floppy B strings and never really satisfied me. Then, I've had basses with great B strings and I've used the same strings gauge and everything. Also, some people play with a heavier touch and can benefit from a lighter gauge string. Others, like myself, are finesse players and a lighter gauged string sounds a little thinner to me than a heavier one. String construction, especially the core, come into play as well. A hexagonal core will feel tighter than a round core string.
  19. I like the tension on the B string to match the E. The best strings I have played are the Circle k Strings .142. I have also had success with Daddarios .145.

  20. ^^^^
    "but I lightened up my touch..."-QUOTE

    That's the key right there to a good-sounding low "B". No matter what gauge you use.