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Best fat sounding P bass strings-- what gauge and why?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by alaskaleftybass, May 9, 2018.


  1. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I just bought an Ibanez P bass clone off ebay a while back and while it sounds great, I'm wanting more thump. I'm using Hartke Lights XL's (don't laugh) and I want to move to a heavier gauge. I love the thick 41mm neck width and the baseball bat thickness of the neck.

    So without breaking the neck (this one seems too think to break) what gauge strings and brand would you use on my bass to get a thumpy tone with my little Ampeg combo? BTW I did a search through TB and didn't find this covered.... Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Take your pick of three. Fender 9050M and GHS Precision 3050 Flats are both available in a: 0.055-G; 0.070-D, 0.090 -A, and a 0.105 -E. these are both excellent traditionally voiced sets.
    LaBella has their Original 1954 set (a.k.a. the 'James Jamerson Set') 0.052 -G; 0.073 -D, 0.095 -A, and 0.110 -E. Each set has it's own merits the least of which is high tension city.
     
    AModestRat and trothwell like this.
  3. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks @Linnin . I will find some of those sets to try out. Although the Ibanez SR100 neck is closer in size to the P bass neck it still is smaller so I am a bit worried about tension on the truss rod.... but thanks!
     
  4. Fat tone doesn't necessarily require ridiculously heavy gauges, like the ones recommended by @Linnin.

    If you want the classic fat thump without being too hard on the neck of your bass, try either the GHS Precision Flats M3050, 45-65-85-105, or the La Bella 760FL, 43-60-82-104. Your bass will love you for it. ;)
     
    tallboybass and alaskaleftybass like this.
  5. G-Z

    G-Z

    Apr 13, 2018
    Straya
    Currently trying out GHS Pressurewound M7200s (106-84-62-44) on both Ric 4003 and Fender Elite PB. Good results so far. A bit smoother feel than the previous roundwounds but still punchy.
     
    Bald-N-Bassy and alaskaleftybass like this.
  6. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Yes it does!
     
  7. For you, yes. But not everyone is willing or able to deal with the added tension/stiffness.

    The point I was trying to make is if the OP is currently using the Hartke Lights, anything can be fatter without going to the extremes.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  8. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you both, gentlemen. To be honest, I think the string that feels the lightest to me is my A string. My E string is nice and thumpy. Maybe my G string too. I'm wondering if I went Medium gauge next, that might give me what I need. But considering I'm using Lights, my new Ibanez P bass sounds pretty thumpy. It's just certain notes on the A and G string that sound a bit thin. Oddly, the D string sounds nice and thumpy too.
     
  9. ThumbBum

    ThumbBum

    Dec 16, 2016
    I use the d'addario nyxl long scale heavy strings on my MIA Fender Precision Bass. It is deep and boomy with a nice darkness to it. I like it and probably will stay with them forever or until they stop making them.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  10. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    GHS Boomers, maybe?
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  11. FingerDub

    FingerDub

    Jan 8, 2016
    Get a 5-string set and tune the B string to E, E to A, etc.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  12. "Fat" can mean "thumpy", but some strings can be better described as being "thick and punchy". For the latter, you can try the GHS Boomers 45-105.
     
    alaskaleftybass and BOOG like this.
  13. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Sounds like a bit of pickup adjustment might be in order? Not sure how one would go about adjusting for just the A & G strings though, heh--maybe raising just the treble side of each pickup a bit, lowering the bass side of the D/G pickup a bit?

    I've got GHS medium .045-.105s on my '60 P and think they sound pretty huge...and I see the Hartke Light set has roughly the same gauges. If you like the fatness of the strings, honestly, just going over to flats will add 4100º of thump factor and some extra tension. I saw the .055-.105 Regular set mentioned above, and they'll have even more fatness. It'll be vintagetown, so if you want more modern sizzle with that thump, flats may not be the move.

    Getting a good set of flats is never a bad idea, though, bc you can keep them forever and put them on another bass down the road, and they never really die, they just thump away.
     
    patzilla83 and alaskaleftybass like this.
  14. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! Keep 'em coming, I'm listening! :thumbsup:
     
  15. ZachM

    ZachM

    Nov 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I don't know if you've ever tried this, but you'd almost certainly damage the neck (or even completely snap the neck) with this much tension. I'd be surprised if you could even get it to pitch at all.

    OP, get a custom set made if you want heavier tension. Heavy tension generally runs around 42-43 lbs, you can use a tension calculator to figure out a balanced set as others have mentioned.
     
    quickfix and alaskaleftybass like this.
  16. patzilla83

    patzilla83 Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    Pflugerville, TX
    The most "p-bass" sounding strings are flats.

    That said, I prefer nickel roundwounds with maple fretboards. I like DR sunbeams 45-105.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  17. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks guys, these are great suggestions. I'm very worried about damaging the neck, I think I'll avoid anything too drastic. I did notice that the D string is a bit thinner than it used to be on the new style of Hartkes.
     
  18. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    Fat tone with very comfort stiffness should go to labella LTF4A.
     
  19. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you! looking it up....
     
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    I suggest having the frets crowned and a setup done.

    For thump, you gotta let the strings get old, broken in and stanky so they don't ring out. Also, lifting off the fret board after playing a note helps, like upright players do.

    I have 20 y.o. half-rounds on my Ibanez Musician P/J. I use a pick, palm muting and bridge foam to get some thump.

    La Bella 760s have good feel. I put new ones on a bass I sold recently. I had to tweak the truss rod a bit to account for the increase in tension from the old ones.

    I don't really change strings once they're on.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.

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