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Change in string gauge... suggestions on tone adjustment

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by baileyboy, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Hello, TB

    I recently dropped string gauge due to finger inflammation issues when playing... went from 45-100 to 35-95. Although my fingers are happier after long bouts of gigging, the G (.35) and D (.55) seem "tinny" to me and lack any real deepness. I use a Walkabout with 212 Radiator Scouts so have never had problem with achieving bottom, but these two strings seem to be lost. Any ideas on bass/amp adjustments that might make them fuller in the mix? Thank you.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sure, a couple of suggestions:

    1. When I switched to lower tension strings, I lightened my touch and moved my plucking hand closer to the bridge to compensate.

    2. Are you using a compressor?

    Also, it should go without saying, any time you switch brand or gauge of strings, it pays to do a full setup (truss rod, bridge saddles, intonation, pickup height, maybe the nut if it needs it).
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
    Nashrakh likes this.
  3. Just out of curiosity, what exact make/type of strings are you talking about?

    At age 60 and having gone through three trigger release surgeries so far (with at least one more coming), I'm seriously considering going lighter with my strings for the sake of my battle-scarred hands.

    My go-to gauges for the last few of years have been 45-60-80-105. I currently have the GHS Boomers on my P and the Fender 9050 flats on my J, both in those exact gauges. Instead of going down in gauges, though, I'm thinking of trying out a few of the strings that are known for their flexibility/suppleness due to either the round core or the small hex core, such as the Round Core Boomers, the Dunlop Super Bright Nickels and the La Bella Low Tension Flats.

    I guess my point is going down in gauges is not the only way to go lighter with your strings if you feel those skinny G and D might end up sacrificing the tone.
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I have not found thinner gauge/lower tension strings to thin out the tone. These recordings were made with TI Jazz Rounds on two different basses.

    No loss of tone on these at all. If fact, they are pretty full ranged in tonality.
  5. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    They will have a different tone character of course because they are thinner, but the only issue is you being used to the tone character of larger gauges, you'll adjust and get used to them and will see there is not actually any problem with the tone, it's just different.
    Concerning 'deepness', lower tension strings actually have more fundamental relative to harmonics.
    You could try tilting your pickups closer to the high strings, or tilt them different amounts so that the neck pickup is increasingly dominant for the high strings.
  6. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Thank you, all. michael_t, I am currently using D'Addario EXL180, but just ordered DR Sunbeams (slightly thicker gauge: 40, 60, 75, 95) to see if the round core makes a difference, too.
  7. Those Sunbeams will definitely be more flexible/supple than the EXL180. You also might want to try the Round Core Boomers 40-55-75-95 for comparison.
  8. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I'd highly recommend checkin out a set of Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats. Incredibly supple and flexible. Try and find a use set as they are pricey but they require only a light touch to make em sing.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  9. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Will do just that, thank you!
  10. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    I much rather prefer rounds to flats... I've seen great things written about these strings, however.

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