D'addario BT strings...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by VincentGrim, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. VincentGrim


    Aug 17, 2008
    Alright TB, my band is getting ready for when we can hit the road again and I've been experimenting with balanced tension. I need your wisdom. Normally I play a heavy gauge string in E standard. I don't bend much (at all) and like my bass to fight me a little (high tension also does nice things for my tone IMO). I thought I'd try the EXL170BT set, with the .107 low E. I figured it wasn't too far off from the .110 I'm used to, though I was highly suspicious of it's designation as a "light" set of strings.

    Sure enough, the string set doesn't have much tension (for me). It could be my imagination, but I feel like I've played .105 E strings that felt way tighter. I do like the string to string evenness though and general tone, but it feels like the light gauge string set it was advertised as. So I go to pick up a heavier set and the next step up is...much heavier. the EXL160BT has a .120 for the lowest string...Yet, D'addario (suspiciously, yet again) brands the set as a "medium gauge" string set whilst simultaneously not marketing the set as being meant for drop tuning.

    Long story short, conventional knowledge led me to believe that the set I bought would be much heavier than it turned out to be. Now conventional knowledge is telling me that the next step up is going to be too heavy. Has anyone tried the EXL160BT set for E standard? How were they?

    Based on my experience with the EXL170BT, I suspect that due to the nature of the string they are perhaps lighter than their counterparts. That, perhaps despite their gauges, the EXL160BT will feel more like the "medium gauge" string set they are advertised as. I'd just rather not ruin my nut on a hunch if I can avoid it.

  2. You're right about the 107 and the 120 being lighter in tension than their sizes might suggest.

    When I was considering trying the DGCF tuning for the first time, I was actually considering trying the EXL160BT set with the understanding they're designed to be about the same overall tension in DGCF as the 170BT set in EADG at 40-42 lbs. per string. But I ended up deciding against it because using the 120 for the low D would have meant I would have to widen the nut slot on my J-bass, which I didn't want to do. I settled on the GHS Pressurewound M7200 (44-62-84-106), which turned out to be just right for me in terms of overall playing feel - not too tight and not too loose, and no need for any modification on the bass.

    Here's an interesting comparison on the tension figures...

    Pressurewound 106 tuned to E = 48.0 lbs.
    XL Nickel 120 tuned to E = 49.2 lbs.
    XL Nickel 107 tuned to E = 39.5 lbs.

    Pressurewound 106 tuned to D = 38.1 lbs.
    XL Nickel 120 tuned to D = 40.3 lbs.

    As you can see, there is only a couple of lbs. of difference between the Pressurewound 106 and the XL Nickel 120.
  3. VincentGrim


    Aug 17, 2008
    Wild, and thanks. Extremely helpful, as I've used those pressurewounds and really enjoyed the feel of the E string. If the EXL160BT gives me that on the E, but then balances out the rest of the strings around that, they may just be perfect for me.
    michael_t likes this.