Do you loosen your strings after a gig?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrpackerguy, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Just wondering whether you leave your strings at full-tuned tension while your bass is at rest, or whether you loosen up the strings between gigs or practicing. What's recommended? I can see both sides regarding potential neck issues.
  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Nope. never had and have had no neck issues with any basses I've owned over the last 23 years

  3. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I leave mine strung up most always. That'd be a pretty notable hassle, having to completely tune up your bass after every gig
  4. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    I leave my electrics at full tension, but I lower the tension on my Azola about 1-1/2 steps at the end of a session.

  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If you loosen your strings after gigs, then only bring them back up to tension before giggin again, your next will be readjusting itself to the new tension your entire show, and you'll constantly be going out of tune. Bad, bad idea.

    If you have a graphite neck, the tension change won't affect tuning at all. But its still a TOTALLY unneccessary effort either way you look at it. Keep your strings tuned, and your neck at tension, always . . .
  6. i thought the truss rod and the string tension were measured to pull at equal strengths so if that line of thinking is somewhat correct, then loosening strings would only make the neck pull away without as much resistance, and that would cause the neck to bend.
    but that might just be an urban myth. i could be wrong!

  7. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Personally, I only see one side... bad.

    The neck is carefully balanced between the neck itself, the truss rod(s), and the string tension, and if your bass is set up right, life is good right there, and absolutely no harm is being done to any part anywhere.

    Loosening and tightening your strings on a frequent basis will do nothing more than potentially destabilize the whole system and possibly cause tuning and action problems.

    Also, I'm assuming we're talking about solid body electrics, as well.

    IMHO, as always. :)
  8. +1 The only time I reduce tension is if the bass is flying in the cargo hold, and then I only very slightly tune down... maybe 1/8 turn on the gears... and I'm not sure that's even a good idea!
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I know plenty of cats that even change string one at a time to avoid any "negative G's" on their necks. Me, I like to take 'em all off and give it a brisk rub-down.
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    What you do behind closed doors is your business!!!!

  11. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Hey Ken! :)

    Actually, this is totally unnecessary, and potentially harmful. Leave the strings at tension at all times.

    Once the system of the neck/trussrod/string tension is balanced, unbalancing it will only cause problems. I don't know of any builder/manufacturer that ships their instrument with the strings detuned - we certainly don't at Roscoe, whether it's going via air or ground delivery.

    To the original poster, the same thing applies: This is in NO WAY beneficial to your instrument, in fact it's most likely HARMFUL to it. Don't do it.
  12. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Right on Gard.

    Not only is it potentially harmful to your neck, it'll kill your strings quicker too! And we all know how expensive they are.

    Keep it tuned EADG man.
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    One of the the things I love about bass is how stable the tuning is. Assuming there hasn't been a huge climate change, I just have to do a quick check to make sure it is still in tune. It usually is.

    Then I get to sit back and watch the guitar players try to get the guitars in tune. And watch them again... and watch them again... and watch them again... :D
  14. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I recieved a bass from Bass NW with the strings tuned down about 2 steps. I've also gotten a few used that were tuned down as well, but I only assume that it was because they believed this myth.
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I used to do that, but don't anymore... for the same reasons... I like to clean the frets and fingerboard most times.

    However, I do take the strings off by loosening outside (g,b) then inside (d,e, then a), and put them on in reverse order, and also loosen them gradually to start, and the same as I run them down the last little bit to full tension. The idea being to keep pressure as even as possible as I remove and reapply strings. Even this may be overkill, but it makes me feel better and I know it doesn't cause any harm, so there you go. :)
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    It's been my habit to change strings one at a time. Not because I'm worried about the neck... it's seemed to me that it decreases the amount of time it takes for tuning to stabilize with the new strings. I could be wrong.

    I really should pull 'em all off more frequently... I sometimes go too long without wiping grunge off the fingerboard.
  17. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I take strings off one at a time. Take on off, put a new one on, repeat :) I sometimes alternate strings but I usually go in order. I also believe that the quicker you can do it, the better as well. That's why I usually change strings while the bass is on the guitar stand and why I love quick release bridges. I can change strings in like 5 minutes.
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  19. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    never heard of loosening strings after a gig. It's bad enough to have to jack with them when required. Not being able to pick it up and play immediately at any moment would toss that out for me.

    Don't know that it matters but I've always been conscious of reducing and increasing tension on strings to try and keep tension somwhat even across the neck. But it seems the old Bassplayer Mag strings change article paid no mind to detuning and restringing regarding a concern for balanced tension.

    Shipping I've heard luthiers of equal merit say different things so I've just sent them half tuned to put an end to it and never had a problem. So until the problem presents itself, I'm good in that respect.
  20. Does this also count for stored bases? Sometimes I play only on one bass, and keep the other one ('74 jazz) stored for several months.