Does Thump = Tension?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bgavin, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. The very high tension Fender 9050M and Jamerson Flats are known to thump for days. My low tension TI Flats do not thump (for me).

    Question: is high tension directly related to thump?

    One has to ask if a high tension string ceases to oscillate more quickly than a lower tension string. If so, then high tension strings would have less sustain than low tension.

    My TI Flats sustain for days. Then again, so do my SIT Stainless on my L1500.

    Inquiring minds want to know...
  2. Balor


    Sep 24, 2000
    Montréal, Québec
    I would not relate the thump factor to tension, but to flexibility. Rounds are usually more flexible than flats and have more harmonic content. Try to tune your SIT or TI a half step higher or until you get about hte same tension as the 9050 and see what happens.

    take care
  3. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Bruce, you already know my opinion on this, but I'll elaborate a little. To start with, right now I have GHS Boomers .045-.105 on my '78 Precision, which also has a Model P. It thumps enough for me. I tried the .050-.115 Boomers on my old Franken-P (in standard tuning), and they seemed thumpier (also a Duncan SPB-1 pup). Incidentally, the tension of the .055-.115 Boomers is actually less than the tension of Fender 9050M's. I know this because when I switched from the 9050M's on that bass to the heavy Boomers, I had to let some tension off the truss rod to get relief.

    I think Balor is right also, that flexibility enters into the picture as well. The Boomers and most flatwound strings are hex-core and fairly stiff, and the TI Flats are of course round core and wiggly.

    And, as much as I hate to say it, heavier basses seem to thump more, at least IME. My P is around 10 lbs., and my Franken-P was pretty heavy too. Both have big, fat necks which I think enhances thumpiness. The Franken-P was ash-bodied (gonna change bodies on that one), and I assume my Fender is alder.
  4. DR Fat-Beams, which are round-core, has alot of thump, as opposed to Hi-beams which are very flexible (and roundcore too). But maybe a hex-core of the same gauge (the core gauge) would be stiffer than a roundcore?

    In conection to the thump-question, I wondered if any specific type of string brings out the caracteristics of a bass' wood better? Does nickle strings color the sound too much, so the warm sound is more due to the magnetic properties of the nickle rather than the vibrating caracteristics of the body? Do high tension strings make the whole bassbody vibrate better, and will they bring out the warmth of say a rosewood fretboard better? Hope you catch my drift...

    Any thoughts?
  5. I went over to the GHS web site looking for tension information, and all I found was a ton of eye candy. Their site looks like the Rockford-Fostgate site now... all hype and no content.

    The Fender 9050M are probably the highest tension string out there. They never published info on those strings, so one would have to measure it.

    I had GHS Boomers when I first started out, but they died faster than my first marriage. The Alloy 52 last longer, but were kind of clanky on my RB5. They intonated well (taperwound), but it has been so long I can't remember much about them. I still have a few fresh sets, but am far more inclined toward TI PowerBass for rounds.

    I've been getting thump when I need it by lifting my fretting fingers right after striking the note. It works well enough.
  6. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I have a new Fender MIA P and when I first got it the strings sustained a lot. The factory strings died and I replaced them with Roto Swing 66s and they sounded great (lots of sustain) but after my first gig they died and since have become very thumpy. Replaced them again and same thing but it seems like the bass itself is becoming thumpier. Not that thats a bad thing but Ive been thinking about putting some flats on it because the Rotos are sounding like flats after a few days. Ive used Rotos on a few different basses and this has never happened leading me to think its the bass.
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