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Dose a lighter gauge = more fundamental?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by mastershake, Jun 5, 2011.


  1. mastershake

    mastershake

    May 12, 2011
    I heard this from someone on one of my threads http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f16/w...s-more-dominant-fundamental-nickel-ss-775761/
    I quote him saying ''Playing a lighter gauge of flexible strings will increase the fundamental, regardless of material type.'' I just want to see if anyone else can confirm this as being true.

    Edit note: Iv decided to change the title from 'Dose a lighter gauge = more fundamental?' because it seemed less accurate.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can't confirm my beliefs but I'm not buying into it.
     
  3. klokker

    klokker

    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Is there a non-flexible string? Wierd statement.
     
  4. IME/IMO, no.

    In my experience, and how I was taught (but mostly my experience - I've experimented a lot more than my teachers ever did), a fatter string = fatter tone.
     
  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I've always felt that a larger gauge == more fundamental. But I can't prove it.
     
  6. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    The guy may simply be expeirencing a little bit easier fretting with the lighter gauge resulting in better expressiveness which makes him think theres more fundamental, or overall better tone. Simply cause he's haveing easier time with fretting stuff, strings arent quite as stiff. Theres been occassional looks at how a more freely or looser vibrating thing might have little bit diff tonal structure then stiffer one. But in the end I think its more about what gauges best serve the player for that finger (fretting) & pick/finger (striking, when ones not tapping with fretting fingers) tone thing add to the sound.
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I use .120 to .125 gauge B strings and they consistently sound better than heavier guge strings IME IMO.

    As yes, some strings aren't as flexible as others so they could be considered "stiff" relatively speaking.
     
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Wasn't there a waveform posted recently that showed that flats have more fundamental than rounds? Given that flats are stiffer than rounds (not counting TIs), it doesn't look like flexibility helps for fundamentals.
     
  9. mastershake

    mastershake

    May 12, 2011
    well I remember doing an experiment were i tuned down my A string to a low E, same as the E string on my bass. the result was a darker sounding string than the E string with less overtones/harmonics. i assumed this was due to the lower tension but wasn't sure if gauge had anything to due with it (besides tension differences). I even made thread on it http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f16/how-dose-sting-tension-affect-tone-770651/
     
  10. berwick63

    berwick63

    Apr 19, 2011
    Bellmawr, NJ
    I would imagine flexibility being the last thing to help the fundamental note. Think of a tuning fork. Not very flexible.
     
  11. slaphappychappy

    slaphappychappy

    May 25, 2011
    as already said, fatter string, fatter tone. you dont see skinny opera singers, lol.
     
  12. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    I think less is less....and more is more..
    You aren't adding anything with skinny strings.....IMHO.
     
  13. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Hey, a thread about something I said - cool!

    I pulled my information from something that Skip of Circle K string said in some other thread (or maybe I misunderstood him?) and then I contemplated it for a while.

    Anyway, what I gathered is that a thinner string possibly has fewer wraps, which leads to less prominent overtones. Furthermore, the smaller gauge can vibrate more freely than its larger gauge counterpart, and the more freely a string vibrates, the more prominent the fundamental.

    Simple experiment. Does anybody have two same types of strings (maybe a D'Addario .120 and a .130) that would be willing to record them and run them through an analyzer? That would give a reasonable idea of whether or not there is more fundamental output (or at least less overtonal output).
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would do it if I cared ;) If you want more fundamental, just use dead strings.
     
  15. mastershake

    mastershake

    May 12, 2011
    That would be a cool yet simple experiment.
     
  16. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    If I had a recording set up right now, I'd go for it while wearing my xkcd shirt:

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure the information is already out there somewhere, though.
     
  17. mastershake

    mastershake

    May 12, 2011
    I could be wrong but, what does 'fatter' really mean anyway, I cant help but feel when people use the term 'fatter' what there actually referring to is a wider tonal spectrum a string is producing and not a string thats emphasizing more of the fundamental.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't buy into the fatter strings fatter tone thing. I have a very fat tone and I use 40-95's. I've heard other players using fatter strings than me who I think have a pretty thin tone. Some like a thick string and that's cool, but you can do so much with EQing and whatnot that it renders any perceived differences moot.
     
  19. bluesdogblues

    bluesdogblues

    Nov 13, 2007
    Fatter strings = fatter tone.
    Don't talk about EQ while on that topic
     
  20. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    When I think of the term "fat", I imagine it describes a prevalence of the first, second, and third harmonics, ie. the low-mids boost/neck pickup tone.
     

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