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gauge for BEAD

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by wicked_child, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. wicked_child


    Oct 19, 2007
    im planning to get the GHS 115-50 set and tune it to BEAD. but a couple of questions first:

    1) will this match the tension of an extra light set? I use a 95 E for standard tuning.

    2) wouldnt the 115 be too floppy to be used as a B string?

    3) if ever i just buy a five string set, what will be the maximum string gauge that the nut of my bass can accomodate? i have an ESP vintage 4.
  2. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    I could see 115 as a B being too floppy, I use 130 for a B on my 5 string.

    Assuming 34" scale on that bass:

    50-115 set in BEAD:

    There is a lot less tension on the bass this way so if you wanted to run it this way it would need to be re-setup. There is a huge drop off in tension from the E to the B so I'd recommend getting something heavier to keep it slightly more balanced.
  3. wicked_child


    Oct 19, 2007
    thanks. how does that 130 feel? will a 120 work?(i think EB produces them)
  4. Buy a 5-string set, and put the G string somewhere.
  5. wicked_child


    Oct 19, 2007
    im not sure if a regular B string will fit the nut of my bass. i dont wanna swap nuts.
  6. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    You might have to have it filed out a bit. Then you might need to swap nuts if you go back to smaller gauge.

    Or you could do what I used to see done, fill up the rest of the slot with a piece of a matchbook cover. :p
  7. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars

    Generally, you want about .003" of extra width in your nut slots for whatever string gauge you'll be using. So, if you're using a .95 low E string, you'll want your nut slot to be between .95 and .953 wide. The extra width helps to prevent the string from binding in the nut slot and causing tuning issues.

    If you are going to use strings that are significantly larger than the slots of the bass' nut, you risk running into some basic problems (tuning issues, intonation issues, etc.).

    Since you are using a 95 E-string , you'll probably want to have your nut slots widened to accept anything above about a .100 E, same goes for the other nut slots. So, even a .115 E-string will probably be too big for the nut slots, let alone a low B of .120-.130. You can try the larger strings, but again you may just need to have the slots widened.

    Also, I'd agree with SuperSnake2012, the .115 would probably be pretty floppy as a B-string.
  8. pi_r_squared


    Sep 3, 2008
    I'm a newbie bassist but have been a mechanical engineer most of my life, and seeing actual string tensions sort of got my attention.

    Can these tensions be calculated based on string dia, length, pitch, type of string, etc? or are tensions in a big secret data table somewhere?


  9. fetfet


    Apr 13, 2008
    Toronto, ON
    Rotosound makes a 65-130 Swing bass set.

    I think that will suit you well.
  10. The numbers were probably taken off the D'Addario string tension sheets on their website. (And it is most definitely NOT a one-size-fits-all chart.)

    The only way to calculate tension for sure is knowing the linear mass density of a string (which changes as a string is stretched), length of string between nut and bridge, and the pitch it is tuned to.

    Otherwise, you have to measure it.

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