Gauge vs. Tone

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Dutch Williams, Apr 23, 2021.


  1. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    As a rule of thumb, do strings get "brighter" with lesser gauges? How does that all work, in general? (irrespective of brand)
     
  2. nogbert

    nogbert

    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    thinner gauge is generally brighter sounding, lower volume, less tension.
     
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  3. nogbert

    nogbert

    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    type of string has a much bigger impact. i.e. steel vs synthetic vs pizz forcused vs arco focused
     
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  4. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    In my odyssey of string trials, I've found very little correlation between gauge and brightness.
     
  5. Martin Beer

    Martin Beer

    Dec 4, 2004
    I think Spiro Mittels are brighter than Spiro Weich on my bass, but it seems like the way basses respond to changes in tension is quite variable.
     
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  6. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Not as some type of general rule. However, there will typically be at least some difference in tone, so you might or might not interpret that as impacting "brightness" as opposed to other things. To my ear, a higher gauge string often will sound brighter at the same tuning, probably due to the higher tension.
     
  7. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    this seems to be my GUT (couldn't help myself:cool:) feeling on the issue ... maybe SOME actual physics-y correlation but not humanly noticeable ... (especially in a blind test - sheesh, all of our "theories" get really exposed there)
     
  8. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    i just replaced my Jargar meds with lights, and ... they're not in different zip codes tone wise ... they're in the same ballpark ... maybe like moving from 2nd to 1st base ...
     
  9. nogbert

    nogbert

    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    it can be quite frustrating when you expect a change to be drastic and it isn't. get used to it ;)
     
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  10. 2nd base to 1st base...uh oh.
     
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  11. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    actually wasnt expecting anything drastic from same brand med to light .. if anything, my string experimentation over the last year has shocked me with just how drastic string changing can be (spiros to jargar for example, or those ron carter labellas, guts - its insane how different they all are) .... thats what intrigues me so much about it.
     
  12. DB strings are complex designs and gauge has very little, if any, correlation with tone, as previously noted by @AGCurry.

    What are you exactly looking for?
    In a separate thread, you’ve been asking about thuddiness, but what else?
     
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  13. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    it was a good move! dolce > meds for me in JargarVille ...
     
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  14. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    to be honest with you and myself (!) i am thoroughly enjoying the hunt more than the catch. call it GAS, i call it FUN.
    my extensive string experimentation has yielded (100% BIASED personal taste):

    Eudoxa E
    Helicore Orch. med A (not sexy OR exotic i know, but my ear keeps gravitating to it)
    Jargar Dolce D
    Global Gut G (etsy)

    i cant seem to enjoy 4 strings on my bass unless they are 4 different brands :D
     
  15. Interesting... :)
    I guess you could like Kaplan strings.
    They come in three gauges plus solo-gauge...
    Lots of fun, no? :D
     
  16. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    AFAIK, thinner strings produce less harmonics and a purer tone. That does not necessarily mean they will sound bassier though, especially with an acoustic instrument where the tension and mass of the strings interact with the tension and resonance of the bass's body.

    With bass guitar you can observe something called inharmonicity, which basically means the harmonics are out of tune with the fundamental. Inharmonicity occurs when the stiffness of the string begins to cause it to vibrate imperfectly. Play high on a low B string and it's pretty noticeable that the string is out of tune with itself. With shorter scale basses this becomes more of a problem on the E string as well.

    The strings are much longer on upright, but string stiffness is still a factor that I would think has an impact on how the string vibrates.
     
  17. The stiffer the string the greater the inharmonicity of the partials the string produces. Partials because the frequency components are not exactly harmonic (which means an exact whole number multiple of the root frequency).

    But the thinner the string of the exact same construction, the more partials (and higher amplitude towards the higher partials) can build up. Unfortunately no strings has exactly the same construction due to limits on the material sizes used and this in general has a much larger influence than a rather small diameter difference.
     
  18. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    I believe some of this thread is relevant: The fatter the string, the fatter the tone?

    Not sure the information presented is consistent with your second paragraph.

    I Googled the subject and articles consistently report, "...heavier strings tend to have stronger harmonics, a more compressed attack, and a potentially higher output and/or longer sustain." The quote is specifically from this reference: String Gauge – Strung Out? Fret Not! (strungoutfretnot.com) Other articles say pretty much the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
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  19. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    fantastic, i will buy all of them. fare thee well sweet $$$ .... fare thee well.... till we meet again ......
     
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  20. Dutch Williams

    Dutch Williams Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2021
    this is interesting to think about .... in your brain .....
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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