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High and Even tension in Steel ? (string set trial results included!)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by raal, Apr 4, 2009.


  1. TB has lots of threads about how to get a tight B and a wealth of good information is out there.

    This new thread is opened to discuss the selection of a 5 string set that would meet following criteria in a 35" scale bass:

    1 - At least 42 lbs tension in standard tuning
    2 - Less than 3 lbs tension variation across all the strings
    3 - Bright tone for double thumbing and slap (typically associated with stainless steel strings)

    The bass is a 70's Fender inspired J with a flat headtock. In contrast with Sadowsky and Lakland, the headstock does not feature the hold down bar. The distance from the nut to the lowB tuning peg does not exceed 1". The string though body is available and good to use on the B at least.

    Building upon the information provided in TB threads (thanks to Bass Below, Roland777 and greenboy), I went ahead and ordered a custom set of D'addario XL nickel in following gauges:

    B - 0.145T
    E - 0.105
    A - 0.080
    D - 0.060
    G - 0.045

    The XL nickel was the first string set that would meet criteria 1 and 2 according to D'addario's tension charts. Results: Sufficient tension / even tension / but high mids too pronounced (would work great for that pick playing grind).

    Prior to that, following sets were tried with following results:

    - DR Hi Beams medium : all strings were too soft / nice tone
    - Ken Smith Heavy master set with the 145T: tension was a hair too low on the B, super high on the A, D and G strings / tone degraded quickly (one month) and was not great to start with
    - D'addario Prosteel standard set with the 135T lowB: Insufficient tension on the lowB, E-G string tension acceptable only in standard tuning / big difference between low B and the D string / tone was nice for the E-G strings in standard tuning

    In summary, no success in finding a set that meets all 3 criteria - high tension, even tension and bright tone at the same time so far.

    I am sold on the benefits of specifying individual gauges but unfortunately, few string manufacturers publish tension data like D'addario or LaBella do.

    Any ideas on how to keep the string search going?
    String set/gauges recommendations?
    Where or how to get DR, Sadowsky, Fodera (to name a few) tension data?
     
  2. To simplify things,

    How do the DR Lo Riders compare with the D'Addario XL nickel in terms of tension??

    Thank you all in advance for your inputs
     

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