How do I know what gauge is right?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Gburlesquegirl, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. I went to pick up new strings yesterday and the salesperson asked what gauge I wanted. Needless to say given the title of this post, I answered him with a blank stare and picked up some Earnie Ball meduims. I play an Ibanez EDB 600 and I have a semi-wide range of types of music I like--Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson and Stevie Ray Vaughn are some examples of what I'm interested in at the moment.

    So, to sum up...what difference does the gauge make?


  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Just experiment until you find YOUR gauge, you may find you like lighter gauges or heavier ones. Personally, I found I like 035-095 after trying pretty much everything else, others can't play anything below 50s. YMMV, but you have to check it out for yourself.
    I recommend starting out with 040-100s and then going on from there.
  3. rusmannx


    Jul 16, 2001
    +1 on the 040-100

    personally i like the 040-100 for an overall tonal range. the 35-95 are quite light, which to me is the same as saying they are faster then the 40's.

    i think the 045-105's are also nice, and keep a set as backups. back in the day i had some 055-115, and i don't even know where to find something like that anymore. but a heavier gauge will feel slower to respond, and they make me feel like i have to try harder to play them fast.
  4. pepsican


    Oct 23, 2004
    Just try different sets whenever you get the chance. I'm always trying new strings brands and every once in awhile I will go to a different gauge as well. It just all depends on you. Strings are pretty cheap, experiment whenever possible :hyper:
  5. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Based on my experience, the heavier the string(this is a generalization) the deeper the tone. I use D'darrio nickel XLs (.050-.105) on my P-bass and DR Sunbeams (.045-.100) on my Jazz. I think (my opinion) that I get a more even tone across the strings the closer the guages are from E to G. Thats why I use .045-.100s and .050-.105s instead of .045-.105s. I may even try a set of .055-.105s on the P.
  6. Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely do some experimenting, but at least I will have an idea about what to say the next time I buy strings.

  7. MonkForHire


    Oct 5, 2003
    Question about gauges: Are certain gauges better for lower actions? I plan on changing my strings soon, and the action on my bass is very low, so I don't know if the string gauge has any sort of impact.
  8. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    I think that it depends on the bass and the styles that you use to play it. If you have more than one instrument, you likely use more than one gauge? I have three basses (2 4s and a 5), and the string gauge is different on them all. I like lighter in general, but I only use my fingers.

    As far as Monk's question on the last post, I think it depends on your style. Lighter gauges play fast and slick and if you have a light touch you can get away with lower action. If you dig harder, and want lower action you have to move up.

    Its so subjective with strings, there are SO many choices and they are all good depending on who you are and how you play.
  9. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Agreed! There are no hard and fast rules here. Gburlesquegirl, you mention in your profile you are new to this, so I'd suggest covering the guages first light, medium, and heavy right off the bat. If you are happy with Ernie Ball (the best, most consistent strings IMHO) , try their hybrid strings.

    Everybody should try flat-wound once. If you like them, you'll save yourself lots of fret ware. I have one bass that I keep "flattys" on.

    I have to pick-up this month bass player mag. Becuase I found what I liked 20 years ago and stopped experimenting.
  10. Jazzbasslover


    Dec 8, 2004
    The gauge that you are th most comfotable with.
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The bass also makes a difference. On my Hag, I love the .045 to .100 Chromes. Which is weird because short/medium scale basses usually need a larger E. I attribute it to the high tension of the Chromes.

    However, put the same strings on my P bass and the G string sounds terrible. And I mean literally the same strings.
  12. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    i`ve recently changed my old red-label warwick strings, wich were regular .40 set to 45-135 Daddario pro stells, and while the difference in tension is noticeable, but not really profound, the tone is much more even between the strings AND across the freboard (the warwicks had a twangy, unpleasant sounding G and a bit weak low B).

    Also, I`m able to get my action below 1mm on the G string with minimum to no fretbuzz and unwanted Fieldy-like click-clacks - red labels started buzzing like mad below 1,5-2mm. Note, that i tune half step down below regular tuning.