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How does gauge affect strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by D'yer Mak'er, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. The title says it; does a higher or lower gauge make them tighter or looser or what??
  2. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Within a given line of strings, higher guage means higher tension. However, different lines of strings (even from the same company) can have very different tensions for the same guage.
  3. Boondog Reisbol

    Boondog Reisbol

    Dec 7, 2002
    In my experience, lighter gauges of the same type string have less tension.

    Changing gauges may also affect your action and require set-up, including truss rod relief.
  4. .357


    Jan 16, 2005
    I'm new to bass playing, but I know from guitars that tension rises with heavier-gauge strings set at the same tuning. That's why they're important when you detune substantially; light-gauge strings would become too floppy to keep intonated well. Also, the heavier the strings, the thicker or darker the tone.
  5. Gauge and tension are not related although it most often works out that way. For example TI Powerbass strings are a larger gauge then many brands I have played but have lower tension. This is also seen in their flats which (on the short scale set) has a .105 E string and is very low tension. Gauge is a measure of size not tension. More manufacturers should display their strings tension information
  6. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
  7. I see. My point is that all .105 gauge strings do not have the same tension. I see how the gauge and tension are related but the math is hurting my head when I try and figure it out.
  8. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    not all 105. gauge strings are actually 105. mesure them and you will see that some are more and some are less.
  9. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Plus, the formulas are for perfect strings. Round core versus hex core and the way the windings are done can affect the tension.

    But, unless the manufacturer does something clever, for the same line of strings heavier guage should give more tension. That is why it works to go to heaver strings for dropped tuning.