How to get a tight string tension on a Short Scale?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bassbassnfiue, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. bassbassnfiue


    Sep 22, 2016
    Hey, I recently purchased a Kay KB-1 1968 short-scale bass on reverb and I was wondering why the tension or the strings, (primarily on the E string) is so flabby. When I play a note on the E string it also sounds muddy and has a lot of overtones. I was told by a guy that I needed to get a heavier gauge string on the bass.
    My question is, what gauge should I get. I have a 34" scale bass which has 105 - 50 gauge strings on it and I want the get the same sort of tension or tightness out of the Kay short-scale. If any of you know what string gauge I should go for it would be much appreciated.
    Note: I play with a pick and play punk music
    Thank you.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    larger gauge strings or a long neck lol
  3. bassbassnfiue


    Sep 22, 2016
    Do you have any idea to what gauge I should be going up to, I like to play with a pick so I can't have the strings wobbling all around and feeling loose.
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Something like 110-55ish should work. Labella makes deep talkin steel rounds and flats in those gauges for short scale.
  5. If you're willing to try a set of flats, the La Bella 0760M "Original 1954", 52-73-95-110. can be special ordered in short scale.

    La Bella

    They're known for their high tension on a 34" scale, but shouldn't be as bad on a short scale.

    Either that or the 760M set, 49-69-89-109, might be okay as well.

    La Bella Deep Talkin' Flat Wound Bass Strings - 4 String Set
  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    For the same gauges tuned to the same pitches, a shorter scale reduces tension. Just increase gauges until it feels right.
    The E string is looser because that's just how most bass sets are, they're middle and/or top heavy, and for constant tension larger gauges are more prone to floppiness. If you want all strings more equal in tension you need a 'tension balanced' set or build your own from singles.
    What scale is your short bass?
    E overtones may be a poor setup or a twisted string, or just old crappy strings.
  7. bassbassnfiue


    Sep 22, 2016
    I got some 120-60 GHS boomers long scale bass strings. I was told the thicker they are the less they would be flopping around. And my bass is a 30".
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Don't reactively go and buy a set of strings. This bass has a trapeze tailpiece with a significant after-length between the bridge saddle and the string anchors. You will have to measure the distance from the ball anchor to the tuner side of the nut to see what the actual "speaking length" is, then consult the tech articles on to make sure you order the correct length of string. But you may need the medium scale instead of the short or long scale, depending on what your final measurements turn out to be.

    As far as gauge, I would go with standard LaBella 45-105 to get the typical tone these basses produce and are known for. These basses will never have crystalline tones. They will thump, generally. But that is their charm.
  9. I have the 32" set of TI flats on my EB-2 and the E string sounds real good. The E on any short scale can be a little tricky, if you adjust your technique to a lighter touch that will also help quite a bit.