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If I switch to lighter strings?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GimmeDatSheep, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. GimmeDatSheep


    Nov 22, 2010
    I was wondering that if i switch to lighter gauge strings (I currently use 105's, making a switch to 100's) which way I would have to move the saddles, either shorten the string or lengthen. An explanation of why would be nice to.

    I understand that if a fretted note is sharp, you lengthen the string making it flat to compensate for the stretch you create by fretting. But I dont understand how the thickness of the string plays a role into this, maybe my brains being lazy.

    I could just do trial and error, but I'm wanting to change the bridge on my bass, and need to know where I should be placing it, or if I have room to place it at all.
  2. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I don't think the slightly lighter gauge of the string will make a big difference in intonation. It is possible that the lower tension could cause you to push further on the string and make it slightly sharp though.
  3. Most likely you need to adjust the bridge maybe in combination with the truss rod and *especially* intonation. Smaller strings are smaller.
  4. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i recently switched to a slightly lighter guage without a hitch. but, when i de-tuned to E-flat standard, my neck back-bowed. it took about 2 or 3 days before i had to loosen my Truss Rod. i also re-dialed my intonation. gl
  5. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    There won't be much difference between 0.105 and 0.100. If you look to the saddles of an average bass, you'll notice that A is a little shorter than E and D shorter than A and so on. The thicker the string is, the higher the action we set. A higher action stretches the string a little more while fretting it, making it sound a little sharp. This has to be compensated for by moving the saddle backward a bit.
  6. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Contrary to popular belief, the intonation setting does not compensate for the "stretch" of the string caused by fretting the note. It is meant to compensate for the stiffness of the strings, since in theory strings should be completely flexible (and frets are laid out based on that theory). Lower gauge strings from the same brand and type should be more flexible, and hence less correction should be needed. You'll probably be moving the saddle closer to the nut.
  7. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    I just switched from heavy flats to super light rounds on my bass. Not only did it require a huge change in my playing style, it required a total re-setup. But in the end I actually ended up with much lower action and a much lighter playing style. Oh and a better sound because flats on an active bass with soapbar pickups can get kinda dull and boring after the initial zing of the new strings leave.
  8. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    In theory you may be right, but the thicker the string, the higher the action set, so the distance to the fretboard becomes bigger. This means more tension while fretting, with regard to the open string, causing a rise in pitch. The word stretch wasn't chosen very well, I should have used tension I guess. :meh:
  9. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Your more likely going to need a slight truss rod and possibly bridge saddle height tweaks. Rather then intonation change.

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