La Bella Deep Talkin' tension across strings inconsistent

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sideways S, May 26, 2021.

  1. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    More specifically the tension increases, bottom to top. The E string has the least tension at pitch, while the G string has the most, and it increases with each string in a way that feels almost linear. I am using the classic 1954 gauge, very heavy, but tuned down to DGCF. But I am experimenting with retuning the bottom string up to E and E flat, and retuning the other strings as well, in order to feel the tension and listen to the tone.

    With this gauge, for my fingers, on this P/J bass, the .110 bottom string is at perfect tension when tuned to E. On the other hand, I am concerned about what feels like extremely high tension on the .052 top string when tuned up to G. Even tuned down to F it feels too taught. With this whole stop drop tuning the two middle strings feel just about right, but the top and bottom strings feel wrong for the opposite reason.

    Seems that for me, the ideal tension would be a hybrid set with the top three strings from the Standard 45/65/85 or Light 43/60/82, and the bottom string at 110 from this 1954 set, all tuned to standard EADG. Does La Bella sell singles? I wish they made a .115 or .118 or something like that for tuning to D.

    Anyone else have this experience? Seems to me, the way the other gauges are setup, that this would be the general rule with these strings, tight on top, loose on the bottom.
     
  2. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    In principle, I agree wholeheartedly. Some say the heavy top is due to the need to have more magnetically-active mass move inside the pickups' magnetic field(s). I, on the contrary, think that is only true once the player compensates for the heavier tension with a heavier touch on the "trebles".
    (Less tension = wider motion, ergo more volume in spite of less material) trumps, I suspect, (more mass = more metal per inch ergo louder in spite of less movement for a given plucking strength).
    Heavy tops might have come into use simply because they sounded less twangy, and less different from the bottom strings. Anyway, JMO.

    Regarding your Deep Talkin flatwound woes:
    to be clear, do you want to keep the bass in D standard, tune it back up to E standard, or...what?
    If EADG, and you want to put together a custom set of singles, try contacting Jason at fretnation.com, or Elderly Music: both have an established relation with the manufacturer and are a good starting point. Failing that, get the 760FS or the 760FL, ditch the E (or, even better, ask if a TBer is interested in the single .104 or .105 low E) and use your old 110 from the 0760M.
    Now, if you do want a heavier low D (and assuming the string will stay down there as opposed to being occasionally detuned) here's a plan:
    get a 5-string set of La Bella Low Tension Flats (LTF-5A); keep the .118 low B; tune it up to D (there are good chances it will not break); complete the set with the top three from your 1954 set if the target tuning is D standard; sell the remaining four low tension flats to a four-banger player.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  3. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    @HaphAsSard - For now I'm going to keep it in D because I have some music to record that requires it. I'm posting this now because it's on my mind, and I'm finding that the .110 tuned down to D is definitely on the loose side, but certainly usable, even desirable for some music. Tuned to E it feels and sounds just right overall. On the other hand, the middle two strings feel more or less right on detuned the whole step, which is great. The top string is the least of my worries, as it would be for most bassists.

    Thanks for all the tips! So the low tension flats are the same strings as the deep talkin', just different gauges? Yea, the next step for reverting to E tuning would be, as you stated and I mentioned obtusely, to get a set of standard 105s or light 104s and only use the top 3 strings, along with the .110 on there now.

    This particular set is top heavy in relation to the other deep talkin' sets, but I get the feeling I'll find the .45 tuned to G to be a bit tight too. That's not such a big deal for me, and there's always the .43, and maybe even a .40 if the low tensions are really the same strings. Right now I'm mostly concerned about the bottom string.
     
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  4. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    They're not - different, more flexible construction - but:
    - they're routinely described as having similar tone to the regular Deep Talkin Bass flats;
    - the only flats La Bella makes that are larger than the Original 110 low E are the low-tension .118 and the not-low-tension .128T (tapered) of the 5-string regular sets. Between the two, I'd feel more confident uptuning the former (the latter may not necessarily break, but it might have less usable frets, as in, it might start sounding chorusy lower on the fretboard).
     
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  5. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I think you are likely dealing with the conjunction of two different issues:
    • The E string often has less tension than the other strings in a given set, especially if you detune; and
    • Flatwounds often have more tension than other strings at the same gauge.
    For me, a set of .110 flatwounds would provide too much tension across the board at standard tuning, although the E might be passable (but not ideal). I personally would never consider using .110s for standard tuning in rounds, much less in flats.

    That being said, there are online vendors such as JustStrings that sell single strings, so you can likely build a hybrid set similar to what you are envisioning. I do this all the time for drop tunings, although typically with rounds.
     
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  6. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    @MCS4 - I hadn't given it much thought before, but after noticing it on this bass I went to my other electric bass, strung with roundwound standard gauge, 45/65/85/105. Yes, the bottom string is looser than the top string, but not by a lot. This flatwound set happens to be top heavy, I just didn't expect it to be sooo top heavy.

    I don't drop tune often, and I was hoping this heavy gauge plus being flatwound would be a bit tighter on the bottom string, but it's certainly usable and I don't see many strings available in gauges between .110 and .125. .125 is almost certainly too heavy for tuning to D. Of course I haven't tried the .105 tuned to E, so the standard set might be just fine tuned to E.
     
  7. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    It is fairly easy to find roundwound 110s, 115s, and 120s in sets or singles these days, particularly on websites of the type I mentioned, as heavy gauge sets are popular and 120 is sometimes used for the B string in light five-string sets.

    I would definitely imagine that those gauges are harder to find in flats, which have much fewer options generally and probably aren't detuned as often.
     
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  8. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I'm using a mixed up set of LaBellas now, in a weird tuning, on a short scale - but the sum of it is that I am using a light top and heavy bottom to get things even. CGDA at .128, .96., .56, .39. - If I were to mix up the set any more, I might go slightly heavier on the D string to match the G and A, but it's close enough for now. Luckily, they make these LaBellas in enough gauges that you mix and match to preference.
     
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  9. 808P123

    808P123

    Mar 25, 2015
    I wish LaBella would go full production on the Low Tension Roundwounds as they are easily my favorite string
     
  10. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    What are you, a cellist? :) The one string tuned normally is the D and it's your least favorite in terms of tension. Nice! Yes, as mentioned previously, if/when I revert this bass to E tuning I will quite possibly mix and match.
     
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  11. bluehevy75

    bluehevy75

    Dec 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I’ve had similar issues and know what you’re talking about. I now use low tension flats for my two upper (higher) strings.
     
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  12. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    I might be wrong about this (and please correct me if I am) but I was under the impression that the 0760M "1954" set has a different construction to the other LaBella Deep Talking flats? Which means that if you start replacing individual strings you are actually mixing two different types of strings?

    Unless you're ok with that, maybe the 760FM Medium (49-109) set would be a better starting point?

    But like I said, I might be wrong about this. I'm 100% sure I read about it here on Talkbass but with the internet being the internet... ;) The LaBella website does not say anything about this.
     
  13. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    @bluehevy75 - So you don't notice a difference in tone between the deep talkin' and low tension strings? That would certainly expand the list of gauges available for La Bella flatwounds overall.
     
  14. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    That sounds like a bogus conspiracy theory to me. They don't have special machines just for winding one set of gauges vs. another, and they're not using different materials. Extremely unlikely, especially given the same price across the different deep talkin' sets.
     
  15. I'm not 100% sure on this myself, but I do recall reading about the "1954 Originals" being slightly different from the rest of the Deep Talkin' Bass lineup. If I'm not mistaken, it has something to do with the formulation of the stainless steel used for the outer wrap.

    It's not a "bogus conspiracy theory" as such.
     
  16. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    Every string has different production costs, which will affect the total set. It's not a huge amount, but it is there.

    Consistent pricing across a family of strings (usually an average of all the sets in the family) is more for the benefit of the dealers and resellers, and has no bearing on whether they're using different materials or not.
     
  17. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    OK, I've sent an email to La Bella on this subject. Hopefully we'll be able to clear it up today. This seems utterly implausible to me, but we'll see what La Bella says.
     
  18. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    Well, yea, but if you add entirely different materials and construction methods to the picture then a significant difference in price will have a chance to arise. This whole sub-topic could be a farce. Let's wait until there is some definitive info on this before discussing the possibilities.
     
  19. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Yeah, I guess you could be right be but the reason I took notice was that the source seemed credible at the time. Like someone quoted LaBella support or something... I just can't remember.

    What I do know is that the product description specifies that the 1954 set is "constructed with thick cores to produce full, deep, vintage tone". There is no mention of "thick cores" for the 49-109 set which is actually ALMOST the same gauges.

    49-109 vs 52-110. Not that much of a difference really but one of them specifies "thick cores". The sound is also reported to be more different than expected from this marginally heavier gauge (but I've never tried them myself, they're far too heavy for my hands, so what do I know...).
     
  20. Sideways S

    Sideways S

    May 26, 2021
    The "light" vs. "standard" gauge are even less different: 43-104 vs. 45-105. Hopefully [email protected] will provide some actual information on this later today...
     
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