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Light gauge users..what's your reason?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Figjam, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    For those of you that use light gauge strings (E string is .100 or .095 or smaller) why do you use them? Just seeing what all the possible advantages of them are. I like them on my Godin because it makes double thumbing less painful :)-p) and lower action is usually attainable and i like the feel of a less thick string.
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I dislike super thick, stiff strings. I normally use a light set (100 for my E), but I accidently bought a regular set and it took about three seconds for me to tell that I had bought the regular gauge instead of the light gauge.

    Was it so bad that I went back to shell out 30 bucks for the light set, no. I will keep them on until they are dead, but next time I buy strings I will really check for the light set first.

    I slap just as well on the regular set, and try to refrain from double thumping even with the light set, as 90% of the time it is to wankish for me.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    i CAN use medium gauge strings, as i do on my Spector (although that might change when i buy new strings , probably not though because i want a high tension B string).
    So medium gauge arent uncomrtable for me, i just dont..like them. I like the thin, clicky feel i get from sliding on light gauge strings as well. Ive recently really grown attached to Elixir strings and might continue to use them. Ill see how long they last; they are supposed to last a long time. Im going on about a month right now and they are fine. If i can stretch them to at least 2 more months of non-aggresive playing ..fun.
  4. Same reasons as you. Lighter strings are SO much playable.
    I feel more in control of my bass than it controlling me.
    I'm a 5-string player, I'd never use a B larger than .125. I currently have a .120 B on my MM Stingray5. DR Strings make it possible! I also use TI Jazz Flats on my Stingray 4-string fretless; the E is a .100.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Are light gauge B strings more floppy?
  6. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Lighter guages are easier for me to fret and manipulate, they play better to me. If your a finger picker and heavy metal isn't in your repertoire, then you might like light strings.

    I have 035, 055, 075, 095 nickelwounds on my old Ric 4001 - 040, 060, 080, 100 on my ASe Fender Jazz.

    >>"Are light gauge B strings more floppy?"<<

    Than heavier gauge B strings, yes.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I assumed they would be. I think I am going to try DR Lo Riders on my 5er when i need new strings. The current strings (Ernie ball slinkies) are decent but i think the B string would be tighter on Lo riders.
  8. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Quite so...

    I used to like normal/slightly lighter gauge strings, but since I started playing a 6, I prefer something bigger for my C and my B - thicker Cs have more volume and zing, and last longer; and thicker Bs are tighter and more "focused"
  9. Boondog Reisbol

    Boondog Reisbol

    Dec 7, 2002
    I play med & lights but I agree. I can fly on my Sterling w/light DR sunbeams & extremely low action. My fingering and slapping are much better w/this set-up = more comfortable. I string my SR4 w/medium gauge b/c it sounds more 'ballsy', especially when played with a pick. My SR5 also has light Elixir Nano's that sound great. I guess I prefer med gauge with increased tension for pick playing and light, low tension for fingerstyle.
  10. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    I used to use 45-100 gauge strings on my bass, but when I started using a pick for a "punk" band I joined, they didn't sound right. So I moved up to 50-105, which were much better for picking, but were hard to get used to for fingerstyle. When my last set of strings died, I wanted to get a 50-105 set of Hi Beams, but the stores around me didn't have any, so I settled with 45-105, and the gauges (not to mention the strings) work great.
  11. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    I originally discovered a preference for lighter gauge strings back when I was playing 5-string exclusively (early- to mid-90's). Dean Markley SR2000 Lights were the ticket back then. Loved those strings. The reason I originally went for this gauge is pretty funny, actually: It was just too difficult to thread a regular gauge B string through the hole in the tailpiece of my bass! I stumbled on an ad for SR2000's in the back of a bass mag and noticed their gauge chart. I thought choosing a lighter gauge might be a good idea (rather than re-boring the actual hole). I was right.

    These days, I'm a dedicated DR Sunbeam user. I love nickel wound strings. And, with the lighter gauge, I just feel that the playability of my instruments is incredible. In particular, I really appreciate the lower tension, as I tend to do bending quite often.

    As a fingerstyle player, the bass just comes alive with a lighter gauge of string.
  12. I used to use light gauge strings (.095 or .090 E nickel-roundwounds) because they are more comfortable to play, better for slapping and sound a bit more open IMO, but ever since I stopped using slap frequently and started playing DB I am tending to increasingly heavy strings (currently .106 E half-rounds) because they allow for more dynamics and sound more "powerful".
  13. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    I had a bout with Carpal Tunnel and expiremented with a number of gauges and different style of strings until I finally settled on Ernie Ball Ultra Slinkys... 40, 60, 70, 95. As mentioned, lighter strings promote lower action and their reduced tension helps my fretting hand out a lot these days, bending isn't at all painful and holding a note down yields less resistance. When I'm not using EB's I use TI Flats. They're lighter yet than the EB's with even less tension.
  14. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I discovered the wonders of light-gauge strings 11 years ago, when I bought my Carvin four-string, which came equipped with lights (.040-.060-.080-.100). Previously I'd owned a succession of other basses - various Fenders, couple of Rickenbackers, a Gibson - on which I'd strung either a set of medium-gauge GHS Boomers or D'Addario Half-Rounds. And they were just what the doctor ordered for the classic rock, bar band gigs I was playing at the time.

    But once I began playing the light-gauge strings on the Carvin, I discovered the ability to play with more nuance & precision, more responsiveness - and definitely with lower action (which I love!) - turning up the amp a little more and playing the bass with a lighter touch than before...

    Sure, there's a trade-off in terms of sheer power & "phatness" of tone - which is one major reason for using different types & gauges of strings on different instruments, according to their relative intended functions - as several of you have suggested. But for expressiveness & suppleness of feel, there's nothing like light-gauge strings. I think they're especially good for fretless, IMHO...

  15. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    I use super lights 95-40 and they just feel the best to me. Slapping and double thumping IMO are easier with lighter gauge strings. I can play almost any gauge, but i just prefer the ligher strings because of how easy they are.
  16. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Light gauge strings all the way for me, for reasons that have been covered (less tension, etc.) On my Rick I've stuck with D'Addario XL's gauged .040 .060 .075 .095 for well over a decade. On my Carvin sixer I just use the standard Carvin 6-string set (which is actually manufactured by LaBella if I'm not mistaken) gauged .029 .040 .060 .080 .100 .128
  17. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I use 45-65-80-100 gauge strings. I like the playability of lighter strings. I also keep the action on my basses pretty low--about 3/32"--lighter gauges seem to accomodate that better.

    I've experimented with heavier gauges, but, after using lights for 20 years, I find them too "unweildy".
  18. I love light gauge strings. So much more control and ease of use, more expression.
    I use D'Addario Slowounds exclusively on my Ibanez SR1000, the SW1000 set (.095-.075-.060-.040) is the set for this bass.
    I started playing upright now and since then they feel extra speedy.
    However I do feel you need a good bass to play light strings, with good sustain and volume. Every bassguitar has a different string it likes best and I'm just lucky mine likes light gauge Slowounds! Well, not completely lucky of course, I did pick the bass out myself.

    I tried some light gauge strings on a Iba SR505 5er one time and it sounded horrible. Softer body woods can give big bass but need big ballsy strings to do that. And you'd better give them what they need or it's blister time!
    My cheap plywood upright will probably never have light gauge strings on 'em, it doesn't have the sustain and volume. It needs good burly strings.
    But to me that's fine. I did't get a bassguitar and an upright just to have them sound and play the same.
    It's just as fun driving a musclecar as it is driving a sportscar. It's different kinds of fun, for different kinds of mood.

  19. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Darn, I wish I'd seen this thread before I just spent an entire day setting up my new Sting Ray 5 for different gauge strings. That bass is a royal pain to set up, but boy it sure sounds great once it's in.

    Next time I get a new fretted bass, I'll definitely try some light gauge strings. I was unaware that so many people are using them, and seem to like them for slapping.
  20. I love light gauge for basses for the same reason a bunch of you do: It's simply easier to manipulate with my fingers. I have really thin (read: girly :eek: ) fingers, and heavy gauges just aren't comfortable.

    That being said, I prefer a heavier gauge on guitar, as long as the action is really low. I find heavier gauges much easier to pick, becuase I use a pretty aggressive motion. Lighter gauges seem to flop around too much for me on guitar, so I like how the heavies won't move too much :)