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light vs. heavy

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sharp Objects, Mar 18, 2009.


  1. Sharp Objects

    Sharp Objects

    Mar 1, 2006
    Florida
    I recently put a set of regular light gauge D'addario strings on my Epi Thunderbird, and I still have to break them in to get an idea of their feel.

    What I'm curious is what exactly is the difference between a light string and a heavy gauge string, sound wise? Will I get a thicker sound? I've tried medium and it seems pretty meh. I haven't tried a heavy string yet, and I'm still searching for the best string that suites both my bass and I. D'addarios are cheap enough and I'm pretty satisfied with them as a brand.

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Thicker strings usually sound fuller than thinner strings, but you can compensate for the thickness in other ways like EQ and higher action, so I use the extra lights .040-.095. D'addarios for me as well.
     
  3. TI flats are a notable exception, light guage but fat tone, even with low low action. :bassist:
     
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Generally, heavier strings are fuller than lighter strings. They also tend to have more tension since more mass = more tension all things being equal. Because they have more tension you can dig in more, which can also give a fuller sound.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry bro, not a fan of the TI's but I guess I hear ya ;)
     

  6. Yeah they're not everyone's cup-o-tea but I've been finding them a perfect match for my P-bass tone (think Pino) and have been putting them on my Jazz and other basses one by one ... they're taking over!
     
  7. Sharp Objects

    Sharp Objects

    Mar 1, 2006
    Florida
    AH thanks guys. I'm gonna try a heavy set next for the sake of doing it. I think I'm gonna stick with the nickle D'addrios, they feel the best. Just gotta figure out gauges and whatnot.
     
  8. lights are more articulate than heavies, but sometimes could be a little weak for some uses. It all depends on how versatile you want your bass to be: heavy strings gives you less variety of "touch" than lights. Yeah, I use lights, by the way.
     
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    That may be true, but live is it going to matter? I rely more on the right hand position to get various tonal flavours.
     
  10. it all depends on what you play, what your mix is made of, and a long etc. For me, having to make less of an effort to get an articulate tone is a good thing live, cause of my kind of stuff (jazz rock, progressive and the like). I think, with all the signal processing that's going on live, the gauge of the string only matters to your hands, really. Everything else depends on amp, PA, EQ, any effect that you may have, room dynamics, even how much people attended the show. So, I choose a comfortable string, and then change everything else if needed be. So, Seanm is right: live it doesn't matter, except to you and your hands.
     

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