Lighter string gauge feels more tense

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by kaljultdgl, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. kaljultdgl


    Oct 21, 2019
    I usually play with 45-105 roundwound strings (harley benton because they're cheap) and I wanted to try a lighter string gauge. I bought a set of 40-100 strings (warwick). I had to set up my bass for the strings and I realised my set-up wasn't great even with the old strings.

    There was too much neck relief, so I straightened the neck and raised the string action to about 2,5mm (I used plectrums to measure string height. Good idea or not?). I don't know how low my action previously was, but it was lower than this.

    Do you think the warwick strings feel more tense to my plucking hand because of the raised string action or are they really more tense even though they are thinner? I never thought string height could affect the feel and tone this much.

    I really like these new strings and this new set up. The tone is good and bends and vibratos are now easier.
  2. subdude67


    Jan 18, 2010
    There is no telling with differfent strings on how they feel and how the neck reacts to them when you use a new set for the first time. Just because they are a lighter gauge does not mean they have less tension or feel softer.
    Using picks to measure string height is as good as anything you know the thicknes of:thumbsup:
    If you are happy with the new set stick with them, keep an open mind about srtrings, there is no easier and cheaper way to change the tone and feel of your bass than strings you never tried before.
    kaljultdgl likes this.
  3. There is "tension" as in pulling weight, and there is "tension" as in stiffness/flexibility... Going from one set to another, lighter gauges don't necessarily mean "less tension" as in less stiffness/more flexibility, especially when going from one brand to another.

    This is why every string change should include a complete setup to get the best out of the new set for optimal playability.
    kaljultdgl likes this.
  4. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    'Tension' is primarily determined by gauge. 'stiffness' is a different thing to 'tension'. How a string feels is determined by a combination of tension and stiffness, and some other factors to a smaller degree.
    So it is possible to have a slightly thinner string that is lower tension but 'feels more rigid' because it is actually stiffer.
    Raised action will not significantly affect the feel to the plucking hand.
    True, but usually that is the case. For the same string product, a thinner gauge will certainly have lower tension.

    The important thing to remember is that 'tension', 'stiffness' and 'how it feels' are all interrelated but different things, this is very commonly misunderstood.
    Gsnorgathon likes this.
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