Lighter String Makes for a Tighter Low B???

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    here's a thought.

    since on a 34" scale bass, a simple .105 guage string on the E is nice and taut.


    why wouldnt a lighter guage Low B string feel and sound more tighter on a 34" scale bass, than a floppy big thicker Low B string?
  2. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    The thicker the string, you'll need more tension to tune it to the proper pitch. Since there is more tension, the string is less floppy.
  3. Also, a .105" E is on the heavy side. Well, heavier than my .100".
  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Yes, and no. The thickness of the string is only one factor that determines tension. The diameter of the coreof the string has more of an impact on the tension than the diameter of the windings.

    Also, if you were to add a high C to a five string, and remove the low B, you'd actually be increasing the tension on the neck.

    I've yet to hear a low B string that sounds as good as either a TI Jazz Round or Powerbass B string--and, we're talking about .118" and .119"!

    The string itself is only one factor in getting a good low B sound. The bass, itself, plays a major role, too. I strongly believe that the rigidity of the neck has more to do with a tight low B than either string diameter, or scale length. Being able to transfer the string vibration into sound as opposed to energy is key, IMHO.

    I'll stick with my 34" scale Curbow with my teeny .118" low B string, thanks! :bassist:
  5. 118? damn thats a thin B. would steel and nickel have different tensions?
  6. XxBassmanxX


    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    Different strings of the same gauge will have different tensions respectivly, but lighter gauges will always be less taunt. I always used a 115 B on my 6 since a play a very light gauge. Id try out different brands/cores to find out which ones you like. Im definatly not an expert on this, but there are a few around like Jauqo X who can probally answer this. If your looking to get a thin string with nice tension try the TI Jazz brand. They sure sound sweet!

  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree that the bass itself has a lot to do with it.

    But I tried TI Jazz Strings with the 118 B string and at first I did like them as it felt easier to play with the narrower gauges; but in the end I went back to my favourite D'Addario Slowound set with a 130 B.

    I tend to use the B string to get a rounder, fatter sound for songs/pieces where this is needed - so like a Reaggae Dub sound or Afro Cuban Tumbao - where it's more about establishing a groove for dancing.

    So the 130 B sounds better to me, for this purpose
    and generally I don't need to play fast on the B string - if it's a fast run then it's usually on the higher strings anyway.

    So - I think it depends on what you want - big tone or easier fingering on the B. I don't think you can have both.
  8. I understand your view, jokerjkny .. I feel that thicker strings tend to sound a bit more dense, which seems opossed to thightness IMO. But physics show that heavier gauges bring more tighness and that's it.

    Anyway (just a personal thought, which I think is related to the subjetc), I believe that 35 scale basses with light gauge strings sound more punchy and tight enough for me, than with very heavy gauges.. the length of the scale already requires more tension at proper tunings than 34 scales, so there is no need for heavier gauge strings.. These increase the tension in such way that the sound becomes too dense and blurry, especially in the B string, which can be interpreted as floppyness..

    BTW, the string gauge issue is because many manufacters sell their 35 scale basses with strings heavier than their 34 scale models, Ibanez, for example.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    well, the flat wound Ti's have a low B of .136!!

    kinda weird they're sooo different in sizing, no?
  10. hey bassmonkee , what brand of strings do you use???
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Well, TI has always been more interested in having similar tension between strings as opposed to what numbers look good on packaging.

    I guess there is something about the way the wrap on the flats affects the sound. But, yeah, the difference between the low E and low B on a set of Jazz Flats (.100 vs .136) is a bit wierd looking at first, but they feel great!
  12. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I use Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats, Jazz Rounds, and Powerbass strings on all of my basses.

    My 5 string Curbow currently has the set of prototypes that G2 Intelligence sent me to try out, but I'll probably go right back to Powerbass once I've finished testing them out.
  13. wiggleworm


    May 29, 2003
    I have the TI jazz flats on my 5 string... at first I was unhappy with the B string, so I tuned the bass EADGC... but with my new band, I need the low notes so I had to go back to BEADG. For a couple of days I used the EADGC strings tuned down a fourth... it was so fun to play, sounded good on its own, but didn't cut through with the band. So I put the regular BEADG strings on and it sounded punchier.

    But then.... I play with a cellist and keyboardist, both of whose lowest note is a C. So I tuned the B string up a half step and now my bass is tuned CEADG and it SOUNDS SO GOOD!!! That extra bit of tension makes all the difference.