# Lookin for less tension in the same gauge

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jmceachern36, Dec 16, 2014.

1. ### jmceachern36

Nov 13, 2005
Cambridge MA
I'm looking for some strings that have slightly less tension than what I'm currently using without decreasing the gauge. Right now I'm using Curt Mangan 45-105 with a 130 B. The tension is similar to d'addario xls. Hex core, nickel wound. I've always used 45-105 without problems but for some reason on this 5 the tension feels a little high. I've tried smaller gauge strings before and I feel like you lose some punch or ability to hear myself on a gig so I'm looking for the same gauge just a little lower tension. I've read hear about sunbeams, fat beams, (round core strings) and also dunlop super brights and flex steels. Maybe there are other round cores out there as well? Can anyone recommend a string that will not lose to much punch or mids or bigness or whatever you want to call it? I have read people describing some of these strings as scooped which is what I don't want. I realize this may be a little trial and error but just figured I'd ask what people thought might be a good choice. Thanks for any info.

2. ### lz4005

Oct 22, 2013
Unless someone makes the same thickness string out of a less dense material, it's not possible to get less tension out of a thinner string.

Differently constructed strings can have different flexibility, but the pounds of pull to get the same mass of string to the same note at the same length doesn't change.

3. ### mrbell321

Mar 26, 2012
It's not really possible to have less tension w/ the same gauge... f=0.5L*sqrt(T/u) A little algebra gives u(2*f/L)^2=T
f=frequency. This is fixed, unless you want to consider downtuning.
T=the tension on the string. This is adjustable via the tuning pegs.
L=is the scale length and is more or less fixed(the minor changes you can make at the bridge are really only enough to account for minor variations in u)
u=is the linear density. Let's say it's grams per centimeter along the length of the string. Centimeters are a fixed length.

So... What's adjustable besides tension? Not the frequency, not the length of the string, and length of a centimeter. So... if you can change the grams in a centimeter(or as lz4005 JUST posted, the density). There might be some strings that are marginally lighter weight, but they're pretty close to the same metals because they have to be strong enough to hold up under load.

Rather than actual tension... I suspect you are looking for a "softer" string.
What does "softer" mean? We'll, it could be more flexible... there are different wrapping techniques that make it more flexible(roundwounds) or it could spread the load out on your fingertips(flatwounds). I've found chromes to be very comfortable, despite the fact that they are relatively inflexible.

lz4005 likes this.
4. ### Pier_

Dec 22, 2013
Roma, Italia
well, actually the overall gauge is not directly related to string tension. the diameter of the core is what makes strings soft or hard.

a big core with small winding leads to a tighter string.

a thin core with big winding lead to a loose string, more flexible.

we can even talk about the actual number of winding layers.

the simple gauge does not tell us anything about tension.

with roundcore strings you'll face a scoop on the mid frequencies, so you would prefer hex core strings, if you want to keep the mid punch.

blindrabbit, Levin and Bassitudes like this.
5. ### jmceachern36

Nov 13, 2005
Cambridge MA
Thanks. Maybe super brights or flex steels? Any others fall into that category?

6. ### mmbongoI have too many basses.Supporting Member

Dunlop Super Bright Nickels will deliver the goods for sure. Another great option is Fodera Nickels.

Emanuel Apascaritei likes this.
7. ### jmceachern36

Nov 13, 2005
Cambridge MA
Thanks. Do you think there's any significant loss in mids or punch?

8. ### mmbongoI have too many basses.Supporting Member

Oh definitely not. Super Bright Nickels will give you MORE mids and punch than the Mangans.

Nov 13, 2005
Cambridge MA
Excellent!

10. ### mrbell321

Mar 26, 2012

You're correct that gauges aren't directly related to Tension... but gauges are affected by construction methods(core vs winding ratio, number of winding layers, etc) and that affects the density. Density is very much a contributing factor to tension.

11. ### T_Bone_TL

Jan 10, 2013
SW VT
...say hello to tapewounds.

12. ### iiipopesSupporting Member

May 4, 2009
Because the core-to-wrap ratio is different, and some other aspects, the new D'Addario Flex Steels seem to have a little less tension, but more stability in the same gauge, and little more even from string to string. Jason @ bassstringsonline posted a review here:

13. ### BassitudesGuest

Dec 16, 2014
Toronto, Ontario

thank god for people like you. i remember you from my lurking days as one of those guys that never believes ******** and always talks sense. my praises.

Pier_ likes this.
14. ### MDBassSupporting Member

Nov 7, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
Check out both the Sunbeams and the Super Brights, as both are more flexible strings than what you're currently using but still big sounding, punchy nickel strings.

Kalium also makes great nickel strings with good flexibility in an incredible variety of gauges as well.

15. ### jmceachern36

Nov 13, 2005
Cambridge MA
Thanks. I put some super brights on a little while ago. They feel great. I couldn't hear any sound difference but I just played them quickly. Have a gig right now. Gonna test them out.

Oct 11, 2009
TI's

17. ### ROBM700

May 28, 2013
I have tried a lot of strings over the years and I find the sun beams and fat beams to have the lower tension I like. Of course they both have their nickel vs steel sound differences. I am currently playing fat beams.
Just my two cents.

18. ### ROBM700

May 28, 2013
In a bass player magazine string issue a number of years ago, I remember the fat beams showing pretty balanced with highs, mids, and lows.