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Looking for advice on gauges...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bunkaroo, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I've been playing for about 16 years, and while I've finger picked semi-frequently, I've been primarily a pick player since most of what I was playing felt and sounded better picked.

    I'm starting to change my focus in playing to lean more towards finger picking. I'm wondering if the gauges I've always used are starting to work against me in this realm.

    I've been using fairly heavy strings in the past 8 years. I use a D'Addario XL 35-45-65-85-105-145 set on my 6 strings and D'Addario XL 45-65-85-105-135 on my 5 strings.

    I got a Carvin 6 string fretless last year that came stock with some fairly light strings-something like 28-40-60-80-100-128.
    Seemed like it was a lot easier to finger pick these. I replaced them pretty quickly with D'addario's Half Round six-string set. That set feels pretty good too-I believe it's 30-45-65-80-100-130.

    Also, my other Carvin 6 string's truss rod seemes to get tighter every time I need to have the neck adjusted, and the tech I've gone to for years suggested lighter strings. I've mostly stuck with the heavier sets out of habit and the fact that I sort of felt like I got a bigger sound out of the heavier sets while using a pick.

    I'd love to hear any advice or comments on this-essentially my main question being, "Do lighter strings make it easier to finger pick?".
  2. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    In my experience, no. Lighter strings don't make it easier for *me* to play fingerstyle or slap or with a pick or whatever. Your mileage may vary, but I think most of the difference is in your mind.

    .145's pretty damn heavy for a B string, in my opinion. I've always played on 45-65-85-105 Ernie Balls (until I got my 5 string and have been playing on 45-65-85-105-130 Elixirs), and every time I played lighter strings like that it felt like I was getting tied up in them compared to heavier strings that I felt like I was just able to slip through; but i have a *really* aggressive attack that I'm now trying to back off of some in favor of speed.

    My advice is that you look at your technique because that's ultimately cheaper than A/Bing strings all day, but if lighter strings are more comfortable for you to play, you'll probably play better on them because of it.

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