Looking for extra light gauge/low tension tapewounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by GretschWretch, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    I recently purchased a mongrel Fender-ish bass off eBay that is proving to be so persnickity it might as well be a vintage Gretsch. For example, the neck bow was so bad that to get the neck trued at all I had to put so many washers down the truss rod chute that the adjusting nut now protrudes from the neck by about 1/4", necessitating the creation of a clearance channel from the neck pocket into the body. And to neutralize the effect of the rise at the end of the fingerboard (it's a fretless), I actually had to reverse shim and put the shim at the open end of the neck pocket. NEVER had to do that before.

    But set up, such as it is, is now complete, and I want strings for this puppy, specifically black nylon tapewounds, and especially low-tension ones. I think that for mwah the LaBella nylon tapes are the best I've encountered and I have three basses loaded with them. But for this bass, with its neck issues, they are too high tension.

    I know LaBella makes a set of low-tension flats with a G at .039 and an E at .095, but I can find no corresponding set for tapes. And no matter who makes the strings, the common gauge for the G appears to be .050. I know some of that must be attributed to the nylon tape overwrap, but the tension also gets boosted.

    Anybody know of some low tension light-gauge tapes?
  2. Most (not all) tapewound strings of standard gauges such as 50-105 are actually extra light rounds (something like 40-95) under the tape, so they are more flexible than typical rounds of similar gauges to begin with.
  3. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Johnson City, TN
    I put labella copper whites on my mb2 and was thrilled with the sound. The website doesn't list tension for these strings, but if you're doing the research I wanted to suggest that there may be other suitable options besides the black tapes to check out.

    Element Zero likes this.
  4. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Thanks for the suggestions, which I will add to my search parameters. The thing I most want to avoid is strings that will pull the neck back into a bow. I may have to drill deep in my online searching, as at present the only makers of nylon tapewounds of which I am aware are Fender, GHS, and LaBella.
  5. D'Addario also offers black nylon tapewounds 50-65-85-105, which are relatively low tension and flexible at 146.2 lbs. in total tension.

    GHS Tapewounds, 50-70-90-105, are actually flatwound under the tape, so they would be stiffer as well as higher in tension at 167.8 lbs.
  6. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    Jason at FretboardNation (the old bass strings on line) may be of help.
  7. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Tapewound Rogue.jpg Rotosound TruBass 88's are also tape wounds, not flats (yeah, the nylon tape is technically "flat", but they're round wounds underneath). I have them on this MIK Rogue VB-100, and they work/sound great there. But, on your particular bass? I don't think you really need a set of those. They're heavy gauge - even for tapes - and they are very stiff. I don't know how much of that is actual tension, but since they're medium scale 60-115s, I'd imagine there's quite a bit. As others have said, the nylon outer wrap is a considerable portion of the overall string gauge, but the actual steel string underneath is pretty small in the lighter gauges. I have a sneaky suspicion that the actual tension of most "light" gauge tapes isn't all that high; they're just really stiff because of the nylon outer wrap. For that bass, I'd be thinking seriously about a set of La Bella's Low tension Flats if it were mine. 136 lbs. total is about as low as you're going to get for any set of long scale strings...:cool:
  8. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Michael, have you tried the D'Addario tapes? Where would you say they sit, tonally, VS say our beloved GHS Pressurewounds?
  9. I have never tried any tapewounds personally, and probably never will. Tapes in general just don't appeal to me for my personal use.
    NKBassman likes this.
  10. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I've played both at the same time, obviously on two separate basses. But unfortunately, the two are very different basses. The D'A is strung on a fretless bass w/ under saddles piezo pickup and the GHS was on a fretted bass w/ a pair of hum canceling jazz style pickups. I'd say tonally the GHS PW had more mid forward than D'A TW.

    I haven't been using the GHS PW any longer in a year or so, which I'd previously had since mid 2016. OTOH the D'A TW, which I've put on since Sep 2016, is still on the same bass and I don't think it'll go away any time soon. I do like the PW in terms of how it felt on fingertips but turned out, I don't really like how it sounds. I tried to like them that I used all three sets of L7200, M7200 & ML7200. But in the end, I felt the PW gave too much mid which was weird to my ears.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  11. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I’ve got a set of D’Addario black nylon tapes on my Fretless at the moment. I wouldn’t say they’re “low tension” but the are less than the rounds I’ve had on it. How ever, I have tried LaBella White nylon tapes and by far and away they are the most loosey goosey strings I’ve ever touched. I’m talkin floppy. I don’t even consider TI Jazz Flats floppy. Cool sound and simply exquisite texture to my fingers. But for me, utterly unplayable.
  12. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    I think I’ve used around six or seven different sets of tapes over the past couple of years during my search for strings to match my Gibson. The La Bella 750N set is the only one to need a complete reverse of the truss rod to impart forward bow.