Low B gauge question

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by gimmeagig, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Sorry about posting this, it has been covered I know but when I do a search for low B the engine won't give me anything because "B" is too short.I could not find a way around that.
    Anyway,I just go another 5 string bass (Atelier Z, love it!) and I don't know what strings are on there now .
    I don't know if it's the bass or the gauge of the low B but it sounds a lot better than the B on my other 5 string basses(Moon JB 5 and KSD Proto J)
    I am a Marcus Miller fan and of course play DR fatbeams.
    The gauge for the low B I currently use is .125.
    I don't have a caliper to measure the string on my Atelier Z with but it seems thicker.Maybe a .135.
    What gauge do you guys use? What are the pros and cons of thinner vs thicker B strings.
    I love the sound of Marcus Millers low D and I want to get that sound on a 5 string, but have not been able to.
    Maybe it's just the low tension of a tuned down E string that creates that funky D???
  2. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Most people I know use .130
  3. bassist4dalord

    bassist4dalord Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    SW Missouri
    I bought a Gary Willis book, and he says that if you play higher than the 7th fret on the B and want it to sound good, you need at least a .130, .135 would be better. However, it's your bass and tone, so experiment and find what you like best ;)
  4. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    The "B" string on my Pedulla's sound so huge that I have to go down to a .125. It really depends on the bass and the player.
  5. I'm using a .118 B on my 6 and 7 string (34" scale)
  6. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Holland, MI
    Nancy. I used a .130 on my 7 string when I had it. I think I'm going to use a .130 tuned to C as the bottom string of my fifth-tuned 4 string.
  7. yeah ok... tell that to my bridge cable sized LaBella flats on my 5.
  8. Roland777


    Jun 1, 2006
    Are you completely sure about that? While "sound good" is a relative term, it's more the exact opposite, trust me. The thicker of a string you use, the more anemic and harmonically lacking the string becomes when you start fretting higher up - this coming from someone who's gone from .130 to .145 to .135.
    General concensus after my experiences is that tonally speaking, the lighter, the better, purely because of the fact that it holds a much more consistent sound when fretting, holding the same character up to - at least - the seventh fret, while sounding good beyond.
    The .135 has a nice character when played open, which remains the same up to the fifth or seventh fret, but starts to sound anemic beyond that, while the .145 starts to sound muted and old already at the fifth fret, if you compare to the open string and first three frets.
    Thus, a thicker string will have more of a difference, quicker, when you start fretting, in the shape of less harmonics and more fundamental.
  9. Very interesting.About two years ago I switched from a 135 to a 125 but I don't remember reall what the difference was.The sound I'm after is the one I'm getting when I uses my D tuner on my 74 Jazz.That detuned Marcus Miller sound.
    The low D is deep and feels kind of floppy and it is harmonically rich.Not just a thick fundamental.
    I wish I had a couple of different gauge B strings to experiment.I have three relatively similar 5 string basses(Jazz on steroids)So It could be fun to check out side by sidewhat the differences really are.
    As far as having the B string sound good up high on the neck,I don't care as much about that.Anything I do using the low B usually occurs below the 5 th fret.
    Somebody once said"There's no money above the 5th fret"
    I'm not sure if that is still true for the 5.It might be!
  10. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    When I want an ultra-fat vibe I take entire patterns and move them to the next lower-pitched string and 5 frets up. Playing what was anchored to the E or A string this way on a good B string makes the conventional fingering seem rather anemic.

    So I ask, where's the money, really? ; }
  11. permadave


    Jul 20, 2004
    Oakland, CA
    I use a 125 but my teacher who has the same bass as I do, Warwick Corvette, uses a 120 and swears by it. I think the 125 sounds pretty darn good, even when the bass is tuned down a half step.
  12. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Back to the original question, could be that your b just sounds better on your new bass, irregardless of string gauge. :)