Low output and Gauge of strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Funkster, May 14, 2001.

  1. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Hi all I just wanted your input.
    I have been using 45-100 gauge strings forever and I was wondering if moving up to a heavier gauge 50-105 would get me a little more output from certain basses with a weak E or G string output.
    Nino Brown brought to my attention that his Ric had a lower output from his E, so I went home and started playing around with my Ric and I to have the same problem weak output on the E, I have the same problem on one other bass but it's the G string. Yes I adjusted the pups closer to the strings, I played with the all the adjustments for a couple of hours.
    I have been contemplating moving up to a heavier gauge string for the last year or so, can anybody also tell me the subtle differences between lighter and heavier strings.
    Can anybody tell me why my Ric eats up E strings alive!!!
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I'm no expert but suspect that the string material has more to do with the output. I notice a very significant increase in output from Thomastik Jazz Flats, which I use as an example since they vary from .043 .056 .070 .100 to .044 .057 .072 .096 and are very powerful in spite of the lower gauge.

    Stainless strings also, on average IME, are not as magnetically active/loud as nickel.

    Heavier strings in general will be more taut than the same string in a lighter gauge, but this does not necessarily carry through to different brands and string types within a single brand.

    And beyond that, of course, you have the bass' characteristics and pickups/electronics in the mix.
  3. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Hey Bob, I always thought that stainless steel was MORE magnetic and louder than nickel all other things being equal?
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Could be, I guess, I have only played about 3 or 4 sets of SS, and IME the nickel ones I have also played have generally been louder. They tend to be warmer, too, not as thin-sounding as SS.

    Did some searches of a couple string mfr. sites, and DR on http://www.drstrings.com/sunbeams.htm says:

    "SUNBEAMS feature the easily recognizable feel and flexibility of DR round core construction, with nickel warmth, softness of feel, and increased response to magnetic pickups due to the sensitive magnetic content (compared to stainless steel) of the nickel plated wrap wire."

    Doesn't mean I'm right, maybe it's just them??
  5. You can't pick a stainless steel spoon up with a magnet...it doesn't magnetise at all.
  6. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    Although, one of the loudest strings out there, Rotosound Swing Bass is a SS string. One of the reasons James How used steel, apart of saving dough, was the increase in output vs. existing nickel strings.
  7. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Neither would a nickel spoon.
  8. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    With a nickelplated steel wrap, is the inner material of the wrap stainless steel or plain ol' steel?
  9. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Metallurgically speaking (SOMEONE has to straighten out these musicians!), it is primarily the addition of nickel to steel that makes it into stainless. So pure nickel should be less magnetically active than stainless -- all other things being equal, of course. A set of "nickel" strings being louder than a set of stainless may have to do with the core material and size.

    That piece of my education having been regurgitated, I've never been clear on just how much nickel is in "pure nickel" strings. Or even if there is such a thing -- most strings advertise as nickel-plated.
  10. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    I don't know about Stainless in strings,but there's different grades of stainless.there are some stainless screws which can be picked up with a magnetic screwdriver,and some that can't.Someone told me there's 'dirty' stainless.