Low-tension string help

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Silverface, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. for a bag o'peanuts - he delivered it and I think he washed my car for me (short explanation -it was his daughter's, she played it for a few years but quit at the same time she had some relationship issues, it got damaged, she wanted it gone....) -

    Anyway, it has some issues - a splintered fingerboard that I repaired (with hide glue and amazingly it only *looks* a bit oogly). And I need to pause for a second - I *am* an instrument tech that has some background/experience with violin-family instruments and I have owned a couple previous uprights - but years ago. Continued - It also has a hairline heel crack - that one I also repaired with hide glue and it seems to be holding, but how well long-term is a crapshoot. I never got the story as to how it happened, but it's pretty obvious it did some sort of faceplant.

    To make a long story longer - I'm disabled; it'll only be played at home; I have logistic problems getting it to a shop for "real" repairs; there's no way I could afford or justify them anyway (bass isn't my primary instrument). So to avoid the otherwise-inevitable "you really should..." - I *know* what should be done - it's just not in the cards. I have to deal with it as-is and hope it hold together. If it blows up I'll figure things out one way or another.

    So - It had steel strings on it, tuned to pitch (and with the sound post rolling around!). I had to remove them anyway to fix it, and ordered a set of Weedwackers to test for tone and tension (and yes, the soundpost is properly sized, shaped and re-set, nut re-cut, bridge resized/slots shaped etc etc). It plays great (action 12mm; 11mm 7.5mm/7mm) and the D and G sound fine with better tone and volume than I anticipated.

    But as expected the E and A are just "thumpy" - the A has a bit of clarity but the E just too muddy. Just barely clear enough for the tuner to pick it up. But they are SO different from the D and G strings I need to find some other string solution.

    My concern is tension for two reasons - 1) the neck repair, and 2) part of my disability is chronic pain, and I have severe arthritis in my left wrist. It hampers playing every instrument except the ones I play with steel bars! Worse yet, the Upton has a Romberg bevel, which forces me to play with the dreaded "hillbilly death grip" instead of my normal thumb-behind-the-neck-and-holy-crap-he-actually-arches-his-fingers! (local bluegrass bass player joke). I need to find the *lowest* tension steel (I'm assuming) strings I can get. Sidebar - the Romberg bevel is a nightmare! Sidebar over - ;)

    The other problems - I have no idea how to compare, as I can find no tension info for the Kevlar Weedwackers and I can't afford to experiment and buy multiple sets. I need a solid string recommendation that hopefully won't break the bank. To put things in perspective, they tried to give me the bass! I paid her $350 because...well, just because...and I'm not looking for donations, I can afford strings - I just can't justify the cost of neck repairs!

    OK -I'm done, and if you got this far you have WAY too much time on your hands! :roflmao:

  2. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    ok so assuming you want to not play with the bow I'd suggest something like innovation silver slaps. Much higher quality than weedwackers and still low tension.
  3. Ack!

    Yeah - no bow. I play bluegrass, country rock, a little country swing and miscellaneous acoustic...and sometimes not *normally* acoustic (an old band played the Cream - not bluegrass - version of "White Room") music. And no slap.

    Does anyone know if Eurosonic lights would be any good? There are some used ones in the classifieds. I'm a bit hitchy about spending $200 or so on a bass I'm not sure will hold together!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  4. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    from what i've gathered eurosonic and innovation are pretty much the same.
  5. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Do you know the tensions on the Eurosonic strings? Being they are "pretty much the same", do you suppose the tension weights are the same or similar? I'd love to calculate the weight using the Xcel file thats floating around here.
  6. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    IMO for more even feel on the strings you might like your string heights increasing app. 1 millimeter when going from top to bottom, such as G 7mm D 7,5?mm A 9mm E 10mm. Synthetic Evah Pirazzi slaps and Velvet Garbo lights are easiest playing strings I`ve tried, having similar tension to gut strings, app. 23 kg per string.
  7. Innovation strings have a synthetic core whereas Eurosonic/Presto have a steel core. Not the same!

    Synthetic core strings stretch more under tension than steel core strings. This also means they are easier to press down. The drawback is that there is a dynamic response limit. If you pluck harder on the louder side, there won't be any output difference than plucked led less hard. This is mostly valid for PEEK string core based strings like Obligato, Evah Pirazzi, Zyex. Also for braided Nylon, I think like Sensicore.
    Innovation strings use a different core that is in between like gut. Except the Honeys, which are monofilament nylon (similar to Dominants but with a thinner core).
    The lowest tension synthetic core strings I know are SuperSensitive Sensicore and Pirastro Evah Slaps. Both bowable but the low tension lets the string sink easily and you might grab a neighbor string with the bow by accident.
    An alternative might be synthetic core solo strings tuned down to orchestra tuning. That gives you about 22% less tension than advertised for regular solo tuning. But Solo strings are often weaker on the lower strings, so a regular low tension set might be better.
    With your current string height I would avoid any kind of steel core strings.
    I don't think the Romberg bevel is a problem, it's the string height. Try to check if the top has been sunken. That might be one explanation for the rather high string height. The other one that this bass was built for gut strings (then the nut and bridge grooves are wide).
    ColdEye and Francois Blais like this.
  8. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've played Innovation Slaps on and off for years in between guts. I would recommend them for a casual player that needs low tension. You don't need steel strings for volume if that's why you are asking about recommendations for steel. There are plenty of hybrid and synthetic, low tension strings that will project enough acoustic volume. Innovation silver/golden slaps certainly fit the bill. They are also inexpensive compared to many of the hybrid strings that would also be good options for you.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    ColdEye likes this.
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    If your budget is limited, the Eurosonics would fit the bass.
    And Earl is a great guy, ;)
    Earl likes this.
  10. String tension for Eurosonics could be found in the Internet from some string dealer.
    I haven't put them in my Excel file because they didn't came directly from the manufacturer and maybe the scale length for the measurement has not been mentioned.

    Sorry, I don't have the values in direct access now.

    But since the Eurosonics are steel core, they are harder to press down than similar tension synthetic core strings.

    I wouldn't care too much about the money for strings, more for your health and a reasonably good sound (which might not be the case with the Weedwhackers, at least on the lower strings).
  11. I was commenting on it mainly because of the left hand position I have to use because of an arthritic left wrist - not string height. And I've set it up both lower and higher - as I don't play up the neck ( I am a *very* casual, simple bass player) the nut setup is far more important for my playing.

    $280/200-ish vs $100 or so makes a heck of a difference on a fixed income, which is why I mentioned price as a factor.

    I'm not looking for volume, just note clarity. The Weedwackers are far too indistinct on the E and A strings as I originally mentioned.

    I wasn't aware of a tension spreadsheet. Is it available anywhere? I searched but came up empty.
  12. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    For Sale - Eurosonic Strings
    Earl likes this.
  13. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    I'd suggest Spirocore Solos tuned down to standard pitch. Spiro clarity and durability with much less string tension.
    krfoss likes this.
  14. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Spiro solos are not light on the budget though...
  15. ???

    I don't play in any other tuning. Not quite sure what you mean by "tuned down to standard pitch" when I'm already there.
  16. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    "Solo" strings are designed to be tuned at two chromatic notes above the standard ("Orchestra") tuning, so F#BEA, rather than the standard EADG. So, downtuning them puts you in the typical tuning but with the reduced tension, i.e. floppier strings.
  17. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    Solo strings are sized to be tuned a whole step above standard pitch, so the tension will be less if tuned down to standard tuning.
  18. Solo strings are build for 1 tone higher tuning. So when you tune them down to your regular pitch, you get low tension Spiros.
  19. The string tension spreadsheet is available at my Talkbass-Dropbox folder, but only includes strings where the manufacturer supplies tension and scale data:
    Dropbox - Talkbass
    I meant that $100 spent on bad strings (for your special case) is money thrown away. Better look out for better strings even if you have to pay twice as much. Wait until you have the money or try to find them used in the Classifieds.
    I strongly recommend to stay away from steel core strings (that includes Eurosonics) because they are hard to press down when using a medium to high string height.
    The imported strings are expensive, but you should have a look at SuperSensitive Sensicore because they are manufactured in the US and are low tension.
    You might be able to find Innovation Silver or Golden Slaps in the Classifieds now or soon. Maybe even Sensicore.
    I know how it is being tight on money, most of my string sets I have bought used. That is a cheap opportunity to try different strings if needed and they should work until you can buy a new set of your favourite strings.
  20. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    If/ when a set of spiro solos come up I'm intending to buy those (fight ya for 'em) but I'll have a set of Zyex light that will be up on the Classifieds here that same day.
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