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New to 5 stringer, FLOPPY B

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by unclebass, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. I just got my hands on a very lightly used Squier Deluxe Active 5 string. I always said that I would never play a 5 string. I don't even like a precision neck, how would I play something even wider? Not only does it feel ok, but it appears to be one of the widest 5 string necks around with a 2" nut! I was suprised at how easily I adapted to it, but I am a little uncomfortable with the really floppy B string(it even sounds floppy). It comes with 45-125's on it, and they appear to be original strings. I can tune B string up to D and the tension feels right, and D note sounds better than fretted D on B. I see that to get a B string to have the same tension as the E string(105), I would have to go up to a 145. How would such a large difference in string gauge feel to play? Am I better off going to a 135? I want to stick with nickel plated rounds. Could use input from experienced 5 stringers...
  2. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    Try a circle K .136 balanced set. I use them on a 34" 5er, and all of my strings respond perfectly evenly through a good amp. The Squier might not be perfect, but should be passable with heavier strings. .125 is simply too light in relation to the other strings, there's no way it could have the proper tension tuned to B at that scale length. I hope this helps! Those are great basses, and I'm sure you'll find it much better with a heavier B! :D
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I agree that .125 is tiny for a B string. I won't use anything less than a .135.

    I use custom sets from www.bassstringsonline.com where you can either build an entire set of whatever you want, or just buy a 4 string set and add a single B. I use D'Addario's with a .135, which will run you about $23 for a whole set. Unreal for an entire custom set of strings.
  4. FWIW (and IME), .125 is just fine for a B, it's all in the construction of the bass...I've played 35" basses with somewhat floppy B's and 34" with a nice tight B (again, no bigger than .130).

    That said, I remember Gary Willis had a trick using a spacer between the bridge and the ball of the string to add tension...
  5. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Your best bet would be to experiment with strings until you find something you like. I play a SBMM Ray 35 which came with a .130 B. It took me almost a year to find strings that I really like on it - DR Lo-riders with a .125 B string. They are hex core and have a bit more tension and I like the way they feel and sound.
  6. By D'Addario's tension charts, the larger 34" scale bass strings have less tension than extra long scale strings of the same gauge. Looks like larger B strings on 34" scales make more sense than longer scale basses.
  7. Yes to the construction part, no to the Gary Willis thing, it's a myth.
  8. Fair enough, never tried it myself to be honest.
  9. cm3ohana

    cm3ohana Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    +1 to DR Lo-Riders. I was using Sunbeams and the B string was floppy. Changed to Lo-Riders and B string has more tension due to hex core. Haven't need to look any further.
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Different strings. I have found the SIT powerwound Nickels with a .125 B to be quite firm and very resonant. Your favorte string may not always be the best choice. If you are determined to stay with them, I would say .135 should be good for you. The Circle K's are great strings also.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    No, they are the same. They use use different scale lengths to measure the Super Longs. So both on say, a 34" scale there would be zero difference. The only difference in the strings is an extra inch or so of winding for Super Longs.
  12. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Not to keep picking at the same nits, but it is not that the tension is much higher, it is that the windings lock the points of the hex core and make the string less flexible.
  13. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I've never understood this. What difference in the construction of a bass would make the same gauge B string not be "floppy" (apart from the scale length, of course)? The string breaks across the nut and the bridge at a nearly identical place, making it the same length on every bass it's installed on. Please explain this.
  14. He means the stiffness, of the neck in particular. A stiff neck seems to give a better responding B.
  15. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I like using a Tapered B-String. Fodera makes a few different sets.


    Just looked at my set of strings' gauges: .125 tapered B-String.

    Whomever said, ".125 is simply too light in relation to the other strings, there's no way it could have the proper tension tuned to B at that scale length." is clueless.
  16. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I like .125 B strings as well. The tension might not be equal but it sounds damn good.
  17. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    I use GHS flats on my Squier Active V with no floppiness whatsoever. The gauge of the B is about .128.
  18. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    I don't want to get into a big argument, because I understand that there are other factors. But, if the strings are all the same construction, then what I said is true. On the same scale length, a .125 B just isn't going to have enough tension. For example, the B on a light gauge D'addario XL set is like 31lbs of tension, while the A is 38 and D is 43. 31lb's is going to give you a floppy B.
  19. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    But, the fatter B string takes more energy to get it's mass moving than the skinny D and G...
  20. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    OK it's like this... ALL WOODEN NECKS FLEX, regardless of truss rod types. When a fat string vibrates, it transfers vibration into the neck which absorbs a lot of energy as it resonates. A larger mass neck of a more rigid design (Multilaminate, Quartersawn single) will reflect more vibration back into the string. This makes the string more responsive so you don't need to pull as hard to get it going. This give the impression of a tighter feel, even though the actual load tension may be lower in a thinner string like a .125.

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