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Question about GCGCF string guages

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Jolagh, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    I'm wanting to down-tune my 5 string from BEADG to GCGCF to play with a local death metal band. I'm wanting to see if these are the correct string gauges for that tuning, I'm wanting to buy circle Ks drop tune strings. From low to high.

    G - .182

    C - .136

    G - .090

    C - .067

    F - .049
  2. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Looks like that's a 44 lbs. avg balanced tension set for a 34" scale bass. A little tight for my taste but pretty close. For a 35" scale bass I think it would be closer to a 47 lbs. avg tension which could potentially be hard on the neck.

    What kind of bass, and what strings/gauge do you use now?
  3. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    Alright mine is a 35" scale. What would you recommend for that tuning?
  4. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    Sorry I guess I didn:t read your text fully. I have a spector rebop 5mm with and it has whatever the standard strings that came with it are.
  5. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Gotcha. If you like the way those strings felt tension-wise you'd probably think those gauges are too high in tension.

    I would shoot for a set that is somewhere between 40 and 42 lbs balanced tension. The Spector strings usually have a 105 E which probably is around that tension. The Spector set isn't balanced though.

    Circle K's tension chart gives the values based on 34" I believe, so if you look at the chart figure the tension is 1-2lbs higher per string at the desired pitch. I have a spreadsheet that calculates CK tension for me based on gauge and pitch for 35" scale - I can check that tomorrow and give you some numbers.

    My guess is you'll wind up with something in the range of 166-172 for the low G. I think the 130 for C would be fine at 35" scale. I'm not sure if CK has a pre-made set to handle GCGCF you might wind up buying the 4-string balanced drop set with the 130 and then just add the low string.
  6. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    Thank you, that'd be a huge help. This is my first foray into doing a drop tuning set. I had already figured id either have ro buy all singles or a set and a single like you said, as well as I plan on buying a new nut and having it cut to handle the new larger strings. If you can look tomorrow id really appreciate it. I want to make sure when I get a set I get the right ones.
  7. hoketus


    Nov 5, 2012
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Something more like .165 - .130 - .90 - .65 - .50 should be fine. No need to go quite so heavy on the lower strings (.165 is an F# gauge and you'd be tuning it a 1/2 step higher than that)
  8. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    So you guys are thinking that a set set up like:

    G - .166

    C - .124

    G - .079

    C - .061

    F - .045

    Is a better way to go? That would make them all around 38 or 39 lbs of tension. Would I still need to get the nut cut to fit these strings?
  9. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Depends on how heavy your technique is when playing death metal, 47 pounds is sorta medium-heavy tension, 39 pounds is sorta medium-light tension.

    Tension is proportional to scale length squared. So for a 35" scale multiply the values shown on the CKS tension chart by (35/34)squared = 1.06.

    It will help you to find out what gauges are on your bass, because then by perhaps slightly retuning your current strings and referring to the chart you can figure out your ideal tension.

    Skip at CKS has often in the past recommended setting the tensions of a balanced set to your ideal tension for an E string.

    A standard stock set is usually 125/130 100/105 80/85 60/65 40/45 and nut slots are usually filed to roughly .135 .110 .90 .70 .50 so you will only need to file the lowest 2 slots which can be done DIY if you research online the correct way.

    CK Strings are apparently super flexible and so tend to feel a little loose for their gauge, so you may want to choose a slightly higher tension to compensate :)
  10. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Here's the equation I'm using: (UW x (2 x L x F)2) / 386.4

    UW is supplied in the CK tension chart. L would be 35 here rather than 34. F is the frequency value I've noted below. I've verified this equation produces the values listed in the CK tension chart when using 34 as the L value, so it should be good for 35 as well when using 35 for L.

    So for 35" scale, using the balanced 4-string drop set with the 124 for the low C, I get these values:

    124 - 39.06 lbs tension at C (32.7 Hz)
    82 - 39.39 lbs tension at G (49 Hz)
    61 - 39.08 lbs tension at C (65.4 Hz)
    45 - 39.15 lbs tension at F (87.3 Hz)

    Incidentally this is the exact set I have on my 35" Spector Euro 4LX which is tuned CGCF. I aimed for about 40 lbs tension based on the fact that a typical steel 105 E string is right around 40 lbs on a 35" scale bass (I used D'addario's ProSteel unit weight as my basis for my math on steels).

    So for your low G, you can go either with a 166, which is 38.66 lbs tension at G (24.5 Hz) or a 174 which is 41.63 lbs tension at the same pitch. The 166 would probably be considered the more balanced option.

    Keep in mind in these balanced sets, your higher pitch strings are going to feel looser than you're used to. You might like or dislike that based on your playing style.

    I'm a metal pick player most of the time with a heavy pick attack and a fairly light fretting hand. I loved the balanced feel right away.

    The cool thing is you won't have to modify your bridge on the Spector for the thick strings because of the taper CK uses. That's a huge plus for me, considering I was having a hard time getting a 130 Fat Beam through the bridge slot on my Euros.

    If you have MS Excel, shoot me a PM and I can send you the spreadsheet I use to calculate tension. It's fairly crude, but it allows you to pull down a note frequency for a particular gauge and will show you the tension as well as total tension for all strings selected. Fairly handy for getting an idea of how much tension will be on the neck vs. what you're used to using. It's got separate tabs for CK, D'Addario ProSteel and D'Addario XL's at both 34" and 35" scale, since those are the only strings I've been able to find online who supply the unit weight for their strings, which you need for the tension equation.

    Good luck, and stop by the Spector Club thread if you have any questions related to the bass. It's a lively thread. :)
  11. Jolagh


    Nov 29, 2012
    Thank you guys very much, you've been a huge help i guess ill go with:

    G: .166

    C: .124

    G: .082

    C: .061

    F: .045

    And yeah I've been told by Todd from guitar house that I should go and browse the spector thread.