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question regarding lighter gauges

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by xlows, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. xlows


    Oct 21, 2006
    i've been using .45-.105 my entire bass career and after hearing that geddy used super light gauge strings on the show of hands dvd to get his wal to sound the way it did, i thought about using them, and lately it's seemsd like more and more of somethign i'd like to try. can anyone explain the differences between the lighter gauges and regular? thanks
  2. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Better to just try some for a while and hear what it does. I've been putting together "balanced tension" sets from separates for a couple years now based on figures from D'Addario (seems to work with any strings of like construction) and went from heavey to way way light over time to feel and hear what the differences were.

    Here's a good start for lighter nickel roundwounds:
    gauge  |  tension in pounds
      .040            33.7
      .055            35.3
      .070            33.7
      .095            34.4
      .130 tapered    34.5
    Just for comparison, here's a balanced tension nickel set in .045:
    gauge  |  tension in pounds
      .045            42.8
      .060            42.9
      .080            42.0
      .105            40.3
      .145 tapered    41.5
    I've found that balancing the tension seems to help necks too, and I love having a more consistent feel from string to string and not always getting the impression that the low E and low B (and G) don't quite match the rest of the set in terms of dynamics/punch. Standard sets often vary 10 or 12 pounds, these only a few.

    The reason I specify tapered B strings is because when you get that much diameter the flexibility is less and it makes them tonally duller than the rest, but you can regain some with a moderate taper core.
  3. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Speaking of Geddly Lee and the Wal basses, back then he used Superwound Funkmaster strings (made by Rotosound). Not only were these light very light gauges (90-70-50-30) but they were exposed core at the bridge. He started using these at the suggestion of Wal but on all his other basses he's always used standard gauge Rotosound Swing Bass strings.
  4. Grey Cat

    Grey Cat

    Dec 1, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Roto is no longer making the Funkmasters, either (at least according to their website.) The DR Hi-Beams I use now seem to be the most evenly-tensioned to me for a packaged string. Medium-Lites, .45-65-80-100.
  5. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    LIghter strings certainly play easier. I have been using 90s and 95s for a while now and like the playability. The main trade off is that they seem more prone to rattling. Also, and this may all be in my head, but I think they may be a little boomier and less controlled in the low notes. Could be totally off on this.
  6. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    In my experience, lighter strings are usually floppier and have less low end oomph, but the trade off is easier playability and less muddiness. The only thing to really watch out for is that you might need a new nut to fit them right, I can go back and forth on my Sterling but the nut on my Lakland doesn't like A-strings lighter than .085.

    Like with all string questions, the only way to know is to give them a shot yourself!

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