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Same tension down a step as in standard tuning

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ale the Snail, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Ale the Snail

    Ale the Snail Supporting Member

    Anyone have an approximate idea? The scale length is 34.
    For years I played with huge strings, then I got a new bass with smaller strings and forgot how much tone smaller strings had.
    Have prosteels on right now and they sound good but the tension is just a bit too loose for my taste but its not horrible.
    I'd just like to stay away from having to put much larger strings on again. My set right now is 110 85 60 45

  2. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    It's hard to gather from your post exactly what you're trying to achieve. But from the title of the thread, it appears that what you desire is to have the same tension on the E string when you tune it down to D.

    Both Circle K and D'Addario publish tension charts that list the respective tension of their strings at pitch.

    For example: A D'addario nickel 105 E string pulls about 40 pounds of tension on a standard bass. To get the same feel out of a string tuned down a step to D, you cross reference the chart and see that a 120 tuned to D has about the same tension, 40 pounds, for this make and model of bass string.

    So extrapolated, to get a string to feel the same tuned to D as the string you prefer tuned to E, add about 10 to 15 to the string gauge. Since this will result in a larger diameter string, you may need to touch up the nut slot and re-set your bridge saddle compensation as well, due to the larger core causing more string stretch.
  3. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    +1 to the Circle K strings.

    I recently switched to one of their balanced tension five-string sets (standard tuning) and I'm lovin' the feel of it.

    They've dug deep into string gauges and tension, and IMO the quality of the string is tops.

    Edit: I'm now using a .142 B string on my Carvin SB5000, and there was no need to alter the nut slot.
  4. Ale the Snail

    Ale the Snail Supporting Member

    Sorry for not being more clear
    I'II check out that chart.
  5. Lemon Of Troy

    Lemon Of Troy Banned

    Nov 6, 2012
    Palmetto State
    If you like ProSteels, you can build a custom gauged set at Bass Strings Online. You can do a 5 string set for about 20 bucks or so. You can build standard, balanced, progressive tension, whatever you want! Killer prices and service, and he gives a discount to TB users.

    Here's where to order, complete with the tension chart:
  6. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Pitch is proportional to the square root of the inverse of mass per unit length.
    Since mass per unit length is proportional to the square of the diameter, the pitch
    is proportional to the inverse of the diameter (the square and square root cancel).

    This simply means that if you decrease the pitch by a certain factor, you need to
    increase the diameter by the same factor to maintain the same tension.

    So for a drop in pitch of one whole step, the factor is 1.12 (E divided by 1.12 = D).
    Therefore just multiply the string gauge diameters by 1.12 to maintain tension.
    Keep in mind that different gauges at the same tension can feel different.

    If you like the 110 85 60 45 set at standard tuning, muliply each diameter by 1.12
    and select a set that's the closest.
  7. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Ding ding ding. We have a winner. In over a decade on internet forums..... That was the best post I have ever read. I feel after just having read it and mighty impressed that I understood it! Bravo! Excellent post!
  8. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Just had to say it again.
  9. king koeller

    king koeller

    Apr 20, 2005
    Dayton, Ohio
    yeah mega fiddle!!!! way to go!!!!
  10. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    ^ what megafiddle said. That's a good rough rule to get you close to your ideal gauge. The rule assumes strings have equal density, in reality this changes slightly for wound strings due to string construction, and changes significantly between plain strings and wound strings.

  11. hoketus


    Nov 5, 2012
    Toronto, ON, CA

    Love this applet, been using it for years. Enter your current tuning and gauges, and simply recalculate with the new tuning to find the desired tension.
  12. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Gee, thanks!