Short Scale Set w/Higher Tension E

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Peelman, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Peelman


    Jul 6, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    I'm a beginner just finding my way around and discovering what I like. I have a 30" short scale P bass with a 32" winding length and recently got some D'Addario Chrome Flatwounds. I am definitely enjoying them more than the Fender 5250 Roundwounds I tried previously, but my E feels too floppy (this was also the case with the 5250s).

    Looking at some of the tension calculators, these gauge strings have tensions of:

    G - 34.54 (.045)
    D - 39.51 (.065)
    A - 34.66 (.080)
    E - 29.58 (.100)

    Those numbers seem to back up what I'm feeling. Based on other threads I've read, a sub-30 tension is quite a bit on the low side, is it not? Regardless of the norm, I'm finding it is too loose for me. I'd like to try a more balanced set, what recommendations do you have?

    I'm thinking I may need to order individual strings and build my own set in order to get a tighter E without getting my higher strings too tight. Maybe I'm missing something and there is a balanced set out there I haven't come across. Based on individual La Bella strings available, I'd like to try .045-.065-.082-.109 or thereabouts.

    Anything I should be aware of? The bass did not have a perfect setup to begin with, so I'm not worried about the increase in overall tension. In fact, there was quite a bit of buzz on open notes and lower frets across the strings with the 5250s and the slightly higher gauge of the Chrome's I'm using now took a bit of it away. A little bit more tension may be all it needs. By no means is that my motivation to change strings, I really do want less give in my E. Once I found a tension that seemed more comfortable, then I'd play with the action some to find my personal preference there.

    This forum is a wealth of knowledge and I've gained so much from reading. Wanted to post where my heads at and see if anyone else could shine a light on something I'm missing or let me know if I'm in the right direction.
  2. Would you be willing try a set of half-rounds?

    GHS Brite Flats 3070:

    G 049 - 42.9 lbs.
    D 062 - 36.4
    A 084 - 35.4
    E 108 - 35.5

    Short scale = 32.75" winding length (ball to silk)

    EDIT: On sale here - GHS Brite Flats Electric Bass Strings
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  3. SkinCoffin


    Aug 18, 2015
    These are long scale but maybe depending in your bass they could still work. I know my warwick shortscales take any tapered end strings easily. 10_zoom_1420570448.jpg 10_zoom_1420570448.jpg
  4. Peelman


    Jul 6, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    Cool, I may have to give the GHS strings a try.

    Between the rounds and flats I've tried, I favor the feel and sound of the flats, but a middle-road halfround may be a nice balance. I'll have to go check the extra .75" winding length to see if that might cause an issue. The end of the silk is pretty close to that first tuning peg, but may have a little give there.

    One thing that didn't immediately come to mind and I read in another post is that there is a difference between string stiffness and tension. I am after a stiffer feel on the low E and was assuming the string tension would quantify that, but I realize now that isn't necessarily the case. Other components on the strings, like materials, will affect stiffness. All other things being equal, higher tension will be more stiff, but when jumping between brands that have different processes on creating the string, rounds vs flats, nickel vs steel, different core, etc. there are other factors at play.

    It is all going to be a matter of trial and error, but I think those GHS strings would be a step in the right direction.
  5. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    You can buy single XL Chromes at Just go to a heavier guage. I have med scale chromes on my short scale. Fit perfectly.
  6. Yes, it's true "tension" and "stiffness" are not the same thing, although there is a certain degree of correlation between the two.

    That said, the GHS Brite Flats are known for being stiffer than most rounds/half-rounds.

    p.s. I just found out the sale I was talking about in my earlier post ended as of 10 am today. Sorry.
  7. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Long-scale only, unfortunately. They [vendors in general - not sure if BSO was already around] used to have single shorty Chromes available, but not in the last 5 years or so.
    I think so too, excellent suggestion. However, those 3/4" more in the winding length might be a problem.
    [EDIT: I was looking at a pic of your bass as I wrote:
    Getting Started Again]
    If so, look into an aptly-sized custom-made equivalent of the so-called "mod bar", or adding string-through-body canals. In the latter case, be careful to measure the added string path, and alter it if needed with counterbored ferrules, so you don't end up with a non-standard required length: many short-scale strings are 32" winding; some are 32.5" or 32.75" as we know; Pyramids are around 33.5"; medium-scale, La Bella Beatle-Bass and Mustang scale and also DR "short-scale" are 34"; Thomastik-Infeld "short-scale" are 35.5". Phew...
  8. Peelman


    Jul 6, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    I couldn't wait too long and just strung up the GHS Brite Flats. They seem to have done the trick!

    Going to the .108 on the E was a huge difference. It is a pretty snug fit at the bridge. The longer winding length is noticeable and almost an issue. I was able to string it up without any modification and it plays, but it isn't ideal. That first tuning peg is only a couple inches away from the nut and it goes around the peg before it gets to the taper in the silk. I've seen some other home remedies for that, so not really worried about it. I'm still learning how to play, so it works just fine for what I need it for.

    The set definitely feels like what I was looking for. I will be more than happy to play these into the ground and figure out if I want to tweak anything. My guess is I will still order a custom set the next time I get strings just to go up or down a little bit on a string or two, but these are pretty darn close. Thanks for the recommendation!
    michael_t likes this.
  9. I have La Bella 043-104 short scale Deep Talkin' flats on both my Gibsons and they really tighten up a short scale bass, especially the E and sound great. I use them also on long scale Fenders and Rickenbackers and they have a classic sound you've heard on countless records. I can't recommend them enough, best playing and sounding flat wound string I've ever used. They also have a 049-109 set if you really want to tighten up the bass but I like the medium gauge strings for short scale. La Bellas are on the stiff side, (the inner core is stronger) which also helps with finger style if that's what you do.
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