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sizing up for the best results

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JWC, Feb 4, 2001.


  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I got a question. Are heavier gauges better than lighter gauges for hammering on and pulling off?? I have Ernie Ball 105s on now and a new pack of 95s sitting on my shelf that I got a deal on from my buddy at the music store. Which set is better for hammering and pulling off? My next 5 gigs are with a pretty technical band, and most of my lines are fast hammer ons and pull offs, as I follow the lead guitarist's riffs some songs. I don't slap or pop, so that doens't have to be considered in answering the question. I just want to sound the best I can and need to know which strings will produce the best results for my hammer on pull offs. Thanks much,
    JWC.
     
  2. oo0o00o0oo

    oo0o00o0oo

    Apr 30, 2000
    Chicago
    I would prefer thinner gauges for that, it sounds more articulate to me.
     
  3. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Thanks man, but are thinner gauges easier to play when performing hammers and pulls?? I was told once heavier strings have more bounce, but that sounds like crap to me.
     
  4. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I'd try them both then make your own decision.
    Doc
     
  5. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    i would, but i dont want to take these off and then not like the others right before a gig.
     
  6. oo0o00o0oo

    oo0o00o0oo

    Apr 30, 2000
    Chicago
    Thicker strings seem to me to have a lower tension... that may just be due to the increased surface pressure on my fingers. I don't think thin or thick strings are neccesarily easier to play H/O P/O's but I can tell the difference in sound.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Of course these things are all subjective and down to personal taste and style of playing. But I think that thinner strings would almost certainly be better for hammer ons and pull-offs, becuase they would be easier to move.

    Any technique where you are just using your left hand is going to require more strength and the thicker the string, the more effort it's going to take to move it. Thinner strings will help for faster, more technical work, where you require more precision and will also require less pressure. Bigger strings are probably better for tone.

    The thicker the string, the more effort is going to be required to execute fast and precise hammer-ons especially. Of course the action comes into this as well - high action can make HOs/POs much harder and a combination of high action and thick strings might make it impossible on some basses, IMO.
     
  8. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Thanks alot Bruce. I noticed that it does take alot of strength in my left hand because my strings are relatively thick. But how can you tell if the action is too high?
     
  9. lower the action. if you like it better, then it was too high before. :D

    generally, no matter what technique you are using, thicker strings are harder to play but sound better, thinner strings are easier and don't sound as good. but look, the difference in tone is negligible if a slightly smaller gauge makes it a lot easier to play. probably nobody will be able to hear the difference but you, and even then it will probably just be your imagination.
     
  10. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It has been my experience that lighter gauge (thinner) strings are better (makes it easier) for hammer-ons and pull-offs. This seems to be true for both bass and guitar (for me).
     
  11. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    well which is best for 8th note patterns and walking??
     
  12. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Shouldn't medium gauge be a good compromise of everything? :)

    Seriously, I think it's in the individual. The only thing I like lighter gagues for is the pop in slap/pop.
     
  13. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Are 105s considered medium or heavy or medium/heavy?
     
  14. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Medium heavy, or maybe medium. I've seen it called "classic medium", too... and Ernie Ball calls their gagues by even funnier names. So I guess it depends on who you ask.

    In my opinion, 40-60-80-100 is a medium light set, 45-65-80-100 is a medium set and 45-65-85-105 is medium heavy.
     
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You can keep lowering action until you start getting fret buzz. How far you can go depends on your individual playing style.