string gauge and tension

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lipis Roman, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. Lipis Roman

    Lipis Roman

    Mar 5, 2002
    I was just reading through some archived discussions at the Gary Willis site and came across the following reply to a question, regarding string gauge and tension.

    "A lighter gauge will have less tension so it will be looser and tend to buzz more so you'll end up having to raise the string height. A heavier string will actually let you lower the strings since its higher tension doesn't allow it to buzz as much. You'll end up with lower action and a fatter tone with the bigger strings."

    This led me to believe that it's easir to get low action without any buzzing by using heavier gauged strings. Is there any truth to that?

    I understand that the bass itself along with the setup all play a role in this, but all things being equal......what do you think?
  2. Angelo


    Jan 12, 2002
    I'll have to disagree.
    I've found that lighter strings are easier to get lower without fret noise,
    that is if you have the touch and feel for it.
    Think if you had lets say a 40-95 gauge setup low then imagine if those strings were any bigger in diameter.Your strings would be just a little closer,but would probably result in fret noise.
    My A string is at the same height as my D.The E is just a hair higher and the G is a bit lower.
    To give you an idea how low.
    The E and A pop with the lightest pluck.And playability is absolutely no compromise in sound.
    To me light strings sound better.And they work better for me.
  3. Angelo


    Jan 12, 2002
    You will get a fatter sound with bigger strings.
    If thats your thing.
  4. Steve Cat

    Steve Cat

    Mar 19, 2001
    If the nut and bridge are the same height the strings will be the same height since they rest circumferance (outside) of the string not its center, thus diameter doesn't directly make a difference. HOWEVER, the added tension of the heavy strings will bow the neck more and if the truss rod is not adjusted will actually ride higher. That being said, properly adjusted heavy guage strings will "ride" lower. THE REAL QUESTION is whether the lower action makes the Bass easier to play since it takes more strength to push down the higher tension strings. I dunno :confused: In my case it makes hammer ons and pull offs easier and I think I play faster lines, but I notice more calluses on my fingers so I dunno:confused:
  5. Let me get this right:

    Heavier gauge strings give deeper sound
    and lighter strings give better tone and sustain?
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    In theory yes, but in my experience it depends very much on the string brand, so you can't generalise that. Go for what feels right to you.
    I use a .035-.095 set of stainless steel Pyramid Pyrasounds and I haven't noticed any loss of tone compared to .040 or .045 gauges.
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