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string gauges

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by non, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. non


    Aug 4, 2015
    hey everyone i have a question about string gauges.
    i did search and found a thread from 2009 on this topic but was hopping to get a little more input from the tb community as the thread was only one page long.
    i have played your standard gauge strings forever: (.045 .065 .085 .105) range.
    some lighter gauge strings came on a bass but i did not like them. especially how thin the d and g string felt.
    i was thinking of trying .050 .070 .085 (.105 - .110)
    i play mostly heavy rock type stuff and some slap. what can i expect going to a heavier set as far as what it will do to my sound or anything else you all found you liked or disliked about a slightly heavier set of strings.
    also i do play a lot of e standard drop d and d standard tunings.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Here is an experiment you can try:

    Tune your bass down a half step, to Eb Ab Db Gb tuning. Play it for a while, maybe even make a demo recording.

    Now tune your bass up a half step above standard, to F Bb Eb Ab. Play it for a while, maybe make a recording.

    Which felt better to you? Which sounded better to you?

    If you preferred the strings looser (Eb tuning) then you might be a candidate to try the same brand and type of strings, in a lighter gauge.

    If on the other hand you preferred the sound and feel of tighter strings (F tuning) then you might enjoy going to a heavier gauge.

    If you switch brands or types of strings (i.e. from roundwounds to flatwounds) then it is not necessarily that simple.
  3. I wouldn't recommend larger diameter strings (gauge is a misnomer), unless you have a quartersawn neck or a neck with some reinforcement in it. (like graphite or titanium rods)
    You'll be putting at least 50 more ft./lbs. of tension on the neck.

    Use larger diameter strings if you want to downtune.

    gauge is a misnomer, because in the American Wire Gage (AWG) system, a larger number means a smaller diameter

    10 AWG is larger than 12 AWG
    patzilla83 likes this.
  4. non


    Aug 4, 2015
    thanks everyone.
    got it on the gauge misnomer.
    i have a couple of basses with 5 piece necks but not sure if that means quartersawn or not.
    the higher tension sounds like something i would like considering how loose the strings get down tunning.
  5. Pier_


    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia

    I've used 50 or even 55 strings on cheap basses, and never ever had a problem... my Harley Benton Jazz (140€ new) sports a set of Labella 0760M since December 2016, and prior to that Ernie Ball 50-105 rounds. it never moved since I setted it up (relief at about 0,30mm, almost straight).

    the truss rod is here for that. a faulty truss rod won't do the right work, or bad quality wood that keeps moving. but if the wood moves, it does it even with 30-90 strings.

    I've had almost 30 "made in" and "crafted in" japan Fender, from the 80's and 90's, and they ALL had the truss rod at the end, and couldn't work with any string unless you like a 1cm relief.

    no, the "quartersawn" is just the direction where the wood is cut from the tree.

    urban legends say that a quartersawn cut makes the wood more stable. I've had a G&L L1500 with quartersawn neck that wasn't stable at all...
  6. I guess I am your doppleganger then, because I put 0.050" - 0.115" on my Mexican Fender Blacktop & it nearly ruined the neck.
    Also in inverse correlation to you, I had a G&L with a quartersawn neck & it was the stiffest neck I'd experienced, until I got my current Ibanez BTB.
  7. Pier_


    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    well, in my experience, Mexican Fenders are some of the worst in stability :D but Fenders in general are not so stable.

    a friend of mine bought years ago an American Vintage '62 from the early 2000, well kept by the previous owner, but once he had the bass in his hands... the truss rod didn't work... he had an high relief and, even using 40-100 strings, he couldn't get it straight.

    however, it's not the "quartersawn" that makes the difference, is just the quality of woods and truss rod.

    I stopped using Fenders due to this... in many years I've had something like 30 Fenders (from Squiers to American Vintage), and they are some of the cheapest buildt basses out there, compared to other brands, for the wood selection, finish and everything.

    they still have the best design and recognizable sound (but about this I have my theory, and it's only related to an "age" thing. we hear the Precision since the 50's, the Jazz since the 60's, like with the Strat and Telecaster. it's obvious that in 60 years they became the most recognizable basses, along with the Stingray), and I understood why they are the most "copied" by luthiers and boutique brands.

    If I can get a Fender without the typical Fender issues, why not?!

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