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String Recommendations: Fender BG-31 Acoustic

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by DaveLutz, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. DaveLutz


    Aug 24, 2011
    Highland, MI
    I have a Fender BG-31 acoustic bass. It's at least 8 years old and still has the factory original strings on it.

    My main concerns are:

    1- What can the neck/bridge/body/frets handle? I don't know anything about the truss rod in this thing (can the truss rod even be turned both ways?) So I'm worried about string tension and fret wear, etc.

    2- Scale length - It measures 32 inches from the bridge to the nut - will there be any problems if I uses standard 34 inch strings?

    3- String material- I'm not sure how the pick up in this thing works, can it handle nylon strings? The original strings look like they are made out of copper to me (possibly bronze though?)

    4- Other thoughts/advice you might have.

    I feel I have a pretty good understanding of strings when it comes to solid-body electrics, I'd just rather not experiment on this bass and end up ruining the neck.

    I wasn't able to find a product page for it on fender's website, so here's a link to one on Musician's Friend. (assuming the specs haven't changed since mine was manufactured): Fender BG-31 4-String Acoustic-Electric Bass: Shop Bass & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

    This isn't my primary bass, but I do use it in a variety of settings, both acoustic and plugged in.

  2. What kind of sound are you looking for?
    If you want a kind of mellow, DB-esque sound, id say try some tapewounds or flats.
    If you want a brighter sound try some bronze ABG strings.
  3. DaveLutz


    Aug 24, 2011
    Highland, MI
    Thanks for replying.

    I guess I'm looking more for what this particular guitar can handle, in the hopes that I'll be able to have a few different types of strings handy for different tones. I wouldn't mind having a set of flats, a set of rounds, and a set of nylons to swap out as the need arises. (Is it strong enough to handle nickel flats? Will the pickup have any problems with nylons?)

    p.s. It's late for me, I'm not sure what you mean by DB-esque
  4. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    1- ABG don't really like high tension or really large gauge strings. The bridges aren't meant for those type of strings. Just pick a string with a reasonable gauge, like 45-100, and you should be just fine. Yes, a truss rod nut is meant to turn both clockwise and counter-clockwise to tighten or loosen the truss rod.

    2- You should use strings meant for medium scale, or 32" scale. Standard 34" scale strings will present a problem wrapping around the tuner pegs.

    3- The gold colored strings are probably Phosphor Bronze, typically come with ABG's, and I'd definitely replace them. PB strings are fine on 6-string guitars, but I find they really don't sound all that good on ABG's. Nylon strings won't work as the bridge isn't designed for them... they need a bridge designed for wrapping Nylon strings as opposed to string pegs.

    4- On my ABG, Tacoma Thunderchief, I use flatwounds. Chromes work fine, but I've got Jazz Flats on there now and those are keepers for me.
  5. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Good advice in this thread.

    Not sure what to add, just to say I run D'Addario Chromes on my ABG.

    I will probably never go back to twangy Phos-Bronze strings because I am so pleased with the Chromes, but I understand why folks use them.

    Chromes on an ABG have such a nice balance between good mid overtones and an "upright-ish" thump, and still have some good unplugged volume believe it or not (can easily keep up with an acoustic + singer).

    If you do go for flats, get a set for 32" scale. Flats don't like to be wrapped around tuning pegs, so don't get a set that is too long.
  6. DaveLutz


    Aug 24, 2011
    Highland, MI
    Thanks for the advice SlowGypsy and Dogbone, you've done a good job at answering my questions.

    I guess I'm still a little confused on the scale lengths. I thought long scale was meant for 34" basses like my P-Bass, mediums were meant for 32", and shorts were less than 32", but the description on the D'Addarios makes it sound more like mediums are for 34" and shorts for 32".

    Sounds like one of these two options will be my best bet for flatwounds, then?

    Rotosound Jazz Bass 77 Monel Flatwound Short Scale (40-90 guage): Rotosound - Bass Strings, Jazz Bass 77

    D'Addario Chromes Light Flat Wound Short Scale (45-100 guage): D'Addario Strings : Chromes Flat Wound : ECB81S Chromes Bass, Light, 45-100, Short Scale

    I'll check to see if my local dealer (Motor City Guitar in Waterford, Michigan) carries either of them. RotoSounds have always been my string of choice for my solid body bass, but the local selection is usually pretty slim.
  7. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
  8. ddawson2012


    Aug 30, 2011
    Farmingdale, NY
    D'Addario Marketing Specialist; Don Dawson
    ooooh, i got a promotion! (jk) I'm actually a Marketing Specialist but as a bass player, i have interest in what goes on in here, as well as making sure fellow bass-players are having their D'Addario concerns addressed properly. If I can be of assistance, you can also email me at don.dawson2@daddario.com.
  9. DaveLutz


    Aug 24, 2011
    Highland, MI
    Thanks everyone for their advice, I just ordered a pair of medium scale D'Addario Chromes from BassStringsOnline.com. I'll post back in a few weeks with my thoughts.
  10. I have this same bass. I just put a set of D'Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic bass strings on it, and I'm really enjoying it. This is the second set I've had. I've also had:

    D'Addario Chromes
    Fender Nickel rounds
    D'Addario Phosphor Bronze

    A couple things to point out:

    1) The 32" scale is a pain; All the strings I've had on this bass were 34" scale, so they were a NIGHTMARE to install (REALLY crappy installation)

    2) The bridge is a total pain in the butt. Not only is it not big enough for anything larger than a .100, it practically disintegrates when you put strings through it. The wood is really cheap and it falls apart when strings go through it.

    I would recommend taking it to a guitar tech to install any strings. I always hate changing strings on it because of the bridge. 32" strings seem difficult to find.


    Best of luck!

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