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String tension and gauge in relation to action...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I wanted to have some opinions and/or facts from folks in the know.

    I've currently got my short scale bass strung with 40-95 gauge D'Addario NPS rounds. I don't mind the loose tension but find that I can't get my action as low as I want.

    Would moving up a gauge allow me to lower my action due to reduced flexibility? Maybe 45-100...

    Alternatively, are there any short or medium scale flatwounds that would enable me to keep the tension about the same as these 40-95 rounds? This particular bass is a bit trebly anyway (it's the Warwick corvette SS active, I wish I'd got the passive model, oh well) so it wouldn't hurt to tame it down a bit.

    I have knackered hands which is the reason for wanting to keep the tension lower. For comparison, 45-105 rounds on a long scale bass is too high tension for me.

    Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing some views.
  2. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    45-100 rounds will be just as hard on your hands as a 45-105 set, the D & G strings are the killers tension wise. I'd recommend something like a 40-100 or 35-95 set of GHS Precision flatwounds(you can custom order a set here), or some TI flats if you can afford them, they are both round-core strings so they will have less stiffness and tension for their gauges. If you want some rounds that are similarly low tension, try some DR Sunbeams or Circle K strings.
  3. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    Thanks for the reply. That's true, the D&G would be the same. I considered the custom light Chromes, 40-100, might be worth a try.

    Would the GHS flats not be too floppy, and not let me reduce the action?

    I heard that TI flats have fairly low tension for flats, but also heard that they are similar to same gauge rounds. The only SS flats they offer are 46-106, I think they'd be too much.
  4. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    The 40-100 set of GHS flats would probably feel a bit floppy to most people just like the TIs do.(TIs are low tension, don't let the gauge fool you)

    I've played the 40-100 Chromes before and they were great but still a little stiff on the D&G for me to do the fast tappity-slappity stuff that I like to do, I got my action very low with them though. The GHS flats or TIs will most likely require a little higher action than hex core strings like Chromes, but IMO the round-core will make the strings easier to play than slightly lower action would. I don't know your hands though, it may be the opposite.
  5. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    If it makes any difference, I'm pretty sure GHS flatwound strings are hex core.
  6. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Circle-K balanced tension sets offer such a variety of gauges that you can find a set that matches your tension requirements closely.

    Skip can recommend a set based on your requirements, saving a lot of time & money on trial & error.

    And they sound great. I would compare them to Rotosound Swing 66 nickels noting that the Circle K's are more consistent from string-to-string and they seem to last longer.

    I like 'em.
  7. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    They are hex.

    The only string we make at the moment with a round core are the ones for the NS Design electric upright.
  8. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Thanks. I've heard many times that they were round core and just assumed that is why they feel a little more flexible than other flats.
  9. markanini


    Jun 25, 2008
    A simple thing I'd suggest you try is a .100 E with that 40-95 set.

    I'm not convinced higher gauges always help you get a lower action, it really depends on your playing style and each neck reacts differently to tension.
  10. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    It might be worth mentioning Pyramid flats here as well. They have just a bit more tension than the GHS flats, yet they're not as stiff as Chromes. I prefer those for my short scale basses though they're a bit pricey. www.stringsandbeyond.com has consistently good prices for them if you're interested.
  11. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Nope, it's all in how they wind the ribbon wire over the core.