string tension and old hand

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by kkaarrll, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    I am experiencing some soreness in my old man fingers when switching to ghs precision flats

    I love the sound, but am worried about making them my go to. Any suggestions for the same polished feel with less tension?

    And do you think tension helps with older arthritic type hands that have been beat up by football etc over the years?
    bassbully likes this.
  2. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    How about GHS Precision Flats in a lighter gauge?
    lz4005, shawshank72 and Aqualung60 like this.
  3. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
  4. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014

    5 strings examples?
  5. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    I didn't know you needed a five string set. Well, if you play a four string bass, it will be easier on your hands AND you will have a bigger selection of lighter gauges to choose from. It's a win-win situation.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    Lower tension will certainly help, standard bass sets are very tight. To keep action low you will need to be more gentle with your plucking hand too.
    Use smaller gauges.
    howlin likes this.
  7. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    Except that 45 G is still very tight.
    Low and equal tensions would be 130 095 070 050 035 singles.
    petrus61 and kkaarrll like this.
  8. kkaarrll likes this.
  9. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Thomastik-Infeld are expensive by comparison, but they are very flexible, have excellent tone and last a very long time.

    Register as a TB member at for good pricing, advice and service.
    The Eristic likes this.
  10. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    the more I play, the more I figure out what works for me sound wise and feel wise

    this learning how to not use a pick is also changing things for me

    thank you
  11. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    A GHS Precision Flat G string once snapped the nut on my Fender P in two! I think they're the highest tension strings I've ever played with.
    I would look at something else. I think the Fender flatwounds aren't as tight.
  12. I recommended the La Bella LTF over the TIJF because the La Bella's overall tone is closer to the GHS, which the OP likes.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  13. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    If you're new to fingerstyle and still working to develop your technique, the problem might simply be that you are plucking the strings harder than you need to. Try cranking your amp and then plucking with the lightest touch you can manage. This let-the-amp-do-the-work approach is not only easier on the fingers, but also gives you the ability to play with much greater dynamics and nuance.
    kkaarrll, sissy kathy and bassbully like this.
  14. Here's an interesting fact...

    The 45-G on the GHS weighs in at 41.5 lbs. in terms of the actual tension, while the 45-G on the Chromes has a whopping 53.3 lbs. of tension.

    The Fender 9050s do come in a light-gauge 5-string set, 40-60-80-100-125T. But they're very different from the GHS P Flats in terms of overall tone.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    ^ :thumbsup:

    (i use other strings as well, but the TI's are pretty neat. and i'm an old guy with 'evolving' issues, too.)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
    kkaarrll likes this.
  16. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I recently started using GHS Precision Flats as well, and while they do have a fair amount of tension, I find them a bit less stiff than other brands. Have you tried being aware of hand position and posture, relaxing the muscles more, playing with a lighter touch, etc?
    kkaarrll likes this.
  17. Yes, Chromes have the tightest feeling G I think I've ever played.

    OP, you may consider actually going with a lower gauge D instead. I tight D can make the whole set feel stiff. You can lower the string action on the standard G and with a slightly lighter D you'll be getting much less resistance when playing across strings, making the "stiff" feeling G feel much easier to play. The Labella Deep Talkin 43-104 set uses this balanced approach and it makes for a very even feeling set that has decent tension, but you don't feel like you're fighting the strings.
    kkaarrll and michael_t like this.
  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    You and I are in the same boat. A few of my fingers are getting arthritic and cause me issues from time to time. Being a flats player I feel flats help my fingers not hurt them. I can set up my basses with flats action very low. I find the tension allows me to tap or bounce some of my finger's on them to produce a note.
    With rounds or lower tension strings I dig in more and it cause more problems. I use primarily chromes for my flats but in the last month became a Ernie Ball Cobalt flats fan. The Cobalts have a bit less tension but enough to allow me to set them low. Try increasing your volume, and plucking lighter with higher tension strings.
    Helix and kkaarrll like this.