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String Tension in a setup.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Matt Till, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    This is just a general question: When you set up a bass, what makes the strings less, tense? What makes them feel like they are really pulling on the neck vs. barely there? Because I took my bass to get it set up and the action is almost identical, but it plays so much smoother because the strings feel looser.
  2. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I'd say that the difference in action, resulting from proper trussrod adjustment, saddle height, and possibly fretwork or shimming, is the main reason that your strings feel looser when you play. The action overall is lower, and feels more balanced to play across the fretboard. This probably means that you got a good setup :) As far as I know though, a string bound by two points to a certain length, and tuned to a certain frequency, will always have the same tension... more or less. I'm not entirely certain as to the subtleties of tension, but suffice it to say that the things listed above are the reason it feels so good, and why it's good to have your bass in trim shape.

    P.S. Now that you've seen what a good setup can do, do some poking around and you'll find that doing it yourself (and possibly better) can be cheaper and more rewarding than having a professional job done.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I doubt the stings are looser. For any given scale, the strings will have one tension. They probably just feel better because of the setup ... or they replaced the strings.

    The only way I could see the strings feeling looser would be if they moved the saddles a long way forward towards the neck. You can probably get 1" to 2" movement in the saddles which could make a difference. But that implies your intonation was *way* off.
  4. If you changed string brands, then it's possible that the actual tension of the newer string is slightly less than the old ones, which will make a difference. Also, if you changed string guages, that too will have a tension difference, especially going from a higher guage number to a lower one. If it's the same strings, then it's probobly the trussrod adjustment that made the most difference.