String Tension Query

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bassicinstinct, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. I have been having problems from a health perspective which I have explored here:

    Due to a project I am now involved with, I have gone from using fairly light gauge Nickel Round Wound strings to using Rotosound Heavy Gauge (50/75/95/110) Flats.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm more than happy with the sound (and "thump") that I'm getting from the Rotosounds BUT I'm now experiencing even more problems with my left hand and I've come to the conclusion that this could be due to the fact that my current string choice means that I'm having to cope with a much greater string tension than when I was using the light gauge roundwounds.

    So, my question really is twofold:

    1. Is my assumtption correct?


    2. Is there a flatwound heavy-ish gauge string I could go for which is specifically designed to be "low (or at least lower) tension"?

    Please bear in mind that:

    1. I'm based in the UK.


    2. I'm a starving bassist. ;) ;)

    Any help much appreciated as always.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    1. Possibly but not very likely. And if it is the strings, I think it would be more of a case where you're bearing down harder than you need, rather than the string tension itself being too high. You can compensate for it by lowering the relief in your truss rod or lowering your action, and those will keep you from having to fret so hard.

    It's really hard to guess what the problem is without seeing you play, so don't take anyone's word for what the problem is on here. Instead, you need to talk to your bass teacher (or get a good one if you don't have one) and have him work with you on your technique, and keep your doctor informed of changes he's making to double check if it's going to harm you further.

    2. Flats are almost all pretty tense, except for Thomastik Jazz Flats, which aren't really flats at all. Some people swear by them, but I thought they sucked. Maybe you could get a lighter gauge flatwound, or even try tapewounds. A bit darker and deader sounding than flats but similar.
  3. Jimmy M:


    I have always assumed that the heavier the gauge string, the higher the tension would be. You learn something every day I guess!! :)

    I have been referred tothe hospital for surgery for the ulna lesion problem although I am currently undecided whether to actually have it done as I understand the risks of then operation actually making things worse is quite high. :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Lighter gauge tape wound might be worth a look though. Thanks for your response. ;)
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you're comparing similar strings, like all Rotosound flatwounds, for example, then yeah, generally the thicker strings will be more tense. But different manufacturing processes with softer materials result in lower tension, even though the string is thicker. Like on double bass...I use gut strings on mine, and even though they're like 3x as thick as steel double bass strings, they're extremely loose.

    Hope you don't have to have the surgery.
  5. Cheers mate, I appreciate that. :D