Strings and sustain/action

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ransomm, Jul 3, 2002.

  1. Ransomm


    Jul 3, 2002
    Am I going to to get better sustain from large diameter strings or from smaller diameter strings? Also, will diameter have an effect on how low the action can be set?

    By the way I play an Ibanez 885 (5 string).


  2. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    In my opinion, the answer is yes to both of your questions....but I have no facts to back that up. It is just my opinion. I like a little heavier guage string and more string mass over the bridge does improve tone to me. And yes, the thicker the string, the further away from the fretboard the string is.
  3. Ransomm


    Jul 3, 2002
    Any other insight?
  4. boomerang

    boomerang Guest

    Dec 9, 2001
    lighter guage strings have more tension, and get to the fundamental quicker. therefore you can get lower action because the strings dont need to vibrate as much. of course so many things factor into this, including primarily, neck stability imo.

    On his one of his 6ers i beleive, les claypool actually has an unwrapped string (just the core, like on a guitar) for a high C. Apparently he too beleives lighter guages improve sustain (of the fundamental note) and can allow lower action for slapping and tapping.

    hope that helps.
  5. i wasnt sure of all of the tension thing either, but thanks for clearing that up. in my OPINION bigger strings mean bigger tone. i like 130's on my 5 string. but appreciate the post.
  6. The Lowest

    The Lowest

    May 17, 2002
    New Jersey
    Wow ! You guys are making me think.

    I've always found that the heavier the string the lower I can set the action and I've also found that the heavier the string the tighter the tension. Either there's some wild variations inherent in different brands of strings or we have very different perceptions of what these strings do and how they behave.

    For the record the sound I am striving for is pretty much a Jameson/Rainey thing, but I also want a good jazz sound. I want a good, clear swinging walk when that is what's called for.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems that A heavier touch would make the lighter gauges seem floppy and necessitate higher action. A light touch would enable the lower action with light strings.
  7. Kevinlane

    Kevinlane Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Missouri, near Branson
    I would raise your action and use flats or near flats for this kinda vibe.
  8. no, they don't. thicker strings = more tension.
  9. The Lowest

    The Lowest

    May 17, 2002
    New Jersey
    Exactly. I keep one Precision up set like this, and when I *really* want to go for it I'll put a sponge rubber or rawhide mute by the bridge, but this cuts down on the output, so unless it's a huge amp or a studio situation I generally stay away from the mute.

    I keep another ax with Dean Markley strings. The ones that used to be called half and halfs, but they have another name now. They sound just like roundwounds but with less fret noise. They are groundwound up to about the 12th fret , then they taper into roundwounds. so they are roundwound over the pick up. Very good strings.