Strings for a 1/4

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by JTL, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. JTL


    Feb 21, 2011
    Looking for some 1/4 string options. Right now I'm using either spirocore mittels or weichs, or zyex mediums on all my 3/4 scale basses.

    I'm fixing up a little Kay 1/4 scale and am trying to find an affordable string for it that may be a similar tension to what I'm using on a 3/4 bass.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  2. JTL


    Feb 21, 2011
    Thanks for the response!
    I'm definitely looking for something primarily for pizz since I mostly play bluegrass or classic country.
  3. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    If you are mostly playing pizz, a good and cheap choice is Classic Line Double Bass Strings 1/4, but the strings are more difficult to bow then Spirocores.
    Daddario J610-1/4M Prelude Bass 1/4 work well for both arco and pizz
    Spirocore 1/4 is a good pizz choice as well, or Pyramid Black Nylon (not a good idea to bow the nylons...).
    Stay away from gut strings on small basses,they just sound muddy.
    After testing all of the above, my current string for 1/4 bass, very good for pizz and arco is Corelli 350 Orchester
    The E string of the Corellis is strong and works well down tuned to D (my usually tuning for some time now is DADG).
    If you are trying quint tuning, the Thomastik Spirocore Quint Bass 3/4 medium are useable on a 1/4, just shorten the silk a little bit.
  4. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Spirocore Starks might do well,set up a little higher than average 1/4 strings.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  5. xichael


    Jan 4, 2011
    Are 1/4 strings lower gauge than 3/4 strings?

    I just bought used Engelhardt M3 (my first upright!), and I think it has 3/4 strings, as they're cut off at the tuning pegs, with no wrap at the ends. It also has very high action.

    So if 1/4 strings are lower gauge, would that mean lower tension, decreased distance from the fingerboard?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  6. To play as deep on a smaller scale, they have to be higher gauge. Or, to avoid too low tension, you have to have thicker strings on shorter basses.
  7. Tune a 3/4 scale bass, grip at the point wehre your 1/4 scale ends.
    Result: the pitch is higher. To get the same pitch gripped you need to tune down the string getting less tension.

    Short scale strings might be a compromise between more mass (to get the same tension) and less tension (since the instrument is smaller and thick strings don't bend well).

    To compare string tensions for the same scale length have a look at my Excel file in my Dropbox and enter your scale in the top right corner:
    Dropbox - Talkbass
  8. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    All 1/4 strings I know have a little lower tension then the coresponding 3/4 strings, if both are tuned to specified pitch at specified string length. But the tension is higher as the same string for 3/4 when used on 1/4 instrument. With strings having metal strand core,you usally can use them shortend on 1/4 bass. But a 3/4 medium Spirocore will have lower tension then the 1/4 medium Spirocore when used on a 1/4 bass (that way you can get Spirocore downtuned solo feel on the small bass). Any 3/4 string having much lower tension then Spirocore 3/4 mediums will not be of much use on 1/4 bass.
    You can let some manufacturer to make guts for 1/4 bass, but they will be very thick or tension very low ==> both makes the string almost unusable. There are a few strings with nylon core for 1/4 like Pirastro Obligato, but I don't have experience with them.
    Strings for 1/4 bass are best on the bright side, that makes playing in tune much easier. Dark or thick strings tend to have a pitch that is hard to hear.
    An adult with big hands can play cello fingering on 1/4 bass, but I never found a string set I was satisfied with in quint tuning. A quint set for 1/4 does not exists, low B or C strings for 1/4 do not exist, not many solo tuning strings in 1/4 to get the cello tuning working. The Spirocore 3/4 medium quint set is useable, but has very low tension when used on 1/4 (not very loud). There is no Spirocore 3/4 strong quint set, which is regretable.