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Suggest me some string guages?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mindchef, Mar 27, 2013.


  1. Mindchef

    Mindchef

    May 23, 2012
    So I'm in 2 bands - one that plays in C#standard/drop B, and another that plays in drop C#. I have a 5 string Fender Jazz. That's my only (good, gig-worthy) bass. A normal 5 string set would have too much tension for tuning that high. Right now I'm using a regular 4 string set with an extra high one, and the strings are almost too floppy to be playable.
    Looks like I'll have to find the perfect medium in-between with a custom set. So any suggestions size wise?

    EDIT: And yes, of course having a separate bass for each tuning would be better. Unfortunately my wallet says otherwise, so I'm gonna need some strings that will work with both tunings.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    So what are the exact tunings you use for each band? Your explanation of your tunings don't make sense to me, so just go through each string.
     
  3. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    It really depends on what you mean by normal. A 45-135 set tuned standard and a 40-125 set tuned up to where you do would probably feel similar, and both would be considered normal sets.

    My advice? Write down what you consider a normal fiver set that is too tight, then next to that write down the modified four+1 set you think is too loose, then pick a gauge in between each string. It is probably close to one of the lighter five-string sets available.
     
  4. Mindchef

    Mindchef

    May 23, 2012
    Jimmy: Low to high,
    Band 1 - C#(sometimes down to B), F#, B, E, A
    Band 2 - C#, G#, C#, F#, B
    Fourbanger:
    Yeah, I just said "normal" meaning what one would normally expect to get in a regular pack for tuning to standard. I didn't really pay attention to the guages of the last strings I got, it was a while ago.
     
  5. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I just do standard tunings, myself, but the Circle K crew gives a lot of thought to gauges and string tension. I've been using their balanced tension 5 string sets for a while, and they're very good quality strings.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Guess you better start paying attention to gauges now ;)

    Any chance of getting your hands on a [DEL]feeler gauge[/DEL] caliper? You could measure the strings with one. That would give you an idea of what to bounce up to.
     
  7. Mindchef

    Mindchef

    May 23, 2012
    Yeah if I had it my way I wouldn't move away from standard. That's all I used until joining these bands. Damn gui****s and their need to downtune everything...XD I will check out Circle K though, and maybe 40-125 is what I'm looking for...
    Edit: and I had never even heard of a feeler guage until now! Looks like a pretty handy tool, might need to get one
     
  8. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Normal is not an exact description and could be anything from 40-125 to 45-130 to 45-135, which are probablt the three most common or typical rive string sets. Without knowing exactly which you had you might have to experiment a little, but I am going to guess either of the two larger of the above typical sets are what were sold to you as normal, so go a step or two lighter than that and see how it works for you.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh shoot....I'm sorry...I didn't mean a feeler gauge. I meant a caliper. I guess feeler gauges could work, but this is what I meant to suggest:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. BAce

    BAce

    Jul 31, 2012
    The D'Addario string tension chart can help you select string guages. For example, a "normal" B string at .125, tuned to B has a string tension of 31.4 lbs. If you tune that string to C# it now has a tension of 35.2 lbs. If you took a .120 string and tuned it to C#, it would have a tension of 32 lbs--very close to the tension of a .125 B. So find out the string tensions of the full set of the strings you have on the bass, assuming it was tuned BEADG. Select skinnier strings that will give you nearly the same total tension when tuned to your freakishly weird tunings :) There's also the concept of balanced tension strings. The skinniest string has a tension of N lbs. The next heaviest string has a tension of N plus a few lbs. And so on and so forth. Standard guage strings are not balanced tension. The G and D strings have considerably more tension than the bigger strings. On my short scale, I run .040, .055 .075 .105, tuned DGAE. Each larger string has a little more tension than the one before it, and never exceeds normal total tension.
     

  11. +1
    The charts they have available for the D'Addario XL Nickel rounds is extremely helpful. You really need to check it out....
     
  12. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    The CKS chart is better since it has flat/sharp notes http://circlekstrings.com/CKSIMAGES/CircleKtensionChart130105.pdf
    It is for roundwounds on a 34" scale and you can use it to approximate tensions of other brands. I suggest choosing a set that is tension balanced in drop B and drop C#, while staying within 30-50 pounds (extra light to heavy). Then round to the nearest .005 for other brands.
    CKS actually has a huge choice of 5 string 'drop tune' sets that have equal tension strings in drop tunings, so they will have a set that is perfect for you, i would recommend the .130 .086 .065 .047 .033 set for medium tension in both of your tunings.
    http://circlekstrings.com/store/standard-drop-tuned-5-strings.html
     
  13. davy4575

    davy4575

    Nov 4, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Valuable info in here. My guitarist loves to play downtuned as well. We play drop C#. I favor a very bright tone, lots of high end, lots of low end, very little mid. my 4string is C#, G#F#C# on blue steels ml (105 to 45) i think. I just picked up a 5 string, and I hate (abhor, cant stand) the muddy sloppy loss of articulation at the thought of even tunning down on that. I like bright tone and lots of articulation. so the tuning I want to use mimics the gui****ist. starting from lowest tone (please forgive me, but I learned on a piano, where you started with the lowest tone, not the string closest to the floor) would be C#, G#, C#, F# A#. Im really partial to the sound and feel of the brand of strings I play with (blue steels), just my preference, and Ive played on em for 20 years. So Im wondering now though how the circlek strings would sound and feel compared to em.
     

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