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Switched to lighter strings :)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Igotsoul4u, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Igotsoul4u


    Nov 3, 2011
    I just switched back to 40's from 45's after a couple of years hoping it would alleviate some rotator cuff and general shoulder pain. I am happy to say it made a huge huge difference. I have no pain at all after 2 church services which usually results in some pain. I feel nearly 100% better. I can't believe it made such a difference.

    I'm also pretty happy to be back on DR fat beams. I had a 45 gauge signature set of fat beams on for almost 8 years before putting on lo riders for the last year or so. The 40 lites sound thicker then they should. I do not feel like I lost a lot of tone and I love the sound I'm getting. The fat beams have the perfect EQ that seems like its a low shelf eq at 200hz. The flexibility it perfect for me but coming off 45's I imagine anythign would feel more flexy. I wouldn't mind a signature lite set with the 105 e string. anyway. I'm happy and fat beams lites are staying on until they don't make em anymore. I am glad to be back in the fat. :hyper:
  2. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    Same here - made the same switch - 45s to 40s - using the cheap Carvin/LaBellas - not bad for the low price either. Some folks have said here that they're NG, but I like them so far - been around 6 months now...
  3. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    I'm sure DR will put together a custom set for you if you contact them, or you could find singles elsewhere ... juststrings.com? 105 75 55 40 creates a slight and consistent fall in tension from E to G. 105 80 60 40 is more tension balanced than 100 80 60 40, with the E brought up to the tension of the A, instead of being looser.
    Here's D'Addarios tension values for 100 80 60 40, the fat beams will be similar:
    XLB040 G 33.700 pounds
    XLB060 D 42.900
    XLB080 A 42.000
    XLB100 E 36.500
  4. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Best overall tension & tone balance I've come across is the magic that La Bella puts together with their set gauges. Seeing how most string manufacturers produce their strings in gaps of "5" (IE: 80-85-90), the magic numbers that seem to land (from my experimental phase with numerous strings and research) are:

    .040 .055 .075 .095 or .100 - Average of 35-37 lbs. of tension
    .045 .060 .080 .105 or .110 - Average of 42-45 lbs. of tension

    *"E" strings can differ to fit preference while retaining a balanced-tension set

    Anything outside of that realm seems to linger back and forth a several pounds or so (depending if you increase or decrease the gauge). Besides Thomastik-Infeld (TI) strings - which are just bizarre in terms of how they manufacture their strings and the tensions that bare with them - every other string manufacturer should give you a balanced tension in those two gauges.

    Hope that helps.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, I'm done with heavier gauges, too.
  6. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    What is it with the heavy gauges that drew some of us to them at one point or another? I know I did it because of the whole "macho" thing and I didn't want to have a "G" string that was anywhere near a guitarist's bottom "E"... Odd how things work out after that whole mindless clutter, at least in my case. Now, I'm lovin' it! (Light gauges, not McDonald's) :bassist:
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well I'm not against heavier gauges, I'm just against them for me. I actually liked the slightly heavier strings for a while because I had started using flats for the first time in the late 90's, and could only find Fender 45-100's in stores, and I like to keep my gauges the same on all my basses for some weird OCD reason ;) But then I discovered D'addario has thinner flats than Fenders so I switched back to 40-95 on all my basses, and I'm much happier with them.
  8. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    I love how the decreased tension of 40-95 impacts the feel of playing. All the little expressions like left hand tremolo or bend are more matched to what I feel, and you can really attack with the right hand without compromising your dynamic range.

    In some cases the fatter strings sound better to my ear when played alone for a moment or two. But I realize that in the context of the song, that the tightness of the low end is a product of the bass and kick working together, and that the better articulation and mid response of the lighter strings makes it easier to find a place in the mix where you are not too loud, yet can still be heard.

    Ok, maybe that's OTT. I just like 'em.
  9. markanini


    Jun 25, 2008
    I agree with DigitalMan, little expressions don't come through on heavy sets. I can't stand anythig lower than a 105 E though, but each to their own. I can vouch for the balanced sets ixlramp and PBnJBassist talks about, right now I'm using a 105 80 60 45 and overall tension is noticeably lighter than a standard 105-45 set, also it's easier to be more consistent technique-wise which in it self reduces fatigue.
  10. L.A. BASS

    L.A. BASS

    Jul 30, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Hey Jimmy,
    I have to add to your statement the fact that string gauge size makes a big difference depending on what your roll in the band is. I'm a lead singer and use a lot more of my body to play and sing which makes a heavy string more appropriate for that situation. If I use a lighter string when I'm singing, it feels like I could pull the strings right off the neck where as a heavier string makes it a lot easier for me to anchor down my body when I'm hitting high notes. When I'm just playing bass in sub gigs and only have to focus on playing bass, it would be easier to use lighter strings although I never do and I really notice a much fuller sound in the studio with a bigger string gauge. Just my thoughts...

    By the way, I use Ernie Ball Slinky Strings 105-85-65-45
  11. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    The heaviest I've used were 50 on the G, used 45 for a while but came back round to 40. The set I've settled with for a long while are .40 .60 .80 .100 but I've recently switched from Elites s/s to nickel wound, nice tension for play-ability and a rounder/warmer tone than s/s.
  12. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    You guys got me scared now.
    I was thinking of switching to at least a .45 G string. I hate that thin thing on my bass... But maybe it's not as bad, maybe it's my unplugged practicing...
  13. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Practice without tone is like sex with your wife when you are trying to make a baby. It serves a purpose but is at the wrong end of the work/fun spectrum for me.
  14. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Gonna be stringing up a 28-120 Fodera Stainless Steel set here on my MM Bongo tonight.
  15. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    Okay, I'm gonna be responsible for zombifying a thread.....

    Anyway I've been play 105-45 pretty much since I started playing 20 some years ago. I have experimented with brands, tensions and even 110-50 but typically I've play DR Nickel Lo Riders. Anyway I've been having problems with my hands/arm nerve wise and been splitting my finger tips open fairly regularly with the dry weather and my new disco band requires a bit more of me than my lazy old rock band. I played a J bass with 70's pickup position and 90% I pluck over the bridge where the tension is high.

    Well for some reason I decided to try some Lo Rider Nickel 100-40's. Totally thought it would make my bass sound thin and like a rattle can fret noise but I got to say I'm totally blown away! With the exception of some more buzz on the open G (how often do I play an open G... and my bass is due for a new nut) everything is cleaner, my action is slightly lower and the tension is just a joy for both my hand. The smaller strings cause me pluck lighter and not give the neck the death grip without having to consciously think about it. Very interesting.

    Can't wait for my gig tonight!
  16. Nickel Lo-Riders 40-100 is on top my shopping list to try out when I acquire my second bass. I have D'A Chromes 40-100 on my current Fender Jazz and have been very happy with them for the last three and a half years.

    I like these hex-core strings because you can go fairly light in gauges without getting too floppy, still allowing a relatively low action.

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