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Tension and playability.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Diesel Kilgore, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. I have GHS Super Steels on my Jag and the tension is starting to bug me. They sound great and are loud, but it's almost like I need a pick just to play. Seems like finger plucking just doesn't get the sound out of them unless i'm really plucking hard on the strings.

    Anyone else have this problem with high tension strings? I don't know how high of a tension the GHS's SS's are considered to be. But i'm thinking of just going with EB Super Slinky's and being content with the ease of tension, or go buy some picks. :meh:
  2. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    If you like the sound/brand just get thinner gauges . . . .
  3. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Sounds like you like a clickier sound from the pick attack. You may be better off lowering your strings and emulating that with some fret click, or getting lighter strings as knuckle_head has suggested. You might even consider just playing with a pick since you like how it sounds.
  4. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
  5. Shardik


    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    Are you turning up the amp enough? Lately I have found myself turning up the amp a bit more and softening the picking of the strings.

    When it comes to using fingerpicking vs a pick, those produce very different sounds. I rarely use a pick on my basses, but when I do, it is because I want the sound of that pick attack.

    I do not have experience with your bass or your string set, but I am sensitive to differences in tension. I use balanced or progressive tension on my guitars and basses, Especially bass sets tend to have to high tension in the D string for my liking (compared to the G and A strings), while the E-string often feels a bit sloppy. I sometimes drop tune the E-string to D, and then it can't be sloppy to begin with.

    When you say your bass have too high string tension, does that go for all the strings?

    Edit: BTW, the last set I got was 45-60-80-105. That is not low tension, but the tension is pretty balanced throughout the string set.
  6. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    When I first started using higher-tension strings, I was not too impressed with the result, but when I tweaked my action down just a little bit, things got a LOT better. I don't know how your action is set, but you may wish to give that a try.

    FWIW, I find playing faster triplet figures, grace notes, and little percussive ghost note kinds of things much easier with a higher tension string. I like my strings to push back a bit. It might just be me, though.
  7. I do enjoy the clickier sound of a looser string. I've never used picks before but i've always used the Super Slinky's and that's what i've become used to.

    Pretty much all of them are tense, the loosest obviously being the E, but it's still pretty tight, D seems to be the tightest and the hardest to get the sound out of. I keep my amp just loud enough not to disturb the rest of the house, but enough to definately hear it well, I keep it close to me as i'm playing too. My action at the 12th fret is 3/16" from the fretboard to the bottom of the string.

    And after posting this I went and bought some picks to try it out, which is a first for me. I do like the way the strings sound, they are great, so i'd hate to dump them just because of the tension.
  8. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Get lighter gauge set of them if you otherwise like them. Yes high tension is annoying and detrimental to best playing imo. Doesnt sound as good either either in my experience of trying diff gauges of same brands.

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