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Tension gurus I'm in need of clarification.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SubTones57, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. SubTones57


    May 13, 2011
    **********UPDATE******* see post 12

    As stated I need a little help figure out something I would like to give a shot. I play a lot of experimental music including weird tunings. I don't like playing 5 stringers but I need additional low notes. Now keep in mind because of genre I must have an open D and B for "chugs".

    My idea is to take an extra 4string and tune it to ADAD. To use when the guitar is in dadgbe. However I would also like to be able to use the same bass for when the guitar is in drop B (B F# B E G# C#). On paper it would make more sense to stick with the tune pattern on bass and go to F# B F# B. However I don't think I would be able to find a string able to hold a low F# let alone sound good, so I was thinking I could go to BF#BE.

    The confusion is that when I'm going from ADAD To drop B (BF#BE) I'd actually be lowering 2 string and raising two strings. Is there a set capable of this or will I need to have different basses? Additionally please keep the negativity out of this. I don't care if you think my tunings are stupid and or pointless this is music nothing is wrong or right. I've been playing long enough to know its something worth trying(for me and my music)

    Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. For F# I'd want something between .160 and .200. Thankfully Circle K has multiple options in that range, including .166, .174, .182, and .200.

    There will be about a 6-7 pound shift in tension when going from A to B or back. Depending on the gauge or brand of string you get you may be able to find a string that can do either. If I were trying to do that I'd use a .150 gauge string. Would be on the high side when tuned to B and on the low side tuned to A but wouldn't be outrageously high or low at either tuning.
  3. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    No problem. Use this tension chart http://circlekstrings.com/CKSIMAGES/CircleKtensionChart130105.pdf you can use this to roughly approximate tensions of other brands of roundwound, the advantage of this chart is that it shows sharps/flats, no other chart does this yet.
    Design a set that has equal tension strings in your theoretical average tuning A#EA#D# (this is the method to minimise the tension imbalances in your 2 tunings) while also making sure each string is in the tension range 30-50 pounds (extra light to heavy tension) in your 2 tunings.
    The D going up to F# will have the biggest change in tension so choose that gauge first, keeping it within 30-50, then the tension of that gauge at the average E will be the tension you set the others to in average tuning.

    (In before 'why dont you just use a 5 string bass in standard?')
  4. I got so confused trying to understand the original post! That's why I'm glad I'm learning on a Fiver,
    makes a great thumb rest, too…
  5. :confused: Yes, I too am confused. :confused:
  6. SubTones57


    May 13, 2011
    ^ That was me confusing my self by over thinking in my head.
    I was getting hung up on the fact that I (the bass) would be tuning UP to bf#be while my guitarist would be dropping DOWN to b. So the bass would have a heavier tuning(ADAD) for the guitars higher tuning(drop d).

    If I wanted to drop with the guitar I would have I drop to f#bf#b
  7. ^The only problem I see with this is when you first hit a note your string goes just a little sharp same with your guitarist. The looser the strings the sharper it goes, so if your going up in tension while your guitarist is going down, the difference in your attack pitch to your decay pitch will be greater.
  8. SubTones57


    May 13, 2011
    Would one of you guys mind checking this work? I think I figured out my sets now. I'm worried about the tension of the BFBE set. It looks like it may warp or damage a neck. Thoughts? I'm leaning toward the fbfb/ADAD set right now.
    8u3u7a6u. eqata6eg.
  9. .150 @ A=36.7 @ B=46.2
    .106 @ D=34.3 @ F#=54.4 :eek:
    .073 @ A=37.0 @ B=46.6
    .055 @ D=37.7 @ E=47.5
    Total difference in tension 49 lbs

    .174 @ F#=35 @ A=49.5
    .130 @ B=36.0 @ D=50.9
    .086 @ F#=36.3@ A=51.3
    .063 @ B=34.9 @ D=49.4
    Total difference in tension 58.9 lbs

    As a luthier I suggest lower tension all together or getting another bass.
    As a set-up guy I suggest getting the lowest action possible in the lower tuning.
    But as that guy who has a 3-string bass and changes tuning all the time, I suggest something like
    F#BF#F# to ADAD but then again this is that guy talking.
  10. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Do you necessarily have to keep the 5ths tuning when your guitarist is playing in drop B? If not, it would be easy enought to figure out a set that handles both ADAD and BEBE.
  11. SubTones57


    May 13, 2011
    I could probably get away with BEBE for some of the music. However It would make some songs very difficult or impossible because of hammer ons and pull offs.
  12. SubTones57


    May 13, 2011
    I'm thinking of trying 135 100 70 50 for switching between ADAD an bf#be is it very bad if the second string has roughly 3 or 4 max lbs if tension than the others?

    What sizes would you recommend for this though?
  13. .166 @ F#=32.5 @ A=46.0
    .124 @ B =32.9 @ D=46.5
    .082 @ F#=33.1 @ A=46.8
    .049 @ F#=48.4 @ D=30.7
    Total difference of 23.1 lbs.

    ADAD your little D-string will be a little loose.
    F#BF#F# will take some time to get familiar with but you learn how to use that it's pretty awesome :smug: trust me.

    P.S. 3-string tunings I used DAE, EAD, and CGG.
  14. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    My recommendation ...
    For D to F# i would choose a Kalium .102 or another brand's .100, the big tuning change of 4 semitones takes it from 30-50 pounds.

    Balance in average tuning A#EA#D#
    .150 41.2 (36.7-46.2)
    .102 40.4 (32.0-50.9)
    .073 41.5 (37.0-46.6)
    .053 40.0 (35.6-44.8)

    In other brands i would choose .145 .100 .070 .050, from experience a .145 is the minimum gauge for good tone at A, and is not too tight at B, also a few brands do this gauge, try www.bassstringsonline.com for an excellent range of single strings.

    The D to F# string will be a little tighter / looser than the others in your tunings but 5 pounds is not much, compare that to a so called 'standard' traditional tension set which has a B 15 pounds looser than the D.