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The Thickest String

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by fadingshadow95, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    I did some probably 6hrs worth of searching looking for the largest guage string possible (I'm an experimental person). And the thickest I could find was a .195 from SIT (I also searched the forum a bit). Does anyone know any thicker? I want to purchase the very thickest string (or set) to base my string set up off of. Thanks.
  2. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    talk to jaquo iii-x
  3. kvane


    Sep 26, 2007
    Seattle, Washington
    Piano strings... you'll find any gauge you could possibly want, BUT can your bass support them? It's one of those things where you'd have to get ahold of the manufacturer to find out what the heaviest guage strings can your bass support. The other alternative is to have a bass custom built, such as Knuckle basses.
  4. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    I've already considered and researched the part about supporting it. I downtune a lot, so that will lessen the tension a bit. Now it's time to experiment. It's all trial and error from here.
  5. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    shouldn't heavier strings have less tension anyway? i know a low B generally has alot less tension than a high G, right? (i know, it's a bit of a generalization. maybe someone else knows a better way to say it?)
  6. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    I just know that everyone talks about heavier strings bending the guitar neck. None the less, is there any thicker than .195?
  7. I can't imagine a .195 sounding good on a bass at all....not too mention having to readjust your bridge, nut, etc.........
  8. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Geez man...this has been covered before, but I'll give you the short version:

    The thicker you make a string, the quicker it comes up to pitch with less tension...BUT, it also breaks into harmonics far less, the thicker it gets.

    What does this mean? Ok, much of what you THINK you are hearing as the fundamental, is actually the upper harmonic structure "representing" what pitch the string is playing. In reality, the fundamental is VERY low, and without the upper harmonic structure to help define the pitch, it's VERY hard to distinguish lower notes.

    So, while you can go thick up to a point, you reach a point of diminishing returns, where lower notes become indistiguishable or harder to make out, and you're actually better off with the slightly lower tension of a thinner string, because it "speaks" more fully, with a richer upper harmonic structure that your ear needs to latch onto pitch.

    I play (among other things) a sub-contra 7 with a low F#

    I've been playing a contrabass since '85 (one of the early adopters) I've done a bit of trial and error with thicker strings over the years...I have learned this first hand.
  9. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    Thats part of the fun of experimenting with it though. See what you can make of it.
  10. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    The harmonics explanation was excellent. I apprecate that, It'll help me in the long run pick out whats best when I'm done and to understand why certain stuff sounds as it does, but I would still like to mess with larger strings just for the heck of it.
  11. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I'm not discouraging experimentation at all...in reality, YMMV.

    Everyone's style and technique favors something slightly different.

    My 7 string subcontrabass has a 155 for a low F# (yes, that's all...and it's only 34" scale), and it's quite playable. I'd dare say, given my technique, I can actually slap on it. Others may find it unusable, and have to go to a higher gauged set...with the resultant compromises.

    These compromises are different for all players, so the sub-contra range is really a "YMMV" zone. Do what works for you...but I dare say, thinking that this late in the game you're going to show up, and somehow find something revolutionary in the world of string gauges that everyone else has missed is probably somewhat misguided.
  12. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    I didnt figure I'd find something and be a pioneer...I just figured maybe I'd overlooked something ya know?
  13. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    LaBella is supporting Yves Carbonne with a .195 and a .250 for his Jerzy Drozd Sub Bass tuned to octave down E and octave down B. I use similar gauges on my basses.

    There is a guy in Germany who has successfully wound a .335 for a G# beneath C#.
  14. fadingshadow95


    Feb 19, 2008
    holy crap. a .335 is rediculous...i said i'm experimental but thats pushing my boundaries lol but that's cool stuff. taht's all custom stuff though right? it's gonna cost a bit haha.
  15. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    The .335 is indeed custom. I have been told in phone conversations that it is an amazing string but I've not heard it yet.

    The LaBella stuff is a bit more common and as I said above, these are gauges I use on my basses. Yves is an endorsed artist with LaBella and he has his .25 and .195 run regularly. I bet you could come by these at roughly the same price point as the SIT stuff but I can't be certain on price point.
  16. a .335 has to be the size of a summer sausage
  17. ianmatth


    Dec 10, 2009
    Passaic, NJ
    .335 is the biggest I've heard of. I think Garry Goodman made a brass string that was .300+. The biggest comercially available is the .270 stainless steel he makes on Octave4Plus. I'm sure he could make something bigger than .335 if he wanted to.
  18. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Try bridge cables.

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