What is the heaviest gage G one could get away with?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    What is the heaviest gage G one could get away with? I have a .060 d string i would like to try on the g spot (make joke now ;) )

    in all seriousness would the tension be intolerable or would it somehow come to harm my thin geddy lee jazz neck?

    btw i only use flats if that matters.
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Man, I would not try that on a Geddy Lee. Incidentally, there are some .055 G strings out there, for instance Ernie Ball makes a .055-.110 set in both rounds and flats, and Fender makes a .055-.105 set of flats. I don't have a Geddy Lee, but with the reputation those necks have, I would be very careful about using high tension strings.
  3. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    I don't know if this helps but Fender makes a .70 G nylon bass string
  4. Currently i have a set of rotosound 66LE strings (.050-.110) and they actually have a lower tension feel than the GHS Presurewounds (.044-.106) and with these strings i could imagine going for an even higher gauge such as .055 for the g.

    That said, I don't think a .60 string would fit on any bass :smug:
  5. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    The question you should be asking yourself is why you want to go so heavy. Remember that (string) height and tension have a profound impact on your technique. Will you be able to bend a 60 G upwards or do a classical vibrato on it? You should never fight your instrument.

    There is a reason why a lot of the top soloists use a slightly lighter gauge, specifically on the higher strings. If you have really strong hands, then you may get away with a higher tension, but that's for you to answer.

    Unless you get off on being a "groove only" player with a limited bag of tricks (and there is nothing wrong with it, as there are some kick-ass players like that), then you should really think about this.
  6. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    I think it's a matter of space in your nut and bridge slots. If you widen both, I don't see why a huge string wouldn't fit. As the last poster said though, it most certainly would adversely affect the playability of your bass. If you want to do it "just to see what would happen", I advise using a cheap bass and not the Geddy.
  7. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    the reason i was considering going heavy is because it was a manner in which i could get more low-end from the g. The fact is i would like as low tension as possible so a heavy string probably is not the solution.

    other possibilities i could try:

    - add bass eq but then all the strings would have more low-end. the e and a have enough.

    - some sort of pedal... but then i would have to figure out which kind to get and then buy it and haul it around. not really what i want to do.

    This inquiry hinges on the notion that i really dont like the thin sound of the d and g. It doesnt sound uniform with e and a. For example if i am playing "Mother's Little Helper" by the Rolling Stones, i use notes on the d and g string for the verse and notes on the e and a for the chorus. If i turn up the bass eq to get the full low-end on the d and g the low-end of the e and a is way too much because their gage is heavier.

    What i want is a balanced sound so that though some notes are lower than others they all share a uniform sound with out the low notes going "boom" and rattling the windows. I hope this all makes sense.

    The heavy g was just an idea i had to get a more uniform sound. There has to be a simple way to do this. Maybe its just b/c i am relatively new to bass. :bag:
  8. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    OK, gotcha. That's a common problem, actually, where the A and E are full of bass and the D and G are really thin and trebly. Here are a few things I can suggest off the top of my head.

    1) Try new strings. Different strings will provide you with a more uniform sound. La Bella Slappers that I use are really great for an overall even sound and feel (tons of warmth as well). Maybe others who have tried more strings than I can recommend something that will match your taste better.

    2) See if your pickups need adjusting. Maybe it would help if you lowered the A + E side of the pickups to quiet them a little.

    3) Definitely use an EQ. That goes without saying. You will see a tremendous improvement, as you can define the full sound spectrum with one. Cut some of the bass AND the treble to get a more balanced, middle-ish, sound. Use a graphic EQ (sliders). There are a lot of good pedals around.

    4) Try a different amp, specifically one that has a "sweepable mid" knob. Behringer makes great sounding, inexpensive amps, with a built-in Shape filter. Turn it to the left and the "fatness" shifts to the A and E. Go right, and it moves to the D and G, leaving the A and E actually too thin. Move it back and forth until you "balance" the sweet spot where the fatness is even for each side. It really works and I really recommend you try these amps... this may be your answer here.

    5) Try to get a neck-through bass, as your last resort. Seems to me that these have a more uniform sound, where as a bolt-on, such as a Fender, will often have a fat sounding E and an almost annoyingly trebly G. (I own and love a couple of Fenders so this is not a knock against the company.)

    Hope this helps.
  9. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    hey, i really appreciate your suggestions.

    -regarding the behringer... had a bx1200 nice features but died after only 3 hours of playing. luckily the store gave my money back as i only had it 2 weeks. I currently use a ai clarus which i absolutely love b/c of its dimensions and weight. (i dont drive). however the clarus doesnt have many featuers. It has a five band rotary eq but the "tweak value" isnt substantial.

    -i am going to avoid any costly expeditures such as string thru bass or new amp. i have spent enough $ already.

    - i will try adjusting the p/u height

    - i will seriously consider getting an eq pedal

    - I am probably going to buy Ti Jazz Flats as they seem to be highly reccomended by TBers. Hopefully they will help this issue.

    What is the name of a pedal i could get that does sweepable mids?

    - i was thinking of getting a sans amp by tech 21. would that address this problem?

  10. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    Try the following in this sequence:

    1) See if you want to lower the strings some. I personally lower mine as low as they go. I even accept some buzz and rattle, as long as the action is low and easy to play on. The lower, the better.

    I forgot to mention something in the last post. The higher a string is, the more room it has to vibrate and to create the "boom" at the bottom and the "harshness" on top. Try it. The closer a string is to the fretboard, the more middle-ish the sound becomes.

    Low action is not only important to me for playability, but also the for sound. I hate the boom and I hate the annoying treble. I like the sound right in the middle. Seems like that's what you're looking for.

    2) Again, adjust the pickups. The closer the pickup is to the string, the louder the sound will be. I like mine pretty low on my Fenders. Don't be afraid to get them to ridiculously low levels, especially the A and E sides. Focus on the sound.

    3) I think that an external graphic EQ will do wonders for you. I am rarely impressed with a built-in EQ section on an amp. Something like the inexpensive BOSS GEB-7 EQ (7-band), should do the job just fine.

    Something to remember: A lot of people make a rookie mistake when adjusting an EQ. They make a "V" shape (with the sliders) because it looks cool, but then they get a lot of the big boomy bass and a lot of treble. Start with the EQ all flat, then gradually move each slider in "minimal" increments to adjust to the overall sound range that you want.

    I haven't played with the Sans Amp in a long long time (never actually owned one), but I don't think that's your answer. It is a great product and a lot of people swear by it, but I don't think that's going to cure your problem. Trying an EQ should be your first priority. As to which one specifically, ask a question about this in the Effects forum. I'm sure there are people more familiar with a wide range of effects than I am. They'll be able to help you with choosing an EQ. But don't go expensive. Even the cheapest ones work.

    I don't know of any "pedal" with a sweepable mid frequency adjustment, but ask in the Effects forum. Maybe there is one. There are multi-effect boxes (processors), however, that have them. The BOSS ME-50B does. I am not promoting anything BOSS; I just happened to take a quick look for you.

    You are going to love the TI Jazz strings for the sound and feel, but you are also going to be initially shocked at the tension. Quality is top-notch, but they're extremely loose. I know... low tension is easier for the technique. But there are limits to everything. Definitely give them a try, though!
  11. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    hey thanks again for your extensive reply

    I definitely want to get the Ti jazz flats. I love low tension, the lower the better.

    I intend to lower the pickups as you suggested. I also am going to keep an eye out on ebay for a cheap boss eq. I saw one on bassgear.com for $30 but it was sold.

    I also love super low action. Mine isnt low enough for my taste.

    Playing with nice low tension and super low action will be fantastic.

    When you say you have lowered your action so much that it rattles and buzzes are these rattles and buzzes audible thru amplification or do you just mean when its unplugged? Rattling is unacceptable to me unless its below the 10th fret.

    thanks again! :)
  12. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    Well, what I do is get the strings so low that they actually fret out (no sound) and gradually raise them until I get the sound back.

    You should go as low as it is comfortable for you and to the level of rattle that you find acceptable. It all depends on personal preference, so you're going to have to experiment with this. Take your time.

    I personally love the sound of the string rattling and grinding against the frets. I really get off on it and I wouldn't have it any other way. Manly sound with tons of character.

    The string rattle is always greater at the lower frets than the high ones. Remember, too, that a good setup requires finding that sweet spot by properly balancing the sound thickness between the low and high end of the neck. Basically, you have to go back and forth between the bridge saddles and the neck curve until you find it.

    The rattle noise on my Fender Jazz is nice and big when unplugged, but some of it goes away when plugged in. If I hit the open strings, though, I get a nice amount of noise created by the string vibrating and hitting the frets. Again, the amount of this is up to you. But the rattle really does lessen as you move up the neck.

    Experiment with your setup... that's the only way you're going to find what you're looking for. But start with the strings "too low" and then go up, not the other way around.

    Good luck!
  13. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Hey thanks for the tips guys.

    I tried lowering the E side of my p/ups. I found that it boosted the vol. of the G in comparison to the other strings. Not what i am after. Rather than a loud G string, I would like to achieve a G with way more low-end and depth.

    I lowered both p/ups quite a bit in hopes that it would control a the boominess of the E, but i tried to make them even so all strings would be audible at the same vol. level.

    I found when i experimented with my 3 band eq on the clarus the G sounded good with the treble completely at 0. But then I lost the highs on the other strings as well.

    I figure even if i get a 7 band eq pedal, everything I do to the G is going to affect the other strings.


    Aside from the boominess of the E, which is hopefully now remedied, I like the tone of the other strings. So maybe eq isnt the solution.

    A sweepable mids peddle may be what i am after.
  14. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    Well, install the TIs first. I don't know what strings you are using now, but different brands of strings really do sound better than others. The TIs should give you the full, warm, even sound you seem to want.

    Try playing with the G side of the pickup some more. See what happens when you raise it and when you lower it. Height of the pickups doesn't only control the volume, but also the sound quality.

    As far as the EQ question, well, yes and no. I mean, when you adjust the EQ, it does affect the full range, but the high settings will affect the G more than the E. And vice versa. You add some of those low frequencies and all strings will feel it, but the E will be most affected. A graphic EQ works on specific frequencies, so some strings are affected by a certain slider more than others.

    Also, a 7-band EQ on the BOSS will have a better range than the 3-band EQ you use now, so I would still recommend you at least try it. Don't ignore the volume slider on that thing, either, as it also has an effect.

    Why don't you do this. Order that BOSS EQ from a place that gives back a full refund. If it doesn't work for you, send it back. But you'll have your mind at ease that you tried it and know for sure how it affects you.

    A sweepable mid control is a wonderful way to pinpoint that sound one is looking for and it could be your answer. Well, order one too if you can. We can recommend and describe things to you all week, but you won't know until you try it.

    Maybe there is a store in your area that has these things and can let you try them out right there.

    And, again, take your time with the initial setup of your bass. I always find it puzzling when people buy a bass and expect it to be set up to their liking. Unless you order a custom made bass worth thousands of dollars, and it is made and set up to your specs, it just doesn't work that way. First thing one should do after purchasing a bass is a thorough setup.

    It may take you hours (if you're as detailed as I am) to find that initial spot for everything, but then you'll just have to do minor tweaks in the future. Spend good time on your setup... it will be well worth it.
  15. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I am going to do a thorough setup once i get the Ti Jazz Flats. No sense doing it now as the new strings may affect the setup. Currently I use Chromes. I did have this bass setup by a local music store when i got it, but i wasnt that impressed with their work. Not low enough and still buzzy in places.

    If i cant get this thing worked out with other methods (ie new strings, p/up height tweaking) i will rent the boss eq from a local music store. they may have something i can rent with a sweepable mid as well. the store's policy is that you can use your rental fee towards the purchase of the unit. Then again i can get the eq for about $100 cheaper on ebay. I guess i could buy one on ebay and then just re-auction it if i dont like it. Fact is an eq is always useful. Hmm.. I wonder if i could use it with my behringer mixer?

    With the p/ups i moved them all over the place to experiment. The thing i found was that if the p/up is closer to the G than the E the G was primarily louder in volume. The p/ups that are in my geddy lee jazz are mia, but i am pretty sure they are all one unit. This means that when i tilt the E down and the G up, the A and D also decrease in vol. The overall effect is that the G is too loud in comparison to the other strings. I really just want it to have a beefier sound not a louder one.

    So to increase the quality of sound should i have the p/ups as close to the strings as possible (within reason)?
  16. just got a set of ti jazz flats myself and installed them on my fretless and they sound nice... although they did need some breaking in, but 5-6 hours of playing should do the trick but they still seem to sound better and better, so i guess they are not 100% broken in yet.
  17. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004

    Yeah, you're going to have to re-do everything once you put the TIs on, since the gauges are so weird on those, but for now just mess around with it until you get it comfy enough to play on.

    Don't give your bass to a store for a setup. There's no such thing as a "professional setup" at a store. It is not a bicycle, it is a musical instrument, where the setup is very very personal. A guy at a store usually just does a basic setup to his taste. How's he supposed to know what you like? It's a waste of money, really. If you know how to turn a wrench and a screwdriver, you can do it yourself.

    Definitely try an EQ and something with a sweepable mid in it at a store before you spend your money. Unless you buy from a place that gives a refund, that is. I think that the Behringer Bass V-AMP effects box has that Shape filter in it and it's only $99. I don't know how good the whole box is, so you may have to ask around, but that could be one of your options. The box has a nice collection of Amp simulators, too, so it may be worth it.

    But I feel your pain, as it took me years to find sound I was fully happy with. Biggest culprit for me was..... cheap strings that I kept clinging to like an idiot!

    Don't worry about the D and A volumes on the Jazz. Just focus on the G and the E. Besides, I don't know how loud you're trying it, but it often happens that the volume may seem even at a quiet setting, then you play it really loud and it's totally out of wack.

    Also, let me ask you something. How are your strings heights? Make sure that they are either even --- and I mean, take a ruler and actually measure it [distance from top of last fret to bottom of string; at a playing angle... not with the bass laying in your lap because the E is heavier than G and will dip more] --- or slightly rising from G to E. My Jazz is set with the E either 0.25mm or .5mm higher (don't remember) than the G, with the D and A getting higher as you progress to E. If your E doesn't rattle TOO badly at 0.25mm (higher than G) leave it there. Then play with the pickups, only after the strings are already in their place.

    One more thing, how do you set your pickup balance? On my Jazz, I mostly use the (fat) neck pickup with just a little of the (trebly) bridge one dialed in for a little bite.

    "So to increase the quality of sound should i have the p/ups as close to the strings as possible (within reason)?'

    Well, not the quality, but the volume. Quality is a personal thing. You may either like it hotter or more subtle, but that's up to you.
  18. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Well, it wasnt a very good rehearsal tonite for me, because my bass sounded like poop. I must have done something wacky to it b/c i could get just a smidge of low-end from the E. I must have lowered the p/up too much. I tried cranking bass eq knob on my clarus, and though it did make some difference, usually when i turn that bass knob there is enough bass present to do some serious window rattling.

    This kind of situation is why i am hesitant to screw around with my bass setup. I end up messing it up. I know i just need to have more patience. Part of the problem is when i make adjustments, i test the adjustments at very low volume thru either my mixer or a roland mini-cube. Next time i will have to haul my gear to the downstairs storage area where i can turn it up a little (i live in a condo).

    Even though such setbacks occur, you are right, bringing a bass to a store for setup is a bad idea. Last time i did it, it cost me $40 canadian and i really didnt notice that much of a difference. I wont do it again. It will take some time to learn how to do my own setup but, as you say, to get it the way i want it, i have to do it myself. The trouble is there are so many variables, ie p/up height, string gage, truss rod adjustment, bridge adjustment etc, etc.

    As per your question regarding string heights, i havent measured them, but they are not very low. They are within tolerable height limits, but i really want them lower. Its seems that if i go even a little lower i get lots of buzz, which if present when amplified is unacceptable to me.

    Regarding the p/up balance / tone knob i re-wired my bass into series and completely omited the tone pot from the circuit. I like it at 10 otherwise i hear mud city.

    Regarding the sweepable mids peddle, a few TBers in the "Effects" forum made some good suggestions about using a dual band compressor with a crossover. It seems that that's the peddle i need.

    And so the journey continues...

    ....I am going to have to get those p/up heights back to where they were before i messed it all up.
  19. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    Oh, boy. Well, don't get frustrated. We've all had practices/gigs from which we couldn't get out fast enough because nothing sounded right!

    Tip: Next time, bring a screwdriver with you.

    I wrote in my last post that setting pickup volumes at low volume doesn't provide for an accurate picture. Take a screwdriver with you and do it there. How long does it take to put the screwdriver in and turn it a quarter of a turn? 3 seconds? Or better yet, ask the guys for 10 minutes time so you can mess around. Then have them play something, so you can see how your individual string volumes blend in with the rest of the band.

    You're going through some growing pains, but you're also learning things you'll use for as long as you play bass.

    I really stress that you first get the strings all even in height (or slightly rising, as I described above). If your strings are of all different heights, how do you expect their volumes [or playability] to be even? Measurement is crucial.

    Where does the buzz occur when you lower the strings? At the low end or the high end? Make sure that your neck is almost completely straight. Not fully, because you need a little relief. But if you press a string at the 1st and 20th frets (at the same time), then look at the space under the 12th fret, you should see a present, yet minimal, opening.

    If your strings buzz too much in the lower end, but not at the high end, get the neck curve a little tiny bit larger. And vice versa. All in minimal increments. But a proper setup requires that you go back and forth between the neck curve and the bridge to find that on-the-spot balance. It is time consuming, if you're a perfectionist such as I.

    I can understand why you like your pickups in series, but why did you omit the tone pot? I suggest bringing the tone pot back into the picture. And setting the bass volume on 10 is pretty hot. I like a more subtle sound, so I keep that a bit lower.

    I don't know about the muddiness when lower than 10, but maybe it is a result of you re-wiring the pickups. You should probably ask about this in the Luthier's Corner.
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