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What will different gauge strings do to my tone????

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ldiezman, Feb 3, 2002.

  1. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I have Medium gauge EB slinkys on my ray 5 right now.. If I were to put say a lighter gauge on, what would that do to my tone? would I loose any sustain? I've only used Medium gauge strings since i've been playing bass.. but I think i might want to try out something else just to see if I like it.. Are lighter strings better for slap bass? what are the advantages??? thanks guys.. I'm not the biggest expert with strings.. any info would be great.


  2. warwickbass


    Dec 8, 2001
    I have no firm knowledge on this matter, but IMO the heavier the gauge the more mids they put off.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Some "string" rules of thumb (no pun intended):

    - Heavier gauge = more sustain, "bigger" tone, more fundamental

    - Stainless steel = brighter tone, more response,

    - Nickel = more thumpy, rounder

    There are other factors to consider besides those generalizations, like wrapping, iron content, string design (e.g., roundwound, flatwound, halfwoud, groundwound, tapered, et al), and how the action is set on your bass. Closer to the pups gives you more volume but the sound deteriorates more as you get the strings and pups closer.

    Also, remember the tone that sounds so great when you play the bass alone may not sound all that great with other instruments. So, for example, those SS roundwounds that sound so great because they are so "glassy" and "raw" may not sound so great with your other band members.

    DR Hi Beams and Lo Riders are among the most-favored slap strings. No, I don't use either one currently. But, lots of bassists who slap like them.
  4. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    I've recently changed my string gauge from 045 to 040's.

    My bass became easier to play (specially fingerstyle soloing at higher frets) but I think the sound got too "thin", as if I were speaking with a child's voice and could not play with the adults because it was getting late and I had to go to bed... :D

    But thats my opinion, with my bass (jazz with bartolinis- pickups already known for smoothness). If you play a MM, you have an agressive sounding instrument and maybe you'll like lighter gauges.
  5. Lighter strings are usually easier to slap, yes. As you go lighter, they put out less fundamental, so you get the classic "electric rubber band" sound. Vic Wooten uses 40-60-75-95, for example, and his tone is very twangy.

    The king of skinny strings is Mark King, who uses 30-50-70-90. He can slap faster than just about anybody, but the tradeoff is that his tone is godawful.

    I prefer 45-130 Foderas. I'm not sure how to tweak my FBB's ABM bridge to use non-taperwound strings, though.
  6. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Recently i've been playing less and less on the g-string because of the lighter gauge. I like my strings fat.
  7. If you like higher gauge strings try nylon wound strings. for example the labella black nylon
  8. I just went from 40-100 to 45-105 and i want to be back at the 40-100. The other ones just feel to thick. It's harder to play.
  9. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I just went from 45-100 up to 50-105, I was looking for a fatter sounding D&G string. I'll never look back. The heavier guage is a little tougher on the hands and fingers but I'm getting used to it, The Fatter, more punchier sound is way worth it....
  10. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I'm using the LaBella '54 set (flat wound.) Would the nylon ones be as thuddy?
  11. They should be almost just as thuddy but with a bit more mids + treble i.e. they sound a bit more "musical"
  12. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I'm not exactly looking for wider gauge, but i'm looking for tension and thud. I think i may purchase some of those nylon strings...
  13. Link to GHS Strings Tension Computer
    Follow this link to the GHS site. Open the Bass Strings tab and use the Tension Computer. This shows the tension with different gauge strings. Use the stock string sizes for your bass as a starting guideline.

    The Thomastik are the very low end of tension, and the Rotosounds are the high end with lots of tension. RS does not publish tension specs, but D'Addario does.

    I have string tensions listed in my spreadsheet. Get it from my signature below.
  14. Labella tapewounds rock! I just got some (I've had them on my Double Bass for a while). Don't be put off by the heavier guage - with low density strings like these, its a totally different ball game. They are actually the easiest strings to play I have ever had on my fretless, and they give a nice full tone off...

    Plus the guy at guitar center gave them to me for $35 when he shoulda charged me $70!

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