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What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

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  • #16
    Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    My luthier friend did a setup and fixed the nut after I swapped the bridge for the Fender Badass clone. But there's a couple things about that bridge that I don't like. So I already ordered the Hipshot version. Hopefully, will arrive tomorrow. My friend is going to do a new bone nut at that time. However, she plays great, sounds amazing right now.

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    The bridge I ordered:

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    Last edited by ArtieToo; 05-03-2019, 08:15 PM.

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    • #17
      What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

      Originally posted by Adieu View Post
      Dunno about the '87's (JJ pups, right?), but later Japanese 5string Soundgears with the soapbars really, and I mean REALLY benefitted from ditching the preamp and swapping in Duncan Actives with basic pots

      Moved them up from just plain good to downright ridiculously superior to anything you can buy off the shelf
      This is one of the first SoundGears made in the FugiGen factory before it burned down. It was $900 in 1987! Mine had active J size pickups and the two band preamp. They sounded good but were noisy. Then for a while in the 90s I had EMGs in it.

      Now it’s passive with dual rail neodymium jazz pickups I make. You are hearing both pickups with the bridge slightly higher in the mix. It was direct into Behringer UMC22 interface into Logic Pro X. I’m using the amp and effects plugins there.

      I like the Duncan active pickups. Had a girlfriend that played bass, so I built her a PJ style bass with the active pickups with the DIP switches back in the 80s. That was a great sounding bass.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • #18
        Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

        Nice setup. Wasn't Soundgear associated with Ibanez? Or am I thinking of something else? Do you sell those pups?

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        • #19
          Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

          Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
          Nice setup. Wasn't Soundgear associated with Ibanez? Or am I thinking of something else? Do you sell those pups?
          Soundgear is an Ibanez bass subbrand. For some reason they started putting that instead of Ibanez on most bass headstocks right around '87, when they began phasing out the RG-series' pointy and passive counterpart basses the RD series for the rounded, mostly active, often 5- and 6-stringed Soundgear/SR basses

          Since the 80s pivot from Fender and Gibson copies to own original designs, all high end Ibanez stuff is always made by Fujigen Gakki, a prolific Japanese contract manufacturer (also known for some Fender Japan, Jackson, own brand FGN, etc.)
          Last edited by Adieu; 05-03-2019, 11:02 PM.
          "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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          • #20
            Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

            You should pick the strings that give you the amount of push back and "rubberiness" that feels best to you. The tone can all be tweaked with various adjustments (pickup height, e.g.).

            To me, light strings feel bad, on both hands. They are harder to control, because they don't "settle" well to my taste. Heavier strings feel far more stable and predictable to me; they are always right where I expect them to be, and I never miss a beat. On light strings, I stumble, sometimes even after I get used to them. Others who play differently will have different experiences with light and heavy strings.

            Also remember that string height goes a long way. Light strings can be made hard to play if they are set high...and heavy strings can be made easy to play if they are set low.
            Originally posted by LesStrat
            Yogi Berra was correct.
            Originally posted by JOLLY
            I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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            • #21
              Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

              Thanks. Good info. I'm still a bass newbie, so it's going to take awhile for me to figure out what feels natural to me. The good news is that this new P-Bass is really inspiring me to learn it better. I just don't know what there is about this thing. Maybe it's just that the classic "Fender Bass" is so iconic. I can't remember the last time an instrument so begged me to pick it up so much.

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              • #22
                Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
                My luthier friend did a setup and fixed the nut after I swapped the bridge for the Fender Badass clone. But there's a couple things about that bridge that I don't like. So I already ordered the Hipshot version. Hopefully, will arrive tomorrow. My friend is going to do a new bone nut at that time. However, she plays great, sounds amazing right now.
                longcat has one of those Hipshot Kicka** bridges on her Squier Bronco, and it lives up to the name IMO. Just out of curiosity, what didn't you not like about the Fender version?
                Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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                • #23
                  Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                  Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
                  Nice setup. Wasn't Soundgear associated with Ibanez? Or am I thinking of something else? Do you sell those pups?
                  Thanks! Yes, SoundGear is Ibanez. It’s one of their model lines.

                  Yes I sell those pickups.


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                  • #24
                    Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                    Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                    You should pick the strings that give you the amount of push back and "rubberiness" that feels best to you. The tone can all be tweaked with various adjustments (pickup height, e.g.).

                    To me, light strings feel bad, on both hands. They are harder to control, because they don't "settle" well to my taste. Heavier strings feel far more stable and predictable to me; they are always right where I expect them to be, and I never miss a beat. On light strings, I stumble, sometimes even after I get used to them. Others who play differently will have different experiences with light and heavy strings.

                    Also remember that string height goes a long way. Light strings can be made hard to play if they are set high...and heavy strings can be made easy to play if they are set low.
                    What I like about them is you can be very nuanced in your playing. I do vibrato and blend notes. And depending on how I pluck the strings, I can get a nice snap. I always liked the tone Stanley Clarke got. He uses very light strings on a 30” bass, and plucks hard.

                    On guitar I use 9s for the same reasons. I play both with a 1.14mm pick (or sometimes my fingers).

                    But I don’t like very low tension strings like Thomastics. Too soft. D’Addario have just the right amount of tension.


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                    • #25
                      Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                      ^

                      I've got one bass (a short neck 30" scale) that I keep light gauge rounds on, just to play with the very different feel than I'm used to.

                      But I generally play somewhat akin to the style of an upright player (since I learned on flats, and play upright), so heavy gauge flats work best for my "general purpose" bass strings.
                      Originally posted by LesStrat
                      Yogi Berra was correct.
                      Originally posted by JOLLY
                      I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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                      • #26
                        Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                        Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                        ^

                        I've got one bass (a short neck 30" scale) that I keep light gauge rounds on, just to play with the very different feel than I'm used to.
                        Also, the shorter the scale, the lower the tension. The same strings on a long scale will feel stiffer.


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                        • #27
                          Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                          Indeed. That's why I run the .111 rounds or .110 flats on my other short scale – to make it more interchangeable with my Ps and Js. The feel is kind of like using 105s on a full length bass. Heavy enough to get rid of the flex and rubberiness that I don't like, but not intensely stiff.
                          Originally posted by LesStrat
                          Yogi Berra was correct.
                          Originally posted by JOLLY
                          I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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                          • #28
                            Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                            Originally posted by dystrust View Post
                            Just out of curiosity, what didn't you not like about the Fender version?
                            There are two parts to this, and I'll be the first to admit that the first part might seem a bit silly. When I was comparing these two bridges, I assumed they were about the same. But the Fender version doesn't hide the balls. They just look ugly sticking out of the rear. Both bridges already extend the rear back farther than stock, so the balls were almost hanging over the edge. In the Hipshot, they're recessed. (But that presented its own problems, which I'll get to.) Second, was not about anything wrong with the Fender, but what the Hipshot offered. I like the idea of the saddles being both adjustable left-to-right, but also replaceable. The instructions even show all the dimensions so that you can make your own. My luthier friend suggested that I might want to try some bone inserts down the road. So that's really all there was to that.

                            Now, about the Hipshot. It still isn't perfect. Since the balls and the intonation screws are recessed, the balls actually interfere with the screwdriver. The OM says to use a #2 Phillips. We thought that two of the screws were frozen. In fact, it was just locked against the balls. Took us awhile, and a lot of frustration, to figure out what the heck was going on. We finally got it, but it was unnecessary aggravation where a little better engineering would have been nice.

                            Bottom line . . . I'm loving this thing now, with the Hipshot, and everything set up. After I've messed with it awhile, my friend is going to do a new nut and level a few frets. They aren't bad, just could be better.

                            Artie

                            P.S. I don't think I've ever used the word "balls" so many times in one thread.

                            P.S. 2: I know the intonation looks weird on the "G" string, but that's just how it came out. We aren't sure what's accounting for that. The Fender bridge wasn't like that.

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                            Last edited by ArtieToo; 05-05-2019, 06:59 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                              Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                              To me, light strings feel bad, on both hands. They are harder to control, because they don't "settle" well to my taste. Heavier strings feel far more stable and predictable to me; they are always right where I expect them to be, and I never miss a beat. On light strings, I stumble, sometimes even after I get used to them. Others who play differently will have different experiences with light and heavy strings.
                              I have strong right fingers and I'm struggling to play when the strings are not stiff enough. I'm playing medium/medium-heavy strings, but I put a set of light strings (see post #13) on my jazz and I'm getting the right stiffness out of this set. Strange...

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                              • #30
                                Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

                                "What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?"

                                Less arthritic hand pain for me, maybe?
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