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Thread: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

  1. #41
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    My dad is a retired master chťf and he can make some incredible dishes of catfish. My only problem is that I had a big fishbone stuck in my throat when I was a little kid (needed a doc to remove it) and whenever I feel a pointy fishbone durin eating I have a panick attack. It is very stupid as those dishes are good and they have a good effect. I must eat it very slowly.

    On the thread: light bass strings make you eat more good fish-dish.
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-25-2019 at 07:56 AM.

  2. #42
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    That would scare me too. For that reason, I always eat fish slowly and carefully. Btw, I like fresh caught bass too. Preferably, not stringy.

  3. #43
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Not sure if ya'll are baiting me into posting graphs from my spectral analyser.

    Short answer is YES there is a difference in amplitude, tone, and tactile response (bounce back) while playing -especially if you play a very hammer on/off rhythmic style.

    BUT -no one except in a studio environment will notice the tone differences (if they notice it there at all and notice that I didn't say the larger string tone was objectively better either), and the slight amplitude difference can big mitigated by gain structure and pickup style.

    SO in my very experienced opinion -select bass string gauge only on
    1) bass playing style,
    2) bass type and scale,
    3) and most important how it feels to your playing including your hand and finger size and strength..

    and don't worry about anything else....
    Last edited by NegativeEase; 05-31-2019 at 12:32 PM.
    ďFor me, when everything goes wrong Ė thatís when adventure starts.Ē Yvonne Chouinard

  4. #44
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Thanks. That's probably sound advice. (No pun intended.) I've come to figure out that most everything we do, as it pertains to our equipment, is for us. The audience only cares about what, and how, we play.

  5. #45
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    I’ve used 45-100 and 45-105. The different tensions between the different brands seems to make the .005” pretty negligible.

    If you like easier to play strings, Dunlop Super Brights and SIT Foundations are both pretty low tension.

  6. #46
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    I keep seeing references to SIT Foundations. Never heard of 'em. One more thing for me to check out. Thanks.

  7. #47
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    I’ve used SIT strings for a long time. Love them on guitar and bass. SIT started off modifying other strings (something with the twist at the bottom) to make them Stay In Tune better, then they started making their own.

    The Foundations are one of their newer offerings. They are very easy on the fingers, and have tons of growl to the tone. They’re also on the cheaper end for a premium string ($20). The best part is the balls are red and it looks sweet.

  8. #48
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Somewhere I read, (maybe over at TalkBass), that as a general rule, you want light roundwounds on a J-bass, and heavier flatwounds on a P-bass. Unfortunately, mine are the exact opposite. The P-bass, with fresh DR Pure Blues, and the new Quarter Pounds, is much snappier and lively, than my J-bass with old DR's, and an active preamp. Can't remember which DR's, but they're flatwound. The passive P is much louder than the active J. The J is passive pups, but with an active preamp.

    Edit: It was PFDarkside in post #14, and he didn't say it was a "general rule." That was my old memory.
    Last edited by ArtieToo; 02-28-2020 at 06:06 PM.

  9. #49
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Flats on a P is definitely a classic sound. I tried flats for a minute, and decided they're totally not for me.

    Also, flats are generally higher tension than rounds. The set I tried was D'Addario Chromes 45-100. They felt significantly tighter than the 45-105 rounds I usually use.

  10. #50
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    We have two "bass string" threads going. I just asked you a question over at the other one.

    P.S. I really like the DR rounds on my P. Especially with the QP's. I'm going to keep 'em for awhile.

  11. #51
    Junior Member toneking77's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    That's a nice setup, ArtieToo. What about the Fender Badass clone don't you like. I've been looking at this bridge for a while and thinking about getting one. Is that a mistake?
    "In the hair metal days, I didn't want to learn how to play guitar for the girls. I wanted to make noise and make people mad."

    -James Hetfield

  12. #52
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by toneking77 View Post
    That's a nice setup, ArtieToo. What about the Fender Badass clone don't you like. I've been looking at this bridge for a while and thinking about getting one. Is that a mistake?
    I covered this in post #28, but it's late, and I can't sleep. So I don't mind going over it again.

    The Fender was actually sweet. (And, it was nice that it said "Fender" on it on a Fender bass.) But it hung out the rear farther than the stock bridge did, and it exposed the string "balls." I just didn't like how that looked. The Hipshot had recesses for the string balls, and a couple other features that I discussed in post #28. It's a great bridge, and coincidentally . . . mine is for sale in the Trading Post. I don't want to pursue that here because it's not the right place for it.


    Here: https://forum.seymourduncan.com/show...Saddles-Chrome
    Last edited by ArtieToo; 02-28-2020 at 11:30 PM.

  13. #53
    Ultimate Tone Slacker DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Ok, so I just took the plunge! I put a set of DíAddario NYXL strings gauged .008-.038.

    I had to do some adjustments on the guitar, like loosen the trem springs. I also lowered the action a bit on the treble side.

    So hereís my reaction; Iíve never used 8s, except on my Vox 12-string. So that doesnít count.

    The first couple of seconds had me over bending and stuff. But then I just adjusted my playing. I pick fairly hard with a 1.12mm purple tortex pick.

    Once I got the guitar setup they donít feel as low tension as I would have expected. Part of that is the NYXL strings. They have a different feel.

    I really like the way these feel. Bending requires a lot less force, so your fingers donít have to be as stiff. I also like the snap I get on the bass strings playing chords.

    They donít sound thin. Pretty much the same as the 9-46 set I had on.

    Regarding bass strings. On a 4 string I like 40-100. I play a 5, so I have a .120 under that. I get a nice full tone from those, and the low strings arenít as clunky sounding. I do often use .045 to .125 or that ever it is if I canít find a lighter set.

    Iíve been playing bass and guitar since I was about 12 or 13. Thats 50 years ago.
    What I find after all that time playing is my joints prefer the lighter strings. Also on bass I tend to squeeze my left hand too hard and my finger tips go numb. So the lighter strings prevent that. I was starting to get cramps in my hands. Like writerís cramp. Thatís focal dystonia. Keyboard great Keith Emerson had that. His was so bad he committed suicide. Victor Wooten has it too. Also Scott Devine, of Scottís Bass Lessons. Thereís also lots of RSI things that happen when youíve been moving your fingers the same way for decades. And as you get older your joints wear out.

    So I think itís never a good idea to have to fight your guitar or bass. Itís not a competition. You donít see classical musicians with that attitude. Itís more a macho rock thing.

    But itís bad for your joint health.

    So Iíve come to realize that you shouldnít have to exert effort to play. Playing is hard enough. It would be like running a race while you had weights on your feet.

    So I donít want much of any resistance from the strings. I just want to feel them under my finger. Like if you were playing an unweighted keyboard.

    And my hands donít hurt the next day after a gig.


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  14. #54
    Mojo's Minions dave74's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    I was surprised when seeing this video that Slash uses an 11-46 set.


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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I put a set of DíAddario NYXL strings gauged .008-.038.
    The smallest I've tried, so far, is 9's. One of the issues I've had with those, is getting the small E string to "catch" on the tuner. Even with Kluson style, the string wants to pull through the slot. It could be motivation to try some locking tuners. I've got a nice set of Schallers here that I've had forever. I suppose I should pick a guitar and install them.

  16. #56
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Slash is tuned down 1/2 step.

    David- You’d laugh at how my basses are setup after all the arguing about heavy strings and higher action. Using 45-100 or 105 strings, usually lower tension sets like Dunlop Super Bright or SIT Foundations, I’ve got the action on my fretless at a little over 1.14mm on the G, and a little under 2mm on the E. It’s virtually effortless to play and sounds amazing. My fretted basses are just enough higher that everything isn’t a buzzy mess.

  17. #57
    Ultimate Tone Slacker DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    The smallest I've tried, so far, is 9's. One of the issues I've had with those, is getting the small E string to "catch" on the tuner. Even with Kluson style, the string wants to pull through the slot. It could be motivation to try some locking tuners. I've got a nice set of Schallers here that I've had forever. I suppose I should pick a guitar and install them.
    I never had that issue. Maybe itís the way youíre doing it? I stick the string though the hole and measure two tuner lengths past the tuner Iím putting the string into and put a slight bend into the string. Then I pull it back to the bend I made and wrap it around the post one time, while keeping it taught with my other hand. Then I use a crank to wind it.

    Iíve never had strings slip.


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  18. #58
    Ultimate Tone Slacker DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    Slash is tuned down 1/2 step.

    David- Youíd laugh at how my basses are setup after all the arguing about heavy strings and higher action. Using 45-100 or 105 strings, usually lower tension sets like Dunlop Super Bright or SIT Foundations, Iíve got the action on my fretless at a little over 1.14mm on the G, and a little under 2mm on the E. Itís virtually effortless to play and sounds amazing. My fretted basses are just enough higher that everything isnít a buzzy mess.
    I like my neck totally straight and action as low as it goes. On both my basses and guitars.

    I got to play Jeff Berlinís Cort bass once. (It was handed to me by Tal Wilkenfeld, but thatís another story )

    The first thing everyone said who tried his bass out was ďholy sh!t!Ē The frets are really low.... almost a fretless. And the action was the lowest Iíve ever felt. Every note buzzes, but in a good way. It sounded a lot like a fretless.

    I never got the heavy strings and high action thing, but then listen how those people play. Itís all rudimentary stuff. They have no chops. Lol


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  19. #59
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I never had that issue. Maybe itís the way youíre doing it? I stick the string though the hole and measure two tuner lengths past the tuner Iím putting the string into and put a slight bend into the string. Then I pull it back to the bend I made and wrap it around the post one time, while keeping it taught with my other hand. Then I use a crank to wind it.

    Iíve never had strings slip.
    Cool. I'll try that. I just found a set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9's in a drawer.

  20. #60
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Ironically, I've had more slipping issues with locking tuners than regular ones. I have locking Sperzels on my Warwick, and I still put a few wraps to keep them in place.

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