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

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

    My bass came with 45-105's. But they're real old. So I ordered some DR Pure Blues of the same gauge. Then I got to thinking about using a smaller gauge to make it easier to play. So I ordered some DR Pure Blues 40-100's. What tonal impact might these smaller strings have? We're only talking about 5 thousandths difference.

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    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Thatís the gauge I use, only a 5 string set. I like them because if you hit them hard you get a nice attack. And they are great for more nuanced playing, i.e., vibrato and bends.

    I find no lack of low end or fatness.


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

    Thanks Dave. That's good to know. Do you re-adjust your action, or setup, with the smaller gauge strings.

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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    You might want to check the intonation .

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

    Yup. I'll definitely do a full setup after the new strings. Or, to be more accurate, my luthier friend will. My "Badass" bridge should arrive tomorrow.

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    Super Toneologist 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
    Thanks Dave. That's good to know. Do you re-adjust your action, or setup, with the smaller gauge strings.
    Yes, any time the action changes you need to set the intonation. Your truss rod will probably need a slight loosening too.


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

    Thanks again guys. I understand about re-doing the setup. My main concern is about losing the basic "bass" snap 'n grind. I don't want to take my strings down so light that I effectively have another guitar. If that makes any sense.

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    Super Toneologist 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
    Thanks again guys. I understand about re-doing the setup. My main concern is about losing the basic "bass" snap 'n grind. I don't want to take my strings down so light that I effectively have another guitar. If that makes any sense.
    You get more snap and grind.

    These are DíAddario XLs on an Ď87 Ibanez SR885LE. Itís running direct into Logic Pro X, with one of the amp plugins.

    https://soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon/supercollider


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

    Wow. Nice bass licks. That's encouraging. I guess I'll need to practice more.

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    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    One of the local guys uses a really light set with a 90 on the low E. He had one of the clearest, most present bass tones I've ever heard.

    The only bass I currently own is an Ibanez Mikro, but I'd like to try a really light set on it.

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

    I just "googled" that. Nice little bass. Part of the reason I want to try lighter strings is because I can't help playing my bass like a guitar. It's a hard habit to break. I'm wanting to try the more traditional "finger stroking" thing, but I keep coming back to thumb picking.

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    Super Toneologist 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
    I just "googled" that. Nice little bass. Part of the reason I want to try lighter strings is because I can't help playing my bass like a guitar. It's a hard habit to break. I'm wanting to try the more traditional "finger stroking" thing, but I keep coming back to thumb picking.
    I play with a pick most of the time. But sometimes with fingers.


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

    I put a set of DR Black Beauties 40-120 on my Jazz V, very good bass sound and I think more balanced with the smaller B string. Sounding as good as my medium (45-130) set.
    No you won't sound like a guitar.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    You get more snap and grind.

    These are D’Addario XLs on an ‘87 Ibanez SR885LE. It’s running direct into Logic Pro X, with one of the amp plugins.

    https://soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon/supercollider
    Yep... I thought I couldn’t slap on bass, then I put light gauge stainless on and wow... slap and pop fest!

    It’s probably best to have a jazz with light roundwound strings and a P with heavier flats for ultimate tonal versatility.
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    You get more snap and grind.

    These are D’Addario XLs on an ‘87 Ibanez SR885LE. It’s running direct into Logic Pro X, with one of the amp plugins.

    https://soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon/supercollider


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    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
    "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default 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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The bridge I ordered:

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

  17. #17
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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 itís 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. Iím 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.


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

    Quote 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 at 11:02 PM.
    "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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