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

  1. #21
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  2. #22
    Mojo's Minions dystrust's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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?
    Quote Originally Posted by crusty philtrum View Post
    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.

  3. #23
    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
    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.


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  4. #24
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    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.

  6. #26
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    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.

  8. #28
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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 at 06:59 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote 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...

  10. #30
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroPolo View Post
    Less arthritic hand pain for me, maybe?
    That's also a consideration for me.

  12. #32
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    That's also a consideration for me.
    Sorry to hear that, mate. It's a curse for us.

    I noticed that after heavy string sessions my hands go concete rigid vulture claw formation the next morning. Light gauge strings, low action and in general an emphasis of making it as effortless as possible seems to keep it under control.

  13. #33
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Mine is still in a very early stage. I just get some joint pain if I play very long. Hasn't taken the joy out of it yet though.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    As an awful guitar player, I have a heavy right hand and play bass with a pick more often than not. Lighter strings will often give me an out of tune initial attack because the string will give more before snapping back into position.

  15. #35
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    Mine is still in a very early stage. I just get some joint pain if I play very long. Hasn't taken the joy out of it yet though.
    Hopefully it will remain manageable like mine. This and me, we've been together, I don't know, for 20+ years? Coordination and movement are not blocked at all, hand just needs a proper warm-up and I just should not let fingers freeze as that can cast me out of the biz for a while. The only issue is the pain but that is absolutely bearable.

    Take my best wishes to the health of your fretting clockwork!
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-23-2019 at 08:45 AM.

  16. #36
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Thanks NP. What kind of warm-up exercise do you do?

  17. #37
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    It is not an everyday issue, it comes and goes in phases due to straining, weather changes, mental fatigue, other diseases or seemingly random. As the rigidness occurs only after sleeping (on the fretting hand only, when it doesn't move for hours), I open the day with a warm (not too hot) shower. With my non-fretting hand I fold and stretch backwards all the fingers of my relaxed fretting hand slowly under the water stream. If I move the fretting hand by itself when it is stoned it can be pretty painful. That's why I first massage / stretch it a little with the other hand first. Then I engage the stoned hand muscles and do it all over again, by itself. I finish with stretching the wrists (straight elbow) gently then move the fingers as if I did a 1234-1234 picking excercise on a ghost neck. If the pain is still there it means something remained slightly misplaced so I skip bending a string for a day or two and play the most effortless guitar I have at the moment. Eating fish and stuff containing vegetable oil help a little as far as I've observed. Also, keeping the fingers on the move without any straining.
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-23-2019 at 12:31 PM.

  18. #38
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Cool. I like fish.

  19. #39
    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    Cool. I like fish.
    Fish like me more than I like them but duty calls

  20. #40
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the tonal impact of smaller gauge strings?

    Since I've move "down south", I've learned to love Catfish. And grits, and greens. Good stuff.

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