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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Bass guitar strings
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Bass guitar strings
zodiak
I have been playing a Dynelectro Short scale bass for 30 years. During that time I have been using standard Rotosound round wound strings and cutting them down to length but I just read that its a bad idea.
Apparently I should be using thicker than normal strings so that I get the same mass as a standard mass, and indeed they wont flap as much so I can lower the action.
Is that right?
Have I been a silly plank spanker all this time?
MoogProDG
Back when that bass was made, the knowledge you speak of wasn't common.

Nothing silly about what you are doing at all man. As a guitarist, I prefer a short scale bass. I use 45-60-80-100 on my mustang bass. So did Mike Yauch on all his recordings FWIW. Pretty much every bassist I have ever worked with envies the bass tones... so I must be doing something right.

Having said that- basic physics says if you put a thicker string on the same scale length to the same tuning, the strings will have less swing. If you are looking for that- get thicker strings man smile
chromium
I play on a variety of scale lengths, and at some point went to DAddario EXL-100s - since they are relatively low cost, I can get them in short, med, and longs scale, I like the lighter 100s gauge, and I prefer nickel over stainless. They've had good longevity too (I don't change strings very often).
zodiak
Ironically I am a Physicist and tend to overthink these things, amplitude, overtones, sustain... All I really want is a lower action, less buzz, more defined tone, and inate talent.
MoogProDG
zodiak wrote:
Ironically I am a Physicist and tend to overthink these things, amplitude, overtones, sustain... All I really want is a lower action, less buzz, more defined tone, and inate talent.



Awesome haha. I highly suggest not just getting thicker strings / lowering the action and calling it a day. Everything is a variable my friend- too low may be a handicap on the playing style you've already developed. Food for thought.
zodiak
I think I must be making life difficult for myself. I want to play fast with a pick. Unfortunately "Pick" seems to need a high action and "fast" means low action. Damn. Why do I like Hawkwind so much? I am sure finger players have an easier time of it. confused
MoogProDG
zodiak wrote:
I think I must be making life difficult for myself. I want to play fast with a pick. Unfortunately "Pick" seems to need a high action and "fast" means low action. Damn. Why do I like Hawkwind so much? I am sure finger players have an easier time of it. confused


LOVE Hawkwind. Lemmy didn't have low action back then- bet your ass smile
EMwhite
I always played with a set that had .105 on the E but recently switched up to a lighter set of Roto 66 which are .095 and I find it much more comfortable, brighter, etc. My Jazz/Precision hybrid has these and I've got Boomers on my Jazz Bass.

The Swing stings are aggressive as hell but after buying a Billy Sheehan Att III with his signature set, I find a hard time playing a precision without them. They sing.
zodiak
Did you need to adjust the truss rod after changing the strings?
EMwhite
zodiak wrote:
Did you need to adjust the truss rod after changing the strings?


All depends.

The diff between the heavier and lighter strings, on my bass, didn't make much of a difference in terms of relief and neck tension but I could see a scenario where putting lighter strings on require a truss rod adjustment.

I bought a roadworn Jazz bass and the guy I got it from (traded) was worked in a guitar shop and swore upon having light weight strings and zero relief so essentially the action was very low across the neck, so much so that there was some buzzing audible when you played, but not so much through the amp.

It bothered me. But I've had good luck on my P-bass hybrid. It's a Mark Hoppus signature (mexico body) with a nitros neck with deluxe tuners that I picked up on eBay from Stratosphere back when they were selling there. It likely cost me $1000 for the two pieces but the quarter pound pickups are king and the single volume pot leaves no room for tweaking, it's just full-on tone so with the swing 66 strings the result is very bright, about as close to the Sheehan as I can get without spending another $1,200.

Don't be afraid of adjusting your truss rod, assuming that your bass is either relatively new or has graphite rod which turns smoothly. If in doubt, find a good shop to tune it up for you.
Jamnuska
I just go down to the music store and ask what strings the cool kids are buying and do the same.

Hence lowering the cool rating...
zodiak
EMwhite wrote:
Don't be afraid of adjusting your truss rod, assuming that your bass is either relatively new or has graphite rod which turns smoothly. If in doubt, find a good shop to tune it up for you.
Thanks, but it's now 30 years old with a steel truss rod. I have adjusted it many times, and has now gone as far as it can go. I guess it has stretched a bit over the years so before anymore tightening I am going to have to remove the free turning bit and stick in a washer.
As for taking it to a shop, this is the UK, my closest competent guitar tech is a good hours drive away on a clear day, and he would probably charge more than a new bass anyway eek!
calaveras
I tune to C below E standard. I use light bass strings and have just learned to deal with the slightly more wiggly string action.
Believe me when I tell you I have no problem playing fast. I just move my hand closer to the bridge for fast stuff.
Think about it like this, guitarists play with a lot less tension on their strings, and they generally play faster than bassists.
ersatzplanet
I play a modified early 60's Gibson EB-0 with Rotosound strings. Works great and has the low end I need and a smaller scale. The EB-0's from that era were as thin as a SG guitar too, very easy to play. I have had it since 1967or so.

If you want to talk short scales and thick strings, my other bass that I actually play more than the Gibson is a Guild Ashbury and it's scale is less than 18" from nut to bridge. The E string is almost 0.2" in diameter and very loose. Silicone strings like large rubber bands.
ClarkBattle
Take it to a good luthier, tell them what you want and have them set it up with new strings. Seriously.
p.j.
ClarkBattle wrote:
Take it to a good luthier, tell them what you want and have them set it up with new strings. Seriously.


Or maybe look into getting a new bass? Decent gear is much cheaper today than it was 30 years ago. Lots of reasonably priced basses that are serious players can be had today.
Telemann
La Bella Deep Talkin' Bass Stainless Steel Flat Wound
tdutz
Plus one on getting a string change and pro setup - if you're married to the idea of keeping this bass.

Otherwise putting the same funds toward an instrument upgrade sounds to be in order, as stated.

Cheers!
mach20
Yeah, +1 on the idea of getting it setup professionally. I'd been doing it myself for a while, then finally had someone do it for me. Night and day.
JoshuaTSP
Doesn't take much to do your own set up and don't need much for tools.

Ends up being substantially cheaper in the end and you've gained a skill.

-I use this gauge (http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Straightedges/Str ing_Action_Gauge.html ), but automotive feeler gauges could be used.
-A string winding tool is handy and reduces fatigue.
-Need a set of allen wrenches. both metric and standard if you have imports and MIAs.
- Ultra fine Steel Wool.
-Fretboard oil (if you have raw wood boards and isn't maple.)
- metal clippers.

There are plenty of guides online of the steps.

My method is:
- remove old strings
- carefully polish frets with 0000 steel wool. (some people masking tape the fret board to be safe)
- address any other issues while strings are off.
- oil the fretboard (if not maple), clean body with cleaner, and wax with car wax.
- install new strings
- pull on them to stretch them out.
- clip flying string ends.
- check neck curvature. slack strings and adjust truss rod if required.
- check string height and adjust at bridge if required. (use string height guide)
- adjust pickup height if required.
- do intonation check and adjust if required. This is just comparing the open string pitch to the fretted 12th fret pitch and adjusting the saddle to compensate for any differences.
- done.

If your instrument has issues beyond that......unlevel frets, poorly cut nut/height, neck issues or etc.....then a luthier might be needed.
dozicusmaximus
You could just get Roto short scale strings. If you like how they sound. If you want a different tone, check out some short scale Labella flats. Flats have a bit more tension in the same gauge as rounds. You can get them a little lower and they don't clank on the higher frets when you beat on them. But if you hate the sound of dead roundwound strings, might not be your cup of tea.
heavyfunkmachin
Dont forget the MUSICAL approach: While tension, stifness and whatnot mught enter the ecuation, if you've enjoyed your tone for so long... go for your liked tone and forget everything else!

Should everything else fail, get yourself a THICK set of GHS FLATWOUNDS nanners
DubRules
Id just keep doing what has worked for you for 30 years..!
livefreela
dedicated short-scale strings are really helpful here. i used to play a ss jag live and those strings really do allow for a lower action with less buzzing when ripping with a pick. they feel much more "taut" while not necessarily much heavier. kind of like tuning up half a step. they're lot more forgiving on those of us with less than wonderful touch. dr and rotosound made nice sets. provided they're in the same gauge thy shouldn't throw your bass entirely too out of whack.

zodiak wrote:
I think I must be making life difficult for myself. I want to play fast with a pick. Unfortunately "Pick" seems to need a high action and "fast" means low action. Damn. Why do I like Hawkwind so much? I am sure finger players have an easier time of it. confused
bassmeng13
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