How to improve string tension

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by gimmeshelter335, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. gimmeshelter335

    gimmeshelter335 Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    If this is an incredibly obvious question, I apolgize.

    I am a big fan of strings with a lot of tension, and I am wondering if there is a way to achieve this without having my action set a mile off the neck. Are there specific strings I should buy? Would a higher string gauge solve my problem? (Right now I am playing 45 - 100)

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advance
     
  2. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

    Messages:
    2,840
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Go to juststrings.com where they keep specs on all the strings they sell, most include the tension of each string in the set. Great way to compare.
     
  3. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

    Messages:
    1,284
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    I think it's a good question, and I'm looking forward to the answers since a buddy of mine has string tension issues with his Music Man 5 string.

    One thing that I've found helps is to set the neck up for very little relief (i.e. a mostly straight neck). Other than that, I'm all ears!

    Cheers

    Kris
     
  4. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

    Messages:
    19,559
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    upyerasskickinfootballs
    Listen to "Mr. Girlie Strings Player..."

    :D


    (I use those on my T-Bird)
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,892
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    All else equal, thicker strings do have higher tension at pitch. One of the nice things about the higher tension strings is that you can get away with lower action. That's because the string doesn't vibrate in as wide of path, so buzzing issues are decreased.

    It sounds to me like your bass needs a setup.

    Bryan
     
  6. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium Member

    Messages:
    2,558
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Action doesn't really have anything to do with it. If you are otherwise happy with your string choice, yes you can go with a thicker gauge and get more tension. Or you can move over to a higher tension string; the tension has to do with various factors including the size and shape of the core relative to the windings, and the type of windings, and the alloys in the windings.

    Also, there is stiffness, and then there is tension, which are related but not necessarily directly corollary to one another, the type of string can make differences either way. You might be wanting more stiffness, so that the string bounces around less and you don't have to go hunting around for the string as much with your right hand while trying to play fast, rather than tension as such.

    If you really do like a lot of tension, you should get the longest scale length instrument you can and string it with D'addario Chromes. I personally would not call this "improving" the tension ! I like a lot of stiffness but as little tension as possible, my favorite strings are T-I or Pyramid flatwounds and I don't mind the LaBella Deep Talkin' flats either.
     
  7. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,741
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    Stringing through the body and using a string tree on the headstock are really the only methods to increase the perceived stiffness of the strings besides changing string types. Guitarists want just the opposite so go read up in the guitar forums on string tension/compliance and do exactly the opposite of what they suggest.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    33,564
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    what he said. also, "half-round" or "groundwound"-type strings are usually pretty tight for their size, and won't be as dark as full-out flats.
     
  9. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,653
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
    Other possible avenues are;

    On bolt-on neck instruments, shim the neck a bit and correspondingly raise the saddles. This will increase the "break angle" a bit and give a little more punch sometimes, which might stiffen it up a bit, although it might be more percieved than real.

    I've actually sunk bridge assemblies into the body on a few set-neck instruments in order to get a bit more bite and sustain, and had clients tell me it felt stiffer- just something to ponder.;)
     
  10. James Hill

    James Hill Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florence,Alabama
    I also prefer high tension and from my experience DR Low Riders .045 - .105 roundwounds and Chromes Flats .050 - .105 are the best for me. It could also just be my perception and could be completely different for anyone else.
     
  11. SmoothFall

    SmoothFall Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    I would say if you have high action, then that might eliminate the need to have more tension on the strings.... Just a thought
     
  12. Structo

    Structo Member

    Messages:
    9,573
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    Bigger strings = more string tension.
    You can usually lower the action with bigger strings too because they don't vibrate in as big of circle.

    But I can't stand the action too low because I have trouble getting a finger on the string to bend it under the next string.
    I have tried bigger gauges but always go back to D'Addario 9-42's......

    Forgot to add, you didn't mention the guitar but scale length plays a big role in the feel of the strings as well.
    Longer scale, more tension, shorter scale, less tension.
     
  13. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    if you are on a fender style shim the neck. the greater neck angle will mean saddles need to be set higher and the steeper angle of the string break behind the saddle will take the suppleness away. also try some different or heavier strings. you can also try more wraps on the tuners if they will fit. same theory here different end of the guitar!
     
  14. elanvital

    elanvital Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    istanbul
    you need muscles for high tension strings =)
     
  15. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,101
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
  16. envika

    envika Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    flatwounds, or move up to .050 gauge
     

Share This Page