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What do you think is the ideal string gauge to learn on?


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#1 XoSo

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 05:34 PM

Start light and build up, take the plunge with heavies or happy balance of mediums? Also roundwound, flatwound or tapewound? Confused I am.

#2 Lozz196

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 05:42 PM

Go for regular gauge, so that when you break a string or need new ones you can quickly resource them, rather than have to hunt high & low for someone that stocks what you`ve gotten used to. Rounds/flats/tapes - well depends what type of music really, rounds can be dulled down to sound flat-like, some flats can be brightened up to sound round-like. I learnt to play on flats, probably easier on the fingertips of the fretting hand.
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#3 TheGreek

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:25 PM

Take a trip to your local shop and try lots of basses with different strings.

I prefer mine light but that doesn't mean you will.

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#4 shamrock198804

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:19 AM

It might be just me, but I feel like articulation on flats is harder and less noticeable. Also, they produce less unwanted noise, such as fretbuzz etc.

Because of these reasons, I'd rather recommend regular gauge steel roundwound strings for starters, so you can learn to mute strings you don't play on, and to articulate (vibrato, legato) well. Then start experimenting with other gauges and types of strings and see where it gets you.

#5 chris_b

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:50 AM

IMO if a bass is well set up the gauge of the strings is not important.

If you're just starting out on bass there are far more important things to worry about and master before you get into stuff like this.
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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:51 AM

+1

If you're just starting on bass, then string choice should be very low on your list of priorities, along with scale length, string spacing, nut material, and colour of the knobs.

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#7 bluejay

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:02 AM

Steady, you guys, if the OP has small hands like mine, and/or fragile skin, strings matter a lot when you learn. I learned on thick roundwounds, and thought they were OK, until I tried flats on a thinner neck (moving from my student cheapo to a 4-string Warwick). Suddently I was able to play faster, without too much string noise ('cos when you have small hands you have to move them a lot over the fretboard!) and the allergic reaction caused by nickel rounds was less of a problem on flats.
So I'd say, soft flats - Thomastik or D'Addario Chromes. Forget about horrid rounds.

Edited by bluejay, 12 October 2017 - 09:02 AM.


#8 ahpook

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:19 AM

I'd add another vote to 'it doesn't matter too much' apart from Bluejay's excellent point about Nickel allergies.

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#9 dood

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 09:06 AM

 ahpook, on 12 October 2017 - 09:19 AM, said:

I'd add another vote to 'it doesn't matter too much' apart from Bluejay's excellent point about Nickel allergies.

You're going to need those callouses eventually, so suck it up - they're a badge of honour ;)

I have had students with Nickel allergies and this can make playing an instrument uncomfortable indeed.

I would most definitely recommend a really good set up on an instrument too. Again, on the subject of students, I’ve had many come through the door with, for example some old classical guitar that has been dug up out of the attic. Nor surprisingly, most of them play like an old dog.

Flat wounds and Round wounds have had a mention. A nice in between string or look at is the half wound otherwise known as ground wound. D’Addario make a nice set of half wound strings that are a nice in between of tone and feel.

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#10 T-Bay

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:40 AM

I have been playing a year now and know exactly what I like (medium gauge, nickel rounds) but I have tried a good few to get that knowledge and the difference was massive in some cases. What I would suggest is going to a decent music shop with a shed load of second hand basses. Have a play with as many widths of neck and types of strings as you can as the odds are you will find something that just feels better to you.





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