Question On Strings

I was wondering if I switch gauges would I need to make any changes and how would I do those?

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Wouldn’t hurt to double check the setup after changing.

Different gauges would change action height and might even have a different tension which could potentially alter the neck relief.


Sorry, I’m pretty inexperienced when it comes to bass terminology, so can you dumb that down for me?

Of course!

At a high level:

Action height is just the distance between the fretboard and the strings. It’s adjusted at the bridge.

Neck relief is the curve of the neck. The necks on guitars aren’t perfectly straight. They need to have a very slight bend in order to have clean notes. Fixing the neck relief takes a little more work.

The great @JoshFossgreen, master of BassBuzz, made a great video on how to quickly do the setup on your own guitar and goes over the various bits in more detail.


Thank you.

To add to all the great advice you already have, if you go with really heavy gauges, like with Steve Harris strings, you may need to file the nut, the part with the grooves to hold the string up by the headstock. They may need some filing so the strings will sit properly in the grooves.

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I’ll just say that as a beginner, I switched gauges all the time, and never set up my bass.
It can be done and is done all the time.
I didn’t have the patience or the care to watch a set up video or try and fuss with anything - I just wanted to play.
As long as my bass made sound, that was enough for me and my garage bands.

So, yes, if you are very focused on how your bass feels, very particular about it, and want to make sure it plays to its full potential, great. Making adjustments for new gauges (if they are drastic) will help that - as well as helping out the basic health of your instrument as it adjusts to the new tension.

However, as a beginner who was thirsty for rock and roll, I did zero of those things, loved my basses and the sounds they made, and had a blast.
I possibly warped their necks a bit, but they were beginning basses, it built character, and I couldn’t tell any difference until years and years later.

Best of luck with it all.


That helps a lot.


Great points, Gio. I never did any setups or maintenance on my guitars or basses for years. I just played ‘em.

My main axe long ago as a kid was a 12-string Epiphone acoustic. Its action was fine on the money frets, but way high up the neck. I didn’t know the vagaries of tweaking a truss rod back then, much less how to lower the action at the bridge. But I had a cheap tuner and I played the sh*t out of it. Somehow, it was enough for me and the folks I played for.


I went to adjust my truss rod the other day because I was getting some fret buzz. I adjusted it the wrong way and it felt way better, so I left it like that. It buzzes and clanks a lot more, but nothing that makes it through the amp. All that to say, I’ve been playing for more than a few years now and I still don’t know what I’m doing. Just keep playing.


Flatter always feels better to me too :slight_smile:

This is why I don’t use fancy tools or gauges to set up; the feel what really matters to me, I can work around the rest.

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