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Strings for 5 string Ampeg Baby Bass

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Posted by Tim on September 10, 2001 at 16:16:21:

Having just purchased an old 5 string Baby Bass, I'm somewhat confused by the various pieces of information I've gleaned about strings for this thing.

- The owners manual ( leads one to believe that the factory recommended setup was with a high C (Low to High EADGC).

- The manual has recommended guages but I'm not sure what the numbers relate to in English or Metric units ... G-39,D-45,A-47,E-56(C-33,for BB-5) ... are these Gut or Steel?

- The same manual has a chart that shows Ampeg part numbers for sets and single strings ( that include both Low C and High C strings

- I spoke with a very helpful and seemingly knowledgable woman at Azola that said the High C stringing was simply more commonly used by players of the time and that no physical damage would occur from using a Low B as is my desire. Just the appropriate nut slotting. She said that many players use an even lighter "solo" guage set tuned down to EADG. I believe she also mentioned a true 3/4 set for length.

- There is a set from LaBella that is marketed specifically for the "Ampeg Baby Bass" but it is a nylon tape wound 4 string set. I found no mention of either lower or higher single strings for this set.

- Lemur Music ( suggested a 3/4 Thomastik Spirocore "weich" set but unfortunately it appears that there is not a "weich" High C or Low B.

- On the JustStings site ( there is a 3/4 "weich" Low C listed and a "mittel" Low B.

- I spoke to a representative of Thomastik and he said that he generally sold 1/2 size sets for the Ampeg Baby Bass!

Ummm ... $150.00 is a lot of money for me to spend on "experimenting". I use Thomastik Spirocore "mittel" on my good old Kay and am happy with that. I know the sound of the Ampeg and am not expecting "acoustic" sound quality from it's original pickup (I think the thumpy sound of the thing is part of it's charm). I do want reasonable string-to-string tension and a Low B that speaks if possible. It currently appears to have another Low E tuned to B that really just rattles.

Any opinions? speculation? facts? HELP! Thanks.


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