University of St Andrews and Kemp Strings inventor Dr Jonathan Kemp has just developed a new concept in bass guitar strings design which reduces inharomicity, improving tone when playing high up the neck. Inharmonicity is a term which refers to the way that the resonances of a vibrating string go increasingly sharp of true harmonics because of the bending stiffness of the material from which they are made. The new research is published in the peer reviewed, open access paper “On inharmonicity in bass guitar strings with application to tapered and lumped constructions” in the SN Applied Sciences journal with digital object identifier doi.org/10.1007/s42452-020-2391-2
You can now buy Kemp Strings Lumped 45s, the world’s first lumped bass guitar strings.
Check out Gus Stirrat’s demo of lumped strings from Kemp String below. Gus is a mainstay of the Scottish jazz scene playing in bands Fat Suit (winner of Best Album and Best Band in the 2017 Scottish Jazz Awards), Animal Society and the Gus Stirrat Band amongst others.
Here’s a video discussing the research and presenting the raw sound examples from the research paper:
The University of St Andrews have also made a press release on Dr. Jonathan Kemp’s lumped bass guitar strings.
17 thoughts on “Lumped bass guitar strings from Kemp Strings!”
Fascinating. I have always been unhappy with chording high up on the neck.
I play a 5 string tuned lowest to highest EADGC.
Would I need to find a high C that matched your strings, or could you provide that as well?
Can you recommend a specific brand, wounding (round, flat, semi), materials? I think my C string gauge is usually 0.030
Hi Lloyd, as you may know that’s what Leo Fender intended for the Fender Bass V. Yes, I can make a custom set for you based on roundwound nickel plated steel windings that will incorporate a high C string. The price would be the same as the stock lumped bass strings 5 string sets. Please do email email@example.com with details of the length of string between ball ends and saddle and scale length if you want to set the ball rolling. Cheers, Jonathan
Really cool concept. Would like to get my hands on a set to try out. Have you considered applying the concept to flatwound strings?
Hi Reid, thanks for asking. The concept would work for flat wounds but I don’t plan to get making flat wounds myself at this stage. I’m always happy to consult if any string makers who make flat wounds wants to collaborate. I’m can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers, Jonathan
What are the available gauges on the 5-string bass sets?
The gauages are 45, 60, 81, 108 and 146 for the five string sets. Thanks!
Still interested in strings for my six string…….I’ll send you the measurements in a few days
Are there any plans to make bass strings in light gauges? I usually play either. 040 to. 100, or occasionally. 035 to. 095.
Hi Mike, Thanks for asking. Yes, I can make lighter gauges. Please do email email@example.com and let me know what exact make and model of bass you are interested in stringing up with a set of Kemp Strings Lumped 40s for Bass! Cheers, Jonathan
146 seems very high for the B string. Is there a reason for this? Does it add to the tonal difference between the E and B strings?
Thanks for the question. Yes, 0.146 is high but it is approximately equal tension with the others. Most manufacturers have a low B that is lower tension than the other strings (and you will see that most manufacturers don’t sell equal tension strings for low B). The low B on my sets are less floppy and have a more definite sense of pitch.
I’m wondering if you could comment on something. How small a gauge does a string need to go before the lump string concept no longer offers any benefit? Specifically, would it be beneficial for the low E and A strings on a 6-string guitar (not bass)? I assume there’s a cut point in which the lessened mass makes benefits undetectable. Sorry, if you’ve explained this and I didn’t catch it.
Hi Bob, Thanks for the question. I don’t think lumps are beneficial for 6 string normal guitar although it is physically possible for low E and A strings. 7 and 8 string guitar can definitely benefit from lumps though so watch this space!
I’m looking for a set of strings for a 32″ scale, 5 string bass; however, I would like to limit the B string to .135. Could you comment on the lump 40 set and it they meet these requirements (including string tensions at 34″)?
Hi, Thanks for the enquiry. Please do email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a delay in getting custom orders completed at the moment due to supply chain issues but if you email I’ll get in touch when I can get them made. Cheers, Jonathan
What is the price for a 4 string set 45 to 105?
Hi Bill, The price is visible when you select 4 string and surface mount or through body option on the web site. Currently it is £54.99 GBP plus £1.50 flat rate international postage. Gauges are 45, 60, 81, 108 for equal tension etc. Cheers, Jonathan