So I was playing a friend's bass the other day, and his strings felt a ton looser than mine, yet they were still in tune. His strings don't appear to be a heavier gauge than mine, either. How does this work?

He has an Ibanez SR (4-string) I don't know the model, but I do know that it's discontinued.
I have a Cort Curbow 5.
We both use DR strings.
Some bass strings have denser cores than others. The denser the core, the tighter the string will feel under tension. DR makes a few different models that cater to this effect - particularly the Lo-Riders. Ask your friend what strings he is using. The angle of the strings as they cross the bridge saddles can also affect how taut they feel when played. A sharp angle results in a more taut feel.
older strings feel a little tighter to me. till they hit a certain age at least, at which all I feel is similar to a greased pan.
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If you can judge a difference in gauge of .005, or even .010 with the naked eye, I'd be highly surprised, since the theoretical maximum resolution of the eye is about 0.35mm, whereas a gauge of 0.005 is roughly equal to 0.1mm. I also assume that you didn't exactly put both basses up next to other for a comparison, and therefore judging from memory. By that coin, he probably does have a different gauge to yours.
^ yeah, but I also remember him saying that he uses .45-.105. I use the same gauge, just adding the low B. Sorry, I didn't say that right.
Iknow what you mean. A friend of mine and I use the same everything and his bass always feel s a bit looser than mine. I think he tunes up when he hanges strings to loosen his up, but I'm not sure. I like em tight because it makes me feel like im not playing sloppy.
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Its gotta be the bass. I use Ernie Ball's on my MusicMan Sting Ray and my Fender P-bass and I can tell the difference in tension between each one. The Sting Ray is much tighter, and can hold a drop D tuning a ton better than my P-bass. It could also be the set up of the bass as well.
Combination of scale length and action. A 32" scale bass with 3/32" action, even with slightly heavier strings is probably still gonna feel looser than a 34" or 35" scale bass with 1/8" action.
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