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Afterlength tunning - What's yours?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by RenanDias, Dec 30, 2013.


  1. Gentlemen, I've found some posts talking about afterlength but couldn't resist to do some practical research and ask you: What's the tunning of the string afterlength on your basses ? (before the tailpiece, not pegboxes)

    Also, what's the most recommended/ideal afterlength tunning for a better and richer ressonance?

    Mine is: (Open String / Afterlength note)
    E = B
    A = F#
    D = D
    G = B (two octaves higher and a little flatter than the B afterlength generated by E string, but is still B and not B flat)

    I don't even have to mention that my pickup (Rev Solo II or Fishman BP100) feedbacks a little when I play B on E string and a LOT when I play B on G string.

    Note: My tailpiece is one of those weirds ones (I love it, not only the aesthetics but specially the tonal/sustain effect), with compensated string length, which affects the afterlength tunning. Can't remember what was the afterlength tunning before, with the normal tailpiece.
     
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I tune them to two octaves and a fourth above the related string.

    A/D/G/C from bottom to top.

    Those almost-B after-lengths are obviously causing your feedback troubles but they are also robbing your bass's acoustic tone as well.
     
  3. gerry grable

    gerry grable

    Nov 9, 2010
     
  4. Hi Jake.
    Thanks for responding, interesting to know about tunning in perfect fourths.
    Is there anyway I can adjust the tunning on the afterlength to reach such specific intervals? The way I currently adjust is slightly moving the bridge angle, but it only changes commas, can't go up or down a whole or half tone.
     
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  6. A tuneable tailpiece would be a good idea. And you might need to retune your afterlengths when changing strings (even if it is from the same family/series).
     
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The tailpiece design that we use was designed to make this easier, as was the adjustable tailwire clamp. Sometimes we'll put little 'string perches' under the strings to fine tune the after-lengths, too.

    We're away from home right now so I can't upload a photo for you - I can do that for you next week.
     
  8. I've noticed that two octaves and a fourth seems to be the standard afterlength tuning. My bass has them at two octaves and a fifth, as the tailpiece cable is fairly long. If I were to install a shorter cable to bring it to two octaves and a fourth, what changes in tone might that make?
     
  9. Pentabass

    Pentabass

    Dec 11, 2007
    Winnipeg
    Martin, if you were to shorten the tailpiece wire, and keep your tailpiece the same length, then you would lengthen your afterlength, thereby lowering the note it makes, yes. I did this with a shorter tailpiece, so that i got only two octaves, exactly, with a little fine tuning help.

    What changes in tone does it make?
    I really don't know.
    I suspect that with all the complex variables of a resonator, you just have to try and see. Or hear, actually, even though the visual influences us as well...

    Now here is another question to Jake: if the bass is tuned in fifths, could that mean that two octaves with a fifth is the sweet spot??
     
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Yes. That's how violin/viola/cello after-lengths are tuned.
     
  11. 61pollmann

    61pollmann Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Wisconsin
    I was involved with a similar discussion regarding pickup placement on an electric bass. The higher the note you fret, the pickup is closer to the middle of the vibrating length of the string, thus changing the relationship. On a DB, if your after-length is tuned in relation to the open string pitch(such as two octaves and a fourth or fifth), as soon as you stop a note, the pitch relationship changes. The higher you go, the interval changes, due to the fact that the after-length remains constant, while the vibrating string length decreases. Seems like simple math to me. Anyone have a response to this that makes mathematical sense?
     
  12. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The after-length tuning has more to do with the elimination of phase cancellations: if they are tuned to whole scale tones they won't create super nodes and super troughs and remove frequencies from the vibrating spectrum.

    The same with tuning the bass bar or top plate or neck or ...