E String Too Loud

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ebulb, Sep 14, 2013.


  1. ebulb

    ebulb

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    i have problems with my E string being too loud relative to the other strings on my bass.. I know you can lower the pickup to reduce level but that also changes tone a bit, i was wondering if i change to a lighter guage string for just the E string and would that reduce its level ? I am getting a rig setup soon and will run compressor/limiter to tame the volume a bit but would like to try and get a solution as close as possible before using a compressor/limiter if i can.. would a lighter guage E string make any difference to volume ?
  2. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle
    Disclosures:
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Making the string thicker is a better solution IMO.

    I don't know your gauges but I'd bet the E is lower tension than all the other strings. If it is looser it moves more which will make it louder. If it is tighter the string won't move as much and will also be a bit better defined tonally - ymmv
  3. ebulb

    ebulb

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    cool.. i'll give it a go, i would actually prefer a thicker guage playing wise so if it helps volume also its win/win..
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    A thicker string may have an even stronger signal.

    Mass of the string interacting with the magnetic field, and the proximity of the string to the pickup, determine the output. Either raise the string, or get one with less mass, not more, or both.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Changing string gage also requires new setup and will most likely change the tone, feel, etc as much if not more than just adjusting the pickup.
  7. ebulb

    ebulb

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    problem i found with lowering the pickups is the sound becomes more hollow, wouldnt raising the string be the same thing in reverse ? Also i dont want the action to get too high so raising the string would bring that into consideration also.. Id rather play a heavier guage stirng than what i am but my intuition says the heavier string would be louder.. I guess it doesnt hurt to try a couple of things and see..

    Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to deal with this ? I have a mexican P bass 50s copy, its not the greatest axe but i like the feel of it.. Its just got stock pickups in it im wondering if changing them would help ?? there is other things about the tone i dont like also so i had already considered changing pickups..
  8. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    Mount Airy, North Carolina
    I know that every P-Bass I ever had ended up having the Pickups higher in the middle for the A & D strings and slightly lower on the E & G strings. Just really matching the curve of the neck. I would try a different set of strings to start with.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    It is what it is. The "tilting" of the pickup to match string profile is a great idea. What amp are you using and how do you EQ?

    Riis
  10. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle
    Disclosures:
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    He is likely looking at a difference of only .005 - that is an insignificant difference in mass but potentially 10% difference in tension. Excursion is more critical regarding output than mass, especially in this instance.
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Your point is well taken. However, you used the wrong math to get there. The difference in mass is the difference in the cross-section area of the larger string less the area of the smaller string, πr^2, the length of the string being constant, and which I agree is probably an insignificant difference.

    The difference in tension is the square of the difference in the diameters, which you did get right, in this case, 100^2/105^2, which does work out to about a ten percent difference.
  12. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle
    Disclosures:
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Trust me when I tell you that I understand mass calculation quite well - I designed my strings based on that math.

    The percentage of additional string tension limits string excursion far more than the greater mass will increase it, and excursion is what makes a string loud - not mass. If mass alone dictated volume then anyone using a .165, .195 or .254 would never hear the treble end of their string set for the F# and C# they use.

    You are not doing the math on the inertia of string movement.
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    ebulb, if you like the idea of a thicker tighter string then try it and see. What gauges are you using? Most sets are very top and/or middle heavy so increasing your E gauge brings the tension into line with the A and D strings. A balanced tension set might help your problem, or design and build your own using singles and the tension charts i'm always linking to. Perhaps 105 80 60 45? Also try adjusting relative height of your pickups and your pickup blend setting, tilt pickups by varying amounts etc. ... then try different brand of string.
    'Loudness' could be fairly subjective i expect k_h is right the max signal will be lower but there will be more harmonics and a tighter, punchier tone which may or may not seem louder to ebulb.
    I always choose gauges with feel and playability top priority, and with an ergonomic mix of tensions, and 'make the tone work' afterwards by adjusting things.
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    No, I didn't use the math on the string inertia, because I do not use the extreme gauges that you offer. And as you said, the inertia between a 100 and a 105 is minimal.

    But that is for another day. Thank you for your reply post.
  15. Treadstone71

    Treadstone71

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Whoa, I didn't see anyone else mention this, but I find I get a fair bit of boom from the lower strings on guitar or bass when there's too many windings on the machine head.

    If your E wraps more than three times around the post, try taking it off and cutting it down so it only has two wraps, then try and see if you're still getting too much oomph from it.
  16. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Location:
    Coeur d'Alene
    String wraps on the post should make zero difference in tone since the string should only be vibrating beyond the nut.
  17. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle
    Disclosures:
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I said the difference in mass is minimal - not inertia. This is a very important distinction.

    It is the excursion that is far more critical. A tighter string does not move from side to side as much as a looser one. Neither mass nor tension have to be different to demonstrate this. If you pluck a string lightly it is quiet - if you hit it hard it is louder. The mass and tension are identical. The difference is string movement, and higher tension will limit string movement.
  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Of course. That was the big deal about the year 1700 when Cristofori developed the first practical piano e forte, or just piano as it is now known - loud and soft on the same string, depending on how hard you played the keys.

    Now: develop a string that doesn't turn black on my hands, that the G string is not twangy, the E string doesn't thump and die, the A & D strings are actually balanced tonally (you're real, real close already on that one), and still all at the same great pricing.

    I have been purchasing singles in "balanced" gauges since at least 1993, before that term was even thought up, and cutting strings apart to see what is inside since I started playing bass in the summer of 1976 when the jazz band camp I attended needed a bass player who could read. When your company came out with its strings, I thought it would be the last place I would ever have to get strings. But because of the above, I do not use your strings. Fix them, and I will.
  19. spz8

    spz8

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Location:
    Glen Cove, NY
    Sounds like a perfect application for compression. I experience the same issue with one of my basses. A compressor helps immensely, but I do like running compression in general.
  20. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle
    Disclosures:
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Complaints noted - none of that alters the physics of loudness.
  21. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    No, it doesn't. On that we agree.

Share This Page