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Problem starting my D string

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by MikeCanada, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Likes Received:
    In a nutshell: my D string doesn't want to start as quickly as it did a month or two ago. I get a scratch and then starts regardless to how I play it, which makes faster passages frustrating to say the least. It is particularly noticeable open or in the lower positions, and as I get up to the end of the fingerboard it isn't as much of a problem.

    Some other information that might be helpful:
    I changed the string and have the exact same problem, eliminating "it's a bad string".
    The only wolf I have ever had on the bass is the B up the D string, it hasn't changed, and it doesn't feel/sound like a wolf.
    The Schertler pickup I have clips between the strings, and I thought it might help as a "wolf eliminator" even though I'm convinced it isn't a wolf. I moved it around a bunch and nothing changed.
    I have tried a different bow. I have spent a lot of time evaluating my technique. It doesn't happen on any other string in any other part of the bass, and it just started happening, so I really don't think it's a bow/technique problem.

    My suspicions:
    The bridge might have been bumped and moved a small amount. It doesn't look/play like it is wildly out of place, but I know a few mm can make a difference.
    Humidity? The soundpost might be tight? I noticed it for the first time and it has stayed since it has gotten colder and dryer here. I have a humidifier that keeps things in check, but even with it on it's slightly dryer than the summer/fall here. With that said, I've had the bass for about 10 years now, it has seen significantly dryer winters, and I've never had a problem with it.

    What am I missing? am I looking at a trip to the shop to see if my luthier can solve the mystery?
  2. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Endorsing Artist: Genz-Benz Amplifiers
    How fresh is your rosin? Your bow(s) hair?
  3. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Likes Received:
    My Rosin is fairly fresh. Not bassrosin.com two weeks ago fresh, but fresh.
    My bows have all been rehaired within the last 6 months.

    If it was a bow problem, I would expect to have problems in other parts of the bass on other strings, which is not the case. I also have a fair amount of training as a bow maker and have made sure that my bows are not at fault. It sounds a bit like a flat spot, when the bow skates before starting. I have tried my three bows that I am confident do not have camber issues, and it happens everywhere along each bow, not in a particular spot on a particular bow. This makes me think bass, not bow.

    My bass also does not have any open seams, the one crack that is in it was professionally repaired and is holding perfectly, and it does not sound like an open seam/crack. The N-pin has never been a problem in the past, and isn't moving or creating any sounds. It also isn't a rattle (from a loose tuning gear or something of that nature) and I can not find any structural problems from the outside of the instrument/looking through the f holes. I purchased the bass new (it is a 2003 Czech shop bass) and structurally the instrument is very sound.

    If I can think of any other issues to rule out I will post them, but I've looked at most of the usual suspects.

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