Spirocore Mittel E dead sounding

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by fontez5, Jan 26, 2013.


  1. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    Hoping some of you may have some thoughts as to my query. I just put on a new set of Spirocore Mittels on my Engelhardt. All the strings sound LOUD and have that wonderful Spiro growl to them, but the E just sounds dead as hell and the volume between that string and the rest of the set seems way too unbalanced. I was expecting that string to jump out and growl like the others do, but no dice. I've adjusted the string height down, up... still the same result.

    Everything on my bass is in tip-top shape as far as set up (at least it appears so), so I guess I'm more curious if this is a common thing with these strings when they are brand new? I didn't know if the other strings would settle down to match the tone and volume of the E over the next coming weeks/months. I know these strings take a while to settle in, but man, this E is killing me.

    Thanks for all input offered!
  2. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

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    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Have you had other strings on the E that responded better? Another Spiro mittel that was better? Some basses have poor response on the E string no matter what you use. I haven't found that to be typical of a Spiro mittel E -- perhaps the string is defective?

    Have you had mittels on this bass before? They create fairly high tension on a bass, and it may be choking your bass in a way that shows up on the E. Your bass might like Spiro Weich better.
  3. kscbass

    kscbass Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    I had a similar experience recently. I have 63' Carved Roth, when I got it I put some Spiro Mittels S42's on it, I felt the body vibrate nicely but I wasn't getting enough volume. Then I realized the more I dug in the more it sounded choked, muffled. I originally didn't go for lighter strings because I thought they would feel to loose on this bass. One day I decided to give it a try since I had a used set of Spiro Weichs lying around, and suddenly the bass is louder, sounds more open, with more resonance, like the sound was coming out (easier) from the bass. After a couple weeks in an experiment to try to get more low end I put an E Spiro Mittel, again the E Mittel made the bass vibrate more, but it had less sustain than the A D and G Weich strings.
    Of the three basses I had two of them didn't take high tension to well and one had a weak E string. A solution could be keeping the Mittel E string and using ADG Weichs to balance the loss of volume on the E string.
  4. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks for the replies so far! First, I did a little tinkering yesterday and scooted the bridge towards the bass side of the body to get the foot off of the bass bar some more and that cleared up the volume issue (I think I had accidentally misplaced the bridge when putting the new strings on). The string still sounds a little dead compared to the others, but in doing this it seemed to help open it up more.

    I had to take the bridge apart to cut the threading on the adjuster wheels shorter (my luthier had installed a new bridge months ago and used the Fishman Full Circle to make the measurements but the threads on those are shorter than a standard wheel, therefore the feet are smaller in height than they should've been). Anywho, I was bottoming out on being able to lower the string height anymore, so to the chopping block they went!

    With all that being said, I did have a set of Obligatos on my bass and most recently Gamut guts on the D & G and Garbos on the E & A. None of those strings ever posed any problems, but then again they are lighter gauge strings comparatively. I think the weichs would be good to try, but my wife will kill me if I spend any more money on strings!! Ha! I dig everything about the Mittels and don't want to change them, so I think I'll give them a few weeks to see what happens in terms of tone. They were nice and loud at our gig last night and the E sounded nice and balanced volume-wise when amped, so that also leads me to feel it's now only down to the "Dead" tone of the string.
  5. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    And Bobby, I forgot to mention, I've never had Sprios on this bass nor ever played them before, so unfortunately I don't have any way to compare their tone on my bass or how they sound out of the packaging on any other bass. I was wondering if it's a defective string, myself. Thanks for the input!
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    I think this is may be a string-tension issues. Given my experience with Kays and Engels, they seem to do better with lower-tension strings. A little trick is to detune the strings slightly downward and upward and listen to when the bass responds better. I'm betting that if you detune downward, then you'll find that your bass will "wake up." That's an indicator that you'd do better with lower-tension strings. If you decide to change strings (and I encourage you to do that), then you can recoup much of the cost of the Spiro mitts by listing them right here in the classifieds.

    All that said, a large disparity between the power of the E and the other strings is often a setup issue and it sounds like things may have slid around enough so that a trip to the luthier would be helpful. The bridge definitely has a proper "place" and, really, that's not typically a parameter to be adjusted. I suggest that your evaluations should be made by listening to the acoustic, rather than the amplified, sound of the instrument.
  7. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    Thanks, drurb! Don't worry, I'm definitely focusing on the acoustic sounds of the bass, not amplified. I was more saying that because I was expecting the E to be buried last night and it was actually nice and even with the rest of the strings, so I was happy.

    I kicked the strings down in tuning and they all still have the same tone/volume, so I'm guessing the bass is ok with the string tension? I will most likely try some weichs sometimes anyways just to have the chance to compare the two.

    Fancily enough, they are all sounding really good this morning, like they woke up from their slumber or something. The E is starting to get that growl to it now, for sure. Maybe I beat the hell out of it enough at our gig last night that it knows I mean business!! I have to say, I was super impressed with the fact that these strings didn't budge on tuning once I got them on. I'm so used to wrangling the guts up to pitch every song, so last night was a very pleasant experience.

    I do need to take my bass into the shop soon to have him look at the endpin. The little bugger is getting extremely hard to pull out/push in, so while it's there I'll have him take a look at the set up to make sure it's all jiving. It's all lined up where it needs to be, no weird bridge angle is kicking in, so I think it's good to go, but having an expert eye on it is for sure the way to go.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    This is not a good move. By re-tuning the whole bass, you might be bringing the tuning of the strings in line with the resonant frequencies of the instrument rather than evaluating its response to tension.

    Much better to re-tune ONE string to lessen the tension on the bass without also changing all the sonic relationships. The body has a resonant frequency, as does the top, the neck, the bass bar, etc. Tuning, say, the 'G' string down to 'F' or 'E' or 'D' will lessen the tension while keeping the D, A and E strings at the pitch you'll be playing them later.

    I feel as though I'm struggling to explain this - I'm obviously not a writer. :(

    What I'm trying to say is, change the tension, not the pitch. ;)
  9. Bungee

    Bungee

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I had a similar issue and found that a Stark "E" string balanced better with the other three Mittels on my plywood Shen.
  10. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
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    Columbia, IL
    Totally makes sense to me. I've screwed around with it trying different things and I think it's possibly more the "built-in" sound of the string more than anything. No matter if it's to pitch or a few steps below, it's just got that thud to it that the other strings don't... the rest are bright and zingy. They have definitely calmed down since our practice and gig last night, so I think after another few weeks they will all start sounding pretty much the same.

    And trying the stark E like Bungee mentioned was also a thought that had crossed my mind. I don't really want to go lower tension so I was thinking that could be a good route to take.

    This site is so great. Ask for some input and you get a ton of great ideas. Love it!
  11. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Try putting the E string on the A peg and vice versa - that will put a little more tension on the E string.
  12. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    Damn, I forgot about this technique and I was always questioning how well it worked, but that did the trick!! Damn, the E came straight to life! Thanks a million, Jake!
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    That's great! I still think you should take your new bass to your luthier for a quick once-over - there may be even more sound to be revealed. ;)
  14. moles

    moles

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    Jan 24, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Not that Jake needs my "+1", but my Strunal had issues with thuddy E strings when I first got it - a better fitting soundpost, and lower string height thanks to some installed adjusters, and some other fixes, cleared that problem right up. Get the bass checked out.
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    Note that I said "slightly." Also, I should have made it clear that I meant that it should be done one string at a time as you suggested. I didn't write very well. :)

    I still don't understand how bringing the very same string to the very same pitch, but on a different tuning roller, puts more tension on it. The vibrating length from nut to bridge is even exactly the same. Maybe someone can explain it. Clearly, the change did the trick but I wonder what really is the explanation.
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    I'm not a scientist, I'm a witch doctor - I just use it! ;)

    The extra length of string in the pegbox (and that of the after-lengths) also needs to be tightened up to get the vibrating length up to pitch. Try swapping your E and A strings and see what happens.

    You can do the same with your P-Bass: move the E string to the D or G peg and see what the E string feels like.

    Taylor guitars (and some others) have a really long peghead and need to have strings one or two gauges lighter than you'd use on a Martin to get the same feel.
  17. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    I have to say, I was really skeptical of a whopping, what, 3-4" length after the nut making that much of an impact, but whatever the magic is behind it it seemed to do the trick.

    I'm with Jake. I'm no scientist, I don't need to understand why or how it works, it just does. Once I swapped the E & A the E suddenly started growling like the rest of the set, the volume balanced out even more and... MAGIC!

    My end pin is sticking something fierce even though I just had it put on a few months back, so I'll have them give the bass another once over in regards to the set up although it got a thorough workout not even six months ago. The thing plays so stupid nice so it's more just down to making sure I'm milking the thing for all the volume she's got. Until I can afford a nicer bass, I'm doing whatever I can to make this one sing, and these spiros are doing a fine job!
  18. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    :eek: I do not have nor will I have a P-Bass! :) The nut, of course, doesn't create a dead stop. The length into the pegbox does vibrate. I think you're right that that's from where the benefit derives.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Administrator

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    As of 2 days ago, I do. :)
  20. fontez5

    fontez5 Supporting Member

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    You'll have to pry my P from my cold, dead hands for me to give it up!! I used to HATE Precisions, but then one day back in 1999 I picked up a worn out, tired old 1974 P and noodled around. About 30 minutes later I walked out of the shop with it and old girl just couldn't make me happier. Within a week of that I sold my Ric and I haven't had G.A.S. for an electric bass since then. True story!

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