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5 string Flop?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bentem, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    I was playing some 5 ers' at Guitar center today, and on all of them, the B-string was floppy, and buzzed.

    I played a warwick thumb 5 BO, and it was the least buzzy of them, but i dont really remember much about it.

    I also played a yamaha nathan east-style 5 string(not the sig, but a lower-end copy) which i was looking at to buy sometime in the future, but the B- was pretty floppy, and the whole thing buzzed.

    I played a pedulla raptor 5, and it was realy nice, and it was a little less floppy and buzzy.

    Are theese symptoms common of all 5 string basses? and if i want a 5 string for under $500, will i have to live with it? were those basses messed up from being in the store so much, and if i bought them, would i be able to fix theese problems?

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, i dont realy know much about 5 strings
  2. guitar center doesent treat there instraments very good, thats probably where.

    - w00t
  3. It's not a stupid question, you are right to be concerned. From what you've told us, I'm wondering if this might be a technique issue. The reason I say that is because the Pedulla Rapture is usually considered to have a good B. If you play hard, you are going to require a higher action than if you play soft, and basses in shops are mostly setup with lowish actions. If you're interested in a bass, and you play hard, it's perfectly reasonable to ask the sales guy to set the action up higher for you. In general, B strings dont like being hit too hard.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As mentioned, the instruments at GC aren't particularly well-maintained. When people come in and bang on the fivers, they mostly bang on the B string. The B goes dead before the other strings... this can happen with basses that have the best of B strings.

    So, while it's possible to audition a bass and determine it has a good B string, it's difficult to know whether a bass has a weak B string overall or if the B string is just dead.
  5. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Yea, I tend to blame GC on this. I've owned to 5ers and neither has had a bad B. My first was a Lakland 55-01 which sell for somewhere around $700 new. My current is a Turner Electroline which is a higher end bass.
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Very good point. And one alot of people often over look.

    A good store will set the action to your liking that includes pickup height as well. If they arent willing to do this stuff take your money and go else where
  7. tripwamsley


    Jan 31, 2002
    Sulphur La,
    As a person who has visited at least half of the stores in the GC chain, I can say that they almost NEVER have anything set up. All the basses generally need a lot of help. That's my 2 pence!
  8. Living here in New Zealand, I obviously have no experience of GC, but I manage a music store, and as I've said before, every single bass, and every guitar for that matter, is set up ready to gig on. That's 55 basses and about 200 guitars. A lot of work, but worth it.
  9. I would check the basses in the store and ensure they are indeed tuned to 440. I have experienced a lot of shops detuning to save stress on the strings.
  10. I think it also has a little to do with the strings being used, i've had brand new rickenbacker(don't use them i just got 'em with the bass as spares) strings on my bass and the B was floppy as hell, changed them to DR's and then Dadarios and I haven't had a problem. But then maybe thats just me.
  11. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    All of the above is true.

    But that being said, B strings will in general feel floppier than the adjacent E string, and this is especially noticeable if you're used to playing four-strings exclusively.
  12. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    An MTD kingston is your best bet to get around floppiness.
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    setup is a big deal but not the only one

    that being said, any store that will not set up its instruments should be treated like a resturaunt that serves meat raw and spoiled or an aquarium store which keeps its fish in dry shoeboxes

    oh yes, the b strings don't like to be attacked too hard but on the longer scale (i.e. 35") basses this isnt as much of a problem, this is also true to a lesser extent on basses with thru body strings and headstocks with a serious tilted back angle

    fwiw, i have also found that graphite and wenge necks tend to have better sounding b strings
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Me, too. Do you play hard? "B" strings don't react well to a heavy touch.
  15. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    I have two "5's", a Fender MIM Jazz V and a Godin BG5. Both are 34" scale and both have a decent "B" string. The Godin is more floppy because it is a .130 gauge Ernie Ball Slinky light and the action is set low. I can't dig in as much as I can with the Fender that has a .135 gauge B-string. It's almost like a big rod. It doesn't move around as much. I also have higher action on the Fender.

    If you really like to dig in on the B-string then:

    1. Set action a bit higher to compensate.
    2. You may want slightly more neck relief to give some room for the string to vibrate freely (widely) with a minimum of string slap against the frets.
    3. Go with a "medium" string set that has the heavier .135 gauge B although I think the vast majority of strings-sets have a .130 B. You may have to look around.

    I also like the thumpier, more percussive type of sound that the .135 gives you.

    BTW. The medium Fender string-set with the taperwound E & B for standard basses with top-load bridges has been discontinued. After two emails over nearly four weeks, Fender customer support has yet to answer me what the replacement set is. Any thoughts.
  16. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    wow, thats a lot of replies.

    The warwick and the yamaha have been at that GC for a really long time.

    I wasnt playing them too hard, but the yamaha buzzed everywhere on the fretboard.

    I think when i have enough money, ill get one used. Are the MTD's hard to find?
  17. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    finding a used mtd 5 is kinda like finding osama bin laden
  18. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Try MTD strings. They offer a .135 B with a taper core. I was not initially impressed, but they actually last a long time compared to the other strings I have used lately. They are a little pricey, but if you buy the, in 3 set increments you can get a deal.