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5 String question...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Essthreetee, Apr 28, 2010.


  1. Essthreetee

    Essthreetee

    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA
    In browsing around the for sale ads, I notices that Yamaha makes their 5 string bridges with the B string part a little longer than the others. Why is this? Does it make the B string a longer scale for more tension? I don't get it...could someone please explain it to me?

    I stole this pic form BobWestbrooks ad (I hope you don't mind...if you do let me know and I will take it off. It just helps me to explain...)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. JoshuaTSP

    JoshuaTSP

    Sep 26, 2008
    I'm fairly sure it's for intonation....since the low b saddle is usually the farthest away from the neck.
     
  3. Also keeps the string from bending too much where it crosses over the saddle, which can affect both tone and intonation.
    They probably found that with this design of bridge at the same length as the other strings, a fat B would actually arch up a bit before straightening out.
     
  4. Essthreetee

    Essthreetee

    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA

    So then that leads me to another question. I have a TBC 5 string that is both top loading and/or string-thru...should I not be stringing the B thru the body?
     
  5. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    Yup. Ever notice how on a properly intonated bass the saddles form an angle with the heaviest strings closest to the edge of the bass? Hence from that one can surmise that a "perfect" bridge would be angled like that. In fact that is just what basses that use a single saddle bridge do (acoustic). But for looks most bridges are built square to the strings and body of the bass rather than angled. What this does is that as you intonate the bass the springs behind the saddles get mashed more and more until the spring behind the B string saddle is totally mashed. If you look closely at this bridge you see the little extension solves that problem and the B string spring is no longer mashed. Even better would be to have steps that match the usual angle for all the strings. The real wonder is why no other bridge makers ever noticed this fact. I can't tell you how many of my basses have the "mashed B string spring" phenomena.
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    The speaking length of the string is still the same, so the tension will not change. The string ball could connect to a post fifty feet behind the bass- if the saddle is still in the same spot, the tension/scale will stay the same.
     
  7. dabbler

    dabbler

    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    I disagree. This would be true if the ONLY way tension was transmitted was from the contact point between the string and the nut/saddle. BUT in fact, there is a tension gradient across the string cross section from the bottom of the string (where it contacts the saddle) to the top of the string and YES the amount of string behind the saddle affects how sharp this gradient has to be to ABSORB the increase in tension you add as you pluck the string. More string behind the saddle, easier to pluck/bend string.

    I'm not going to get in a long discussion on this, but if you don't believe me... do the experiment.
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    If it changed the tension of the string, then the string would simply not intonate properly along the 34" scale. Pull the string tighter and it will go up in pitch- you'll have to counteract that extra pull by detuning the string more so it will stay in pitch. You may change the feel of the string, but not the tension along the speaking length.
     
  9. dabbler

    dabbler

    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    OK, I wasn't umm, complete. I agree that at REST the tension is whatever it must be for the string to be in tune. However, typically when people start talking about "B" strings and tension the issue really being discussed is floppiness. It probably wasn't here and so my comment is probably out of context.

    Anyway my comment was aimed at the fact that the dynamic tension, how hard it pulls back on you when you play the string, IS affected by the nonspeaking length. Again, due to the fact that the increased tension (from the pluck) on the TOP of the string that is not in contact with the saddle does indeed get absorbed (to a lesser or more degree depending on how much string is back there) by the string behind the saddle.

    I apologize for being incomplete before.
     
  10. Essthreetee

    Essthreetee

    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA
    Soooooo...(this is a totally honest question...no wise guy intended) if the tension is unchanged while it is at rest...how would it then be changed while it is plucked?
     
  11. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    No matter the length of string to the outside of the saddle and nut, the tension will be the same when a particular string is tuned to a particular pitch at a particular scale length and the string is at rest.

    The more string length to the outside of the bridge saddle and nut, the more string length there is to give or stretch when force is applied to it. When you pluck the string you change the tension by applying force. Any string that can be used has to be able to stretch some so it can be pressed to the fret. There has to be some give somewhere in the system.

    If the string is clamped firmly at the saddle and nut, any string length outside the clamps has no effect on the "feel" of the tension of the string.

    If the string is not clamped firmly at the saddle and nut, any string length outside the clamps will add to the amount of give the string has since there is more string to give.

    The amount of string between the nut and the tuner has much more effect on the "feel" of the tension of the string due to it being much longer and of smaller average diameter (easier to stretch) than the amount of string between the saddle and the anchor point.

    For tuning purposes the string needs to move smoothly over the saddle and nut and not get pinched, caught or have too much friction. If there are any of those problems you can tune it up, apply some force, the string releases and it's now flat.

    Since the string needs to move smoothly over the saddle and nut and is not clamped, any force you apply to the playing length of the string is also applied to the non-played portions to some degree.

    The shorter the amount of string between the nut and tuner the less overall string length to stretch and the tighter it feels.

    The sharper the break angle between the nut and bottom wrap on the tuner post, the more force is applied by the string to the nut and increases friction at that point to lessen the amount of plucking force applied to the non-speaking length of string.

    String trees add their own friction points to the system and can increase the break angle of the string over the nut (adding friction) to lessen any effect the length of string between the nut and tuner has on the "feel" of any particular string.

    Headless basses with the strings clamped at the nut and tuners that are integral to the bridge have the shortest overall string length and the "feel" of the tension of the string is dependent only on the speaking portion of the string.

    JOOFO
    mech

    BTW..the saddle springs are only needed to hold the saddles in place when strings are changed. Once the strings are tuned, the saddles will not move toward the anchor point.
     

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