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A good loud, tight "B" for 34" basses

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by miketallica315, May 6, 2010.


  1. miketallica315

    miketallica315

    Aug 16, 2009
    Toledo, OH
    For the longest time I have played 35" basses, the low B sound from them is fantastic. I just recieved my dream bass a brand new Fender American Deluxe Jazz V. I was really disapointed with the "farty-ness" of the B and that it wasn't as loud as the other 4 strings. I went through severl sets trying to find a good B to work with my new bass. I thought about using taperwound strings to get the B closer to the pickups for more volume. I bought a set of Elixers that hade a taperwound B but they dont work well. I bought a set of the Fender 8250-5m, that what my bass came with. I also want to try the Hard Rocking Steels by La Bella because the claim to have a great low B. what do you guys think?
     

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  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    The Fender V basses are notorious for having a floppy B. I don't think it is the 34" scale. I find having a Good B on a 34" bass is a combination of the right bridge, the right strings, and a good setup.
     
  3. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    Stick with hex core strings IMO. I've had good luck with DR Lo-Riders, they have good tension but are not overly stiff. They also have a nice low-mid bump that really pushes the low B through. D'addario XLs or DR Lo-Rider Nickels are out there too if you don't want the sound/feel of stainless.

    FWIW, I've had no problem with the B string on any 34" scale bass, Fender included. One trick I've found is to raise the saddle on the B at least as high as the E string, or higher. The B string needs more room to vibrate freely and if you follow the radius of the fingerboard, like most setup guides recommend, it doesn't give the B string enough room.
     
  4. miketallica315

    miketallica315

    Aug 16, 2009
    Toledo, OH
    I am currently going with a taperwound B, using the Fender 8250-5m's. They didn't get great reviews on juststrings.com though. My big problem with strings in general is that my hands sweat so much that they die so much faster than other players. Thats why I switched to Elixers. I ordered the taperwound B but that was pointless because when you string it through the back the taperwound part dosn't sit in the saddle the fat string does. So that was a waste of money. Like I said I am pretty sure about using the La Bella's. Just hoping someone can give me some insight on them. I did get a great set up and that helped a lot.
     
  5. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    I use Elixirs with the non tapered .135 B string. Perfect for a 34" scale bass. Stay away from taper core stings if at all possible.
     
  6. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Fender fivers are terrible for the low B. Just say no to fender fivers and buy from mfg who do fivers well.
     
  7. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    This is all correct. The nickel Low-Riders are my string of choice on my 34" fretted 5. Another thing to look at is the adjustment of the pickup height. Having the string too close or too far from the pole pieces will both give bad results. Experiment with incremental adjustments, and I do mean timy ones... a half turn of the adjustment screw one way or another can make a big difference.
     
  8. Lync

    Lync

    Apr 13, 2004
    NY
    Every Fender 5 I have owned has turned out good once I tweaked the pickups. It must be the Fender factory specs just don't do justice for the low B. (And I also owned a 35" MTD, so I dig the good low B). Try adjusting the pickup on the low B side before you write it off. I have had basses where it was too low (new AmStd P5) and also too high (AmStd Jazz 5 1999). With adjustments to both the B evened out with the other strings. I also own a Roscoe Beck 5 where the B sounds just like the other strings (great!).
     
  9. miketallica315

    miketallica315

    Aug 16, 2009
    Toledo, OH
    Thanks guys. I think that a big part of my problem is that Guitar Center doesn't know how to take care of their guitars. This bass sat up high on a shelf since 2006. When it was shipped to me it still had all of the dust on it. I wanted to get one of the new 2010 models but my wife said no and maid me get this one. It is a great bass. I love the tone. We just need to get to know each other as corny as it sounds. I raised the pick up just a touch and that made all the difference the front pickup dosn't adjust though? I can't wait to get her up and running.
     
  10. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    I had an American Deluxe V for about a year. I had great success with D'Addario ProSteels with a .135 B string. I also agree with the pickup height discussion. Once I raised mine, the B string was thunder!
     
  11. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I like the Circle K .136 B set on my Fender P5. The balanced set is great. However, the traditional set with the .136 is what I am using now. The B string is tapered on both sets. However, the E is also tapered on the balanced set.

    There is some good discussion about the new DR DDT strings on 34" 5ers too.

    Don't let the haters get you down until you have had a chance to wring out your setup. Get a good thick B string (.130 minimum) and play a bit with the saddle and pickup heights. Everyone hits that big fat B a bit different and you need to tweak the setup for your touch.
     
  12. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Yep, had to do the same with my MIM 5 string Jazz Bass. On both pickups the treble side was way up while the bass end was way down. I evened the pickups out and it sounds pretty good. I also liked the 8250-5M strings that came with the bass so I continue to use those as well. (I really like the tapered .135 B and .110 E). I tried a set of DR's with a thinner B and E and didn't care for them. Felt really floppy.

    But I would like to try out some 35" scale 5 stringers.
     
  13. TwinBass

    TwinBass

    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    I play a EBMM Stingray5, which is a 34" scale, and I swear by taper core strings. I use Ken Smith strings (.044 - .128), and I get a fantastic tone and feel. My low B is crisp, rich, and not even a little bit farty.

    I highlighted this quote because I truly love the diversity of opinion here at TB.

    The only advice I can offer is to keep an open mind and try everything until you get what you're looking for. I had been playing d'Addario and EB sets and not finding "it." I happened to spot a ratty looking old package of KS strings at a mom & pop guitar shop. I hadn't ever seen them before and I didn't even realize they were tapers until I opened them up, but as soon as I put them on (and did a minor action adjustment) I knew I was hooked.

    That said, I don't really dig KS strings on my 4's and I've never tried them on my 6. Hopefully one day I'l find the perfect strings for those basses.

    Just my $0.02
     
  14. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    The best B IME on a 34" scale is the La Bella HRS or Slapper. Which can also be found in the Pedullas and Carvins. I would try a set of Hard Rockin Steels before giving up. Go bridge termination. You also need to make sure you have a good setup. Having a reasonable amount of relief and raising the B string a bit (and the taper on the HRS will require even more height) helps out a lot. Check out the setup section for some good advice if you are not famaliar with setups.
     
  15. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I prefer un-tapered Bs on 5s. To improve B-string tension I would A: lower the string tree if it's adjustable or shim the string down a little if it's not. B: Move the saddle back as far as I could while still retaining reasonable intonation - moving the saddle back increases the break angle of the string and gives the string a stiffer feel. C: Lower the pickup a little. I know, it goes against everything everyone said, but getting the magnets away from the string a little will make the B sound less muddy and then you can get it back by turning the lows up a little on your amp. I don't like the sound of strings that are getting pulled by the magnetic field of the p'ups.

    That's my formula, but there's no "right" answer. Mostly, trial and error will get you a combination that feels right to you.
     
  16. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I LOVE my new set of DR DDT's (the lightest gauge, 45-125). Best B I've ever heard, hands-down. As a bonus, the tone is more even and usable all over the neck, from the 20th fret on the B to the open G string.

    I'm turning into a bit of an evangelist for these strings, but they really are amazing.
     
  17. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I bet I'd be a better habit.

    ;)

    Nothing like a .136 for B
     
  18. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    My experience in the past has been that thick B strings bring out the overly fat, tubby character that really differentiates the tone of the B from the E, and I really want the B to sound like a lower extension of the E string.

    That said, I have already ordered a balanced set of Circle K's with the .136 B. I will report back when they arrive. :bassist:
     
  19. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I'm with smeet on two counts -- loving the DDTs and I also have never liked 130 and 135 Bs ... they feel tight but sound too boomy. I want a B string that sounds like my E only lower, so far the best I've found for that are the DDT set and the LaBella 128 variants.
     
  20. Kromwarp

    Kromwarp

    Sep 16, 2008
    Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Master Luthier: Ironclad Bass Guitars
    I'd go with the Hard Rockin Steels
     

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