A minor tonal annoyance.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by HarryWS, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    Hello guys, I'm having a slight issue with my E-string.
    Whenever I seem to play an open E, there is a slight low pitched metallic tone that can be heard. It doesn't come up through the amp (At least, I don't think it does, my amp is very poor) but when practising with the volume down, it makes enough noise to distract me. Is this an issue with the string or perhaps the bridge? And is it an issue that can easily be fixed? If not, I'll just have to whack up the volume to mask it.
  2. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Could be a loose truss rod. Have someone listen to see if it is coming through your amp or just on your body as you describe.

    Myself, I sometimes get a bothersome harmonic resonance (ringing) on my E, around 660Hz with round wound strings. I knock it out with a parametric.
  3. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    Thanks, I tried adjusting the truss rod as well as adjusting the saddles but that didn't seem to work either. At Christmas I'm going to take it to a music shop to get it re-strung and set up properly.
    Thanks for the help :)
  4. IronLung1986

    IronLung1986 Supporting Member

    May 19, 2010
    Exeter, NH
    Hmm I vaguely remember having an issue like that a looong time ago on my first bass. There was a buzz coming from one of the bridge saddles, and I was such a n00b at the time that my way of fixing it was to shove a paper match between the string and saddle. Ridiculously stupid but it did stop the buzzing.
  5. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Did you install the string correctly? Set the witness point?
  6. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    It's my first bass, I got it just under a month ago so it still has the pre-fitted strings
  7. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    If it is a buzz or a mechanical vibration, then something is loose. If not, then i would first check to see if the portion of the E string above the nut is vibrating. Play an open E and mute that part of the string to see if it goes away. It could be as simple as re-installing the string properly.
  8. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    It's not a buzz, it's a dull metallic sound similar to that of a tuning fork. It seems to be suppressed or gone completely if I push down where the string rests on the saddle.
    I also have found out it doesn't come through an amp (the singer of the band I'm in has a good bass amp)
  9. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    I may have to try this! The sound, as was yours, appears to be coming from the saddle so this might just fix it. Hopefully when I get it restrung it will go away though :p Thanks for the suggestion!
  10. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    It sounds like a new set of strings and a set up are in order. Since this is your first bass, letting someone else do it for you would be fine, but ask if you can watch and learn how to do it yourself. It becomes a fun aspect of owning an instrument when you can do the basic maintenance yourself, and it is also important practical knowledge if you start playing gigs and/or practice with a band.

    I think what you are hearing is a "wolf" tone. One thing you can check is to see if the string is wrapped correctly over the tuning peg. It should wrapped down toward the headstock, so that there is plenty on tension on the string at the nut.

    Have fun with your new bass!
  11. SolarMan

    SolarMan Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    Marlborough, MA
    Yes - this

    But in the meantime, keep trying to figure out where the sound is coming from. I once had a slight "bzzz" sound on certian notes that drove me nuts. It turned out to be one of the springs on the saddle adjustment screw.
  12. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    Thanks! I think this is what I'm going to do come after Christmas (funds are short after buying the bass!) I might go for some flatwound strings but either way, new strings and a set up will have to happen shortly!
    Thanks to everyone for tips, advice and general help!
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, new strings. Some (most) inexpensive basses come with what are known as "shop strings," really crappy strings that are better than nothing but they suck. Even if it doesn't cure your problem, it's a good idea to replace those crap strings ASAP. And learn how to do setups yourself ASAP. It's easy.

  14. I know that you said this is a new bass with stock strings, but I had a similar sound on the A string of my 77 P and found out that the nut is cracked in the A slot. Worth a look.
  15. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    My nuts appear to be in order ;) I might see about replacing it to make sure because they're cheap as chips anyway!
    - Cheers
  16. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    I have this going on after switching to lighter gauge strings...in my case, the nut slots are too big and the strings are rattling around just a little bit in them, making an unpleasant metallic overtone on open notes. Perhaps it's something as simple as that?

    Good luck!
  17. HarryWS


    Dec 14, 2012
    Thanks for the info, my E-string can be lifted out of the nut with little to no resistance so this could be the source of the problem! I'll get a new nut when I get new strings. Thanks again for the help! :)
  18. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    Before you do that, you could always try a heavier string gauge...if that's the problem, that will fix it! Worth a try. Good luck!
  19. i had a problem with both my basses, one squier and one fender. when playing an open a, there was a terrible rattle sound, not through the amp, sounded like it was coming from all over. found that if i pressed on the a string between the nut and tuner, it went away. i put my fingernail in the nut on the edge of the a string, and the noise was gone. the slot for the a string was just a smidge too large. loosened a string, pulled to side and laid a single layer of electrical tape down in a string groove. replaced string and tuned...NOISE GONE!!!! cut away excess tape with razor blade. took a long time to find, but easily fixed. will have new nut cut and professionally installed if this does not hold up, but has been a few months and it has not returned.