A string not coming through very well

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Lecollectif, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Lecollectif


    Mar 2, 2004
    So, I've noticed a small problem with my bass. My A string doesn't seem to have a very strong signal. It also makes sort of a buzzing/rattling sound, too. Though, I only notice that sound when not plugged in.

    Furthermore, when I hit any note on my E string, it's annoyingly loud, at least compared with the rest of the strings. Though, most noticeable when played right after something on my A string.

    What could this be? I was thinking about adjusting my pickup height, but would rather not if I don't have to. Could it be a problem with the pickups themselves?

    Let's hear what you think.

    Oh, and the bass is a MIM P Bass, if that makes a difference.

  2. Lecollectif,

    It could be anything from the strings, how new/old they are, how the action is set up. Is the A string action higher than the E?
    Most likely you do need to adjust your pickup height. The P bass has those split p-ups, right?
    Basically one p-up covers the E and A string, and the other covers the D and G strings. These are fairly easy to adjust.
    Look at the p-up that covers the E and A. Is it closer to the E than the A? Is it even for both?
    What you would do is lower it a bit at the E, then raise it a bit at the A. Try that for starters.
    Just take a good look at its current position should you decide you want to put it back where it originally was.

    Like I mentioned above, it could be a dead A string, the string could be fretting out just a bit, killing the vibration and output. The neck might not have enough relief (but this usually affects ALL the strings but not always so), the height of that A string might be just a touch too low, causing it to fret out without really being noticeable.

    I'd adjust the pickups first.

  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If the A string is rattling, the most likely problem is that the string is not seated firmly in the nut slot.

    This is a common problem on Fender style basses. For now, you can out a shim under the string using a piece of card stock or aluminum foil.

    In the future, you need to wind the string from the top of the tuning post downward, so that the pressure will cause the string to break over the nut at a better angle. Or, you could install a string tree for the A string.

    Hope this helps!
  4. Lecollectif


    Mar 2, 2004
    Great, thanks for the help guys.

    Is it unwise to restring it with the same string? And what's a tree string?
  5. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    string tree = string retainer. it's the round thing on the head of your that holds down the D and G strings. you can add a tree between the D and A strings to hold down the A - can work wonders, was a somewhat common mod to 70s fenders.

    mim's can have 'un-evenness' to the necks/frets, and you may have to adjust the A string height at the bridge or add a bit of relief to accommodate a buzzing/rattling A string. if it only rattles on the open string, the nut slot is cut too deep.

    the 'boomy' E string/weak A string is almost certainly not a problem with the pickup. the advice on finding the right height for the bass half of the p/u is good (you sounded reluctant but it's an easy adjustment, all you need is a screwdriver and your ears), with the split pickup you can angle the pickup halves to get the "sweet spot" distance for each of the strings. each half should be angled a bit to allow for the curvature of the fretboard. but this may only get you so far, a more likely culprit is your eq settings - try less bass (<100Hz), perhaps a little more low mids. and realize that the same note played on different strings will sound different (say a B on the A string nd fret vs. 7th fret of the E string). try to get a nice, even response as you move from string to string.