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Advice for newbie - dead E & A strings on UB

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by JeffS., Sep 3, 2005.

  1. JeffS.


    Sep 2, 2005
    Hi - I'm new to TB and hope you folks can offer some help/advice. I have been playing bass guitar for many years and have wanted to play UB so I just bought a Chinese Prima 80 3/4 size (I know ... we can discuss the wisdom of this later, if you want).

    The bass is nice for the price, but has dead-sounding E & A strings. The company I dealt with was great - in fact, they took the first one back and sent me another one within 4 days. It also has the same problem. The strings are cheapo, from-the-factory brand, so that may explain it, but the D sounds good and the G sounds great. Maybe because of proximity to soundpost? The soundpost was installed when the bass arrived and is about where it should be and I set-up the bridge as directed. I have been tweaking the bridge up and back and side-to-side to see if it changes the sound but it remains about the same.

    So - any suggestions (besides turning the Prima into kindling)? I will buy some new strings and try those (I play mostly jazz and the bass will probably never leave our house, so any string suggestions are appreciated).

    Also - if one sound post at the G spot is good, is there a reason why there isn't a second one under the E? It would certainly add more structural integrity to the top; however, I do not know much about the physics of sound movement through the body of an upright, so perhaps two posts would be worse than one (duelling soundposts ...?).

    Anyhow - thanks for your help and it is great to have this forum available.

  2. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Hi-- and welcome to TB. First, please fill out your profile.

    Now to the matter at hand. The sound post is "about where it should be" and you are "tweaking" the bridge? ARGHHH!

    If you visit the newbie links and read the threads here, you will find that the advice given over and over, and it is good advice, is that part of buying a bass means having a qualified luthier perform a proper set-up. Another sage bit of advice is "Never buy a double bass from a guitar shop." Sorry, it seems you missed on both counts.

    This is not what you want to hear. If they took back the other one, then try to have them take back the one you have now. Take your refund and buy a real bass with the help from folks here.

    If you must keep what you purchased, then stop fiddling and have it properly set up and buy a good set of strings.

    Finally, two sound posts would not be better than one! That's lunacy. You are speculating about the physical and acoustical principles of such instruments without any knowledge. It's sort of like wondering if it would make sense to install another steering wheel in your car because the one you have does such a good job two ought to be better.
  3. Durb is ruthless but right. A bass, like all of the violin family is not symnetrical inside and whilst there is a sinlge soundpost on the g side there is a reninforcing strut from top to bottom under the e side called the bass bar - its even the same on a strad violin - and they cost millions so there you go. There is only one place for a bringe to go and it needs someone who knows what they are doing to get it right. The nicks on the inside of the f holes are suposed to help lining things up but you can't guarantee they are right.

    I've had a cheap instrument set up by a top guy with new soundpost and bridge and everything put just as it should be. It wasn't cheap. It was a revelation when I got it back. It really does pay - although some luthiers can turn there noses up at these things a good one won't. Keeping it as it is will leave you just frustrated and with a adifficult to play instrument. IMHO yhat is NOT what you need when yo are learning. Good luck!
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Sorry, I didn't mean to be ruthless. I just had this image of the bridge being shifted around and things never being right and the improper setup discouraging the poor guy.
  5. Hey... I've recently purchased one of these basses. I know that many people on here frown upon this, but I was looking for an entry level bass left-handed. This is just about the only one I've seen that is somewhat affordable.

    I do have a question for you guys, though. It hasn't arrived yet, but when it does... the bridge is supposed to come down in order to not get damaged in shipping. Will the soundpost be affected by this at all? I don't know much about DB's, so any help without flaming would be appreciated. (I'm not sure how nice this forum isn't -- I haven't been here for that long.)

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
  6. Why was this thread moved? It was in the Basses forum for months until I bumped it with my post.

    Anyways, can anyone help? Maybe I'll have to make a separate thread for this....
  7. paulodumb


    Jan 16, 2006
    ypsilanti, mi
    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but if you're asking if it will be playable without taking to a luthier first, the answer should be yes. If you're anything like me, a "cheap" upright is still a massive investment, so I got my bass a couple weeks ago and I'm planning on having a real setup when I save up some more cash. The bass was shipped with the bridge down but the soundpost set, and I've been having a blast with the bass. Honestly, it's the first bass I've played, and I couldn't tell you how it compares to other basses in terms of playability and sound, but I'm completely in love with the thing.
  8. I was wondering if the soundpost could fall during shipping... I'm not exactly sure how it all works, but if the bridge is down, there's probably going to be less tension on the top, making it more likely the soundpost would fall... right?

    If so, how would one go about putting it back up?
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    How do you know it's "nice" - what makes you say that?

    What have you compared it with....:meh: