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B string came back from setup with reduced sustain?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by wrench45us, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I originally posted this in strings as I thought it was a string issue.

    I had my bass into a well-respected bass tech for fall setup and restring from GHS Boomers to Status Graphite half-wounds. Prior to the setup, this bass was tonally/sustainally consistent across all strings.

    The B string came back with reduced sustain -- sounded like a year old flat. I assumed it was a bad string. I replaced that B string -- same result. I put on a set of Ken Smith Slick Rounds. Nice sustain on all upper four, definite lack of sustain on the B string.

    I have to take this back to the bass tech.
    All these new B strings are .130.
    I don't know if the original GHS Boomers were the Light medium .126(.128?) or the medium .130.
    What could be causing this?
    Could it be a seating issue?
    I want to understand what's going on and I need to get this corrected. I assume something changed as it wasn't a problem before. Help please.
  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    It sounds to me like the strings more than the setup. If the same tech installs and sets up GHS Boomers and they still sound deader/reduced sustain, then I think you can ascribe the difference to the setup, otherwise, it sounds like the strings themselves could account for the difference...
  3. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    and that wouldn't be unusual for 3 sets of strings to all have the same 'off' response in one string?

    I will be picking up a set of boomers this week and see if the original behavior is restored.

    Some strings just don't match up with some basses...?
  4. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    Raise the action a little bit, and check if it changed sustain.
    Sometimes even slight rattle against the frets can have big impact on sustain.
    Also, how is the angle of the string over the bridge? If the angle is too big, it could affect sus.
  5. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    Did he file the nut?
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Bad String???
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Is it only on the open note, or does it do it on fretted notes as well?
  8. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    This is a very important question.
    I presumed in my advice that you have problem everywhere on the neck.
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Put another way, many basses will behave differently with some strings.
  10. Make sure the pup height isn't interfering with string movement.

    My guess is the string is getting a twist sometime during installation. That'll flatten it out toot sweet.
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Did you press on the string to establish a witness point?
  12. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    This last set of Ken Smith strings seems to be improving day by day.

    It seems much better sustain on open string comparable to other strings, but that originally was not good. Up the fretboard has improved, but still not comparable to other strings. Seems at its worse on sections like chromtic run on that string -- thump, thump thump. A single note played in that same area of the fretboard 5-8 is sounding better with initial thump but then sustain

    I did my best not to introduce any twist when I put these strings on -- laid it out flat and introduced it to the tuning peg flat.
    I'm not seeing or hearing any interference with pickup or other fret, but the bridge adjustment on the B string is lower than on the E string -- which seems off. I may try raising that a bit and seeing what that does this evening. I wonder now if the initial thump I hear is some sort of interference and not just the string's character. I did look for this from different angles yesterday and didn't see the vibrating string bumping anywhere, but not exactly the easiest thing to see.

    The nut wasn't filed.

    I have pressed the string by the bridge and nut to get a good seating.
    And backed off the tension and retuned it a few times.

    Is any of this common for a string 'break in' period.
    I don't recall this previously, but sustain on that string does seem to be getting better.
  13. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Helping create a good witness point is done by pressing on both sides of the saddle contact point or nut contact point thereby helping the string make an angle across it instead of a curve- but that's what you prob'ly did.
  14. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I checked it over last night. The string spacing adjuster was loose on the B string -- loose enough to easily slide back and forth within its range. The E string spacing adjustement was also loose, but not as loose. The other strings were tightened down, so I tightened these down.
    Looks like somebody got interruoted and forgot where they left off.

    At the 17th fret all string heights are just a smidge under 3/32. I raised the B string bridge just a bit to match that height.

    I'm not sure that was enough to account for everything, but it seemed to help. I'll give it a few days.

    Thanks for all the suggestions/advice.

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