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B string on 5 string bass not as loud as other strings

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by klk999, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. klk999


    Apr 6, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Hi, I got my first 5 string after playing 4 strings off and on for 20 years or so. It is a new to me Alvarez AEB5 electric that's got passive electronics. When I first got it I realized right away that the strings were dead and needed changing, and it needed a setup badly. The second thing I noticed was that the B string was not nearly as loud as the other four, most noticeable when played open, but still muted farther up the neck. I figured it was just the strings.

    So I got some new strings and installed them over the weekend. Imagine my surprise when I plugged it in and hear the B string is still quiet compared to the other strings. I tried raising the bass side of one of the pickups, but it did not do much.

    So what can I do? Does anyone have any insight? It is not much fun to play it right now.

    I tried searching but i did not get any thing useful. Thanks in advance
  2. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    This will only affect the open B string's tone/volume but...how steep is the angle of the low B string between the nut and the tuner? If the angle isn't very steep (i.e. the string passes through the nut to the tuner in almost a straight line when viewed from the side), consider putting 2-3 wraps of the B string on the tuner. Start wrapping at the top of the tuner and end at the bottom so that the wraps hold the string lower, creating a steeper angle. Sometimes vibrations are lost to the nut if the string is not held firmly in the slot, reducing volume, sustain and muddy-ing tone. Also check the angle of the B string as it comes off of the saddle towards the back of the bridge. If that angle is shallow it could be causing the string to lose vibrations in any position, not just open.

    Also, how close to the edge of the pickup is the B string? If you have a side-adjustable bridge you might try moving the B string in towards the center a little bit.

    Nothing beats taking the instrument to an accomplished tech or luthier as well. So many factors can influence the volume and tone of a B string that it is hard to diagnose without seeing the bass in person.

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