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Bass Sounding Worse Over Time

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by chaosMK, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I am currently using an Ibanez SR-885 bass. This was an excellent bass when I first got it. I found it superior in tone to all of the basses in that price range, and even a few which were considerably more expensive. Over the years that I've used it, it's had a few minor accidents and neck adjustments.

    I recently adjusted the truss rod, saddles, intonation and got it playing pretty comfortably again. I changed the strings yesterday and started working on some recording. By the end of the night, I realized it wasnt sounding so great.

    It seems like no matter what I do, it has a kind of dull/dead/ugly wood sound to it. This bass used to have an awesome tone to me (especially through an all tube amp and Mesa speakers).

    Does anyone know what this problem might be?
  2. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    How did the bass sound immediately after the string change? Have you swapped out the battery?

  3. pulseczar


    May 7, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    You said you played through a tube amp. Maybe check your tubes also?
  4. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    bum strings: variable A
    tubes: variable B
    dead active: variable C
    add other variables here

    only change and elimnate one variable at a time.
    then you can narrow it down to a single factor, if you swap all 3 simutaneously you wont know what the hell the problem was!
  5. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Strings are new (and have been changed frequently, since I thought they were going dead).
    Battery should be solid, maybe a month old and I never leave the bass plugged in over night, etc.
    Tubes are a few months old and sound amazing with other instruments.

    "Dead active" - this means I should inspect the pickups/electronics?
  6. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    The strings sounded better than the last set (which was about a week used, with a lot of playing on them) and had more tone to control. I think that string swap a few months ago would have resulted in more of a brilliant steel string tone.
  7. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    How funny. I too bought an 885 when the came out and I loved mine to death, but like you aout 2 years ago it started sounding worse and worse to my ears. I don't know if you're in the same boat i am, but I discovered the bass hadn't gotten worse, everything was just better. My taste in sound had evolved and the Ibanez just wasn't cutting it. No matter what I did to mine it alwasys sounded the same... dull, over processed and just... well... bad to my ears. I went from it to an OLP when they first arrived on the scene.

    Basically, my suggestion is to try other basses and see if you find something you like, or something that sounds like what you want a bass to sound like
  8. RoVaughn


    Oct 8, 2005
    That happened to me with as SRX 705. then one day is went out of tune while I was playing at church and that was it. It had to go.
  9. maybe you are just getting used to the sound...when you first got it, the bass probably sounded immaculate because it was new, and now that its older, the new bass feeling is wearing out...that would be my guess
  10. lowb1970


    Feb 29, 2004
    Columbia SC
    I would have to agree that your ears are finally adjusting to what the industry is putting out now. Better products for the most part at cheaper prices. I would explore the possibility of a new bass. Make sure you get a chance to play it before you buy it.
    Good luck in your search.

  11. Looking at the gear in your sig, it looks like the weak link is the bass. Great rig, decent bass. Save you rpennies and get somehting nice.
  12. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    You sold a bass because it went out of tune?
  13. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    I once ditch a car because it ran out of gas.:D
  14. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You guys are probably right. I've been testing the waters and doing some research on new basses.

    When I get off work, Ill take a look at the pickups. It's possible that sweat or drops of liquid got in the pickups and maybe crudded them up or caused corrosion... that's the last thing i can think of, aside from my ears getting more refined.
  15. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    It could be that only your perception of the sound has changed. Maybe the recording session forced you to open your ears more than you had before.

    After initially being impressed by the positive aspects of an instrument's tone, we eventually become more aware of an instruments deficiencies. It happens more quickly with inexpensive basses, but the same thing happens with boutique basses.

  16. RoVaughn


    Oct 8, 2005
    Thats funny......it wasnt just because it went out of tune once but a bass shouldnt just go out of tune while your playing. It was a combination of tone not sounding good and and the out of tune thing happening too much. If you just filled the tank on a year old car and drove 5 mins and was out of gas would you keep that car?
  17. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Well re tuning a bass is easier and less expensive (free) than gas, But i see your point. New tuners would always work, but some people dont like modifying a bass.
  18. especially one they hate the sound of..
  19. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    "you've lost that loving feeling, that loving feeling"
    everybody sing now
  20. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    Exactly. Honeymoon's over.