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Calling all B String users!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by deathbloomslife, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. I'm considering a 6 string bass in my future now, and the one I have in mind is the Ibanez SDGR 506 model. However, the main drawback to this bass (based on various tidbits of "knowledge" I've collected over the past year or so) is that it is only a 34" scale bass. I've heard that alot of B's on a 34" can be very "floppy" and sometimes even worthless to a player.

    Can any of you B string players give me an insight to what you think concerning the matter?

  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I play only 34" scale basses.... from cheap $300 import to $3000 custom. No flop here.

    Sadowsky only makes 34" to the best of my knowledge.... ever thump a Sadowsky B?
    One of the best production bass B strings is the Stingray 5.... also a 34" scale.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Depends more on the construction of the bass that the scale length itself. If a 34" bass has a floppy, bad sounding B, making the same bass a 35" wouldn't make it much better.

    There are plenty of great sounding 34" Bs and plenty of bad sounding 35" Bs. Only way to know for sure is by playing the bass. If you do get a bass with a floppy B, using a higher gauge string and raising the action a little will aid in its tautness. I have a 36" bass, and I keep the action on the B very low- but when the action is just a little bit higher, the solidity and clarity of it is amazing.
  4. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    technically, as the gauge of a string increases, the scale length should really increase also. however, it seems to really come down to the instrument as far as a B string on a 34" scale bass goes.
    i had a fender 5 string (34") where no matter what I did, the B string stunk.
    the B on my spector ns5 (35") sounds really good.
    the Bs on my Geckos (warmoth parts) sound great.
    sadowskys, on the other hand, use 34" scale and everyone raves about the B. I haven't played a Sadowsky 5 to comment.
    I'm willing to bet that the B and the E on a fanned fret bass of over 35" is just killer without too much tension on the D and G strings.
    sorry for the tangent, but I hope it helps.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Play as many basses as you can. Although some basses clearly have floppy B strings, most fives and sixes I have owned has usable B strings. Most of my fives have had 34" scales and both of my sixes, a Yamaha TRB6 and Ken Smith bolt-on 6 were 34" scale basses with great Bs. My experience with 35" scale basses like Roscoe, Lakland, Modulus and Peavey has been positive. 35" inch basses have B string that definitely is more piano like that 34" Bs. The down side is that some 35" inchers have a fairly dead slap sound IMO. Get out there and try out the bass you want, if you can find one to play. :bassist:
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I have 5 basses with a B string.

    The best is my Peavey Cirrus 6. 35" scale, neck through. But I don't like what the 35" scale does to the G and C string. Too thin sounding.

    Second comes my Nordstrand SC5. 34.5" scale. The B is right up there with the Cirrus, just a tad less tight, but every bit as large sounding.

    Third comes my Zon Sonus Custom. 34" scale. The B is great, but not quite in the same league as the first two.

    Fourth comes my Lakland Skyline D55-01. 35" scale. Very good B, but the 34" Zon and 34.5" Nordstrand are superior.

    Fifth comes my Ibanez SR 506. 34" scale. With the right strings, the B on this bass holds its own with my other basses. I have found that this bass loves Dean Markley SR2000s. With them, the B is on par with the Lakland, and just behind the Zon.

    Scale length does lend itself to a tighter B, but tighter isn't necessarily better. Construction, a good setup, and the right strings matter more than scale length IME.

    I have played some tight 35" scale B strings that didn't have much articulation, and were too boomy. I have also played some 34" B strings that were very balanced, and had a lot of growl, as well as articulation.
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Best B string I've ever heard is on the Modulus Quantum 5. But IMO this is because of the graphite neck and not the 35" scale.

    My current basses are a Sadowsky and a Fender, both 34" scale. Both sound fantastic, even when detuned a half step (one of my bands drops a half-step), and that includes the B strings. Both have graphite-reinforced necks... maybe that's a factor.

    I've owned 35" scale fivers: Modulus, Lull, MTD. They sounded great, played great... I'm just trying different basses now that I'm playing 5-string. I wasn't unhappy with those basses (to the contrary)... point is, I didn't think they sounded better than the 34" basses I currently own.
  8. Whew! That's great to hear! Especially this:
    That really makes me eager to add the 506 to my arsenal.

    I'll most likely be buying from Sam Ash, as they have the lowest price advertised than anyone else around (local shops are 100+ over SA's price!) So that means I'll hopefully also be trying out a BTB6 and a Tune TWB63.

  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Just buy stiff strings.
  10. Is the Ibanez SR that good? Its sooo much cheaper than the other basses that you have mentioned in where I live.

    Overall, is it better than the Lakland 55-01 NTMB? If it is about the same :bawl:

    Just ordered one sight unseen....
  11. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Like everyone here has said, it really depends on the bass. I have a 35" FBB and a 34" Conklin and both B's are very, very good. Prior to these basses, I used an 34" SRX505 that was pretty good, a 34" '92 Fender MIA that was brutally bad and a 35" Brice 6 string neck through that was excellent. My practical experience has been that the scale doesn't matter when discussing B's ............
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    My personal opinion based on no luthiery experience and owning a few B equipped basses is that B string "floppiness" is caused by the following.

    60% player's technique
    25% setup
    10% strings
    5% construction of the bass

    Playing a bunch of basses tells you little unless you're willing to do a setup on each one of them. Guitar store setups are notoriosly variable, you can't learn much about a bass by playing it in a showroom. Even playing a great bass with a great setup for a particular player's style may not do you any good. When I tried my Brice 6 fretless at Rondo the action was like a half an inch at the 12th fret. (I'm sure that's why the price was under $180) If I had based my judgement on that I would never have bought it. However, I bought it, took it home, changed strings, and did a complete setup, and it's fantastic, including the "B" string.

    But hey that's just my opinion, take it as you will. I've never had problems with floppy B strings on any basses I've owned witha B string, cheap or mid-priced (I never have and never will own an expensive instrument - no interest at all whatsoever).
    I'm curious, why do you blame the scale length on the thin sounding "G" and "C" strings? Have you played a 34" Cirrus without the problem? Perhaps this is just a characteristic of that particular Cirrus, or of the whole line. My Dean Edge 5 fretless had a 35" scale and the "G" string was wonderful on that bass. Contact Peavey, maybe they have some tips for you. A weak "G" was always my big complaint with my Dyna-Bass 5, and the "G" on my Palaedium is nothing to write home about either. It's not Peavey's strong point, despite them making otherwise fantastically wonderful basses.

    I've played Fuzzbass' well set up Roscoe Beck 5 string, and he's played my Jazz V. Despite the fact that these basses have wildly differing "reputations" for B string usefullness, I found the B strings to be almost idenitcal feeling. (though I think I like my action a tiny bit higher than Fuzz does) Fuzz, what did you think?
  13. When u say depends on bass, do you mean that it is unique to each bass or each model.
    Is Lakland good. Lots of good review...
  14. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I have no experience with Lakland ......

    My experience tells me that it's an individual bass issue, not so much model/brand driven. I think Phil makes an excellent point
    although IMHO the percentages are too heavily weighed on the players technique and too light on the bass. The point is, Phil is 100% correct by indicating that a series of factors make up the B string playability issue ....... :cool:
  15. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    It's been said before, but if the bass is well-made, the scale length won't matter. The two deepest, punchiest B strings I've ever heard came from Fuzzbass's 34" Sadowsky and a friend's 35" Lakland 55-01. I'd put both of them over my 35" Cirrus.
  16. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    To my surprise, my 34 scale Warwick Hotrod LTD 2005 B string is as good as my 35 scale Roscoe LG3005.

    Like a lot of people have said, construction quality may be the point for a good B.
    That particular Warwick is not mass produced, I think it is from the custom shop (only 100 pieces are made). Also it is made of ash and maple with a maple fingerboard.

    My second Warwick (streamer jazzman 5) b string is not as good.

    Shiveringbass, bassist for Shivering
  17. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    My F-Bass "B" kicks some serious butt on a 34.5" scale. My Valenti "B" is killer too on 34".
  18. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I've got a Stingray 5 (34" scale, of course) that has a great B string. I like to use a 130 on it (GHS Boomers; the rest of the set: 45, 65, 85, 105).
    As someone else said, your technique has a LOT to do with it. Practicing a lot with any instrument will show you how it likes to be touched to make it sing. (Insert your own "analogy to women" thought here!) :eek:
  19. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    The only problem I have with my B is not at all to do with tension. I haven't played enough 35" scale B's to form that kind of opinion. My problem is that the Bartolini electronics just muddy it up when I venture that low.

    I currently use a .135 gauge Daddario nickel set. I'm used to the B on a 34" scale, so it's just a matter of opinion.
  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    The low B on my F Bass BN6, which is 34.5", slightly edges out the B on my Modulus Quantum 6, which is 35". I would like to set each of them up with the same strings and see what happens, however.

    Right now I have Elixirs on the F and DR's on the Modulus.