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Could softer nut material reduce string crosstalk?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jbay, May 3, 2010.

  1. jbay


    May 23, 2002
    I recently acquired a semi hollow fretless bass, and I'm facing a issue with. Not sure if my guess is right, but due to the semi hollow nature of the instrument, the unplayed/unmuted open strings start to resonant, particularly when the volume gets higher. It's starting to prove quite annoying.

    Especially since its a 6 strings, I'm having to really go out of my way to thoroughly mute every unplayed string. I've been playing 6 strings for close to 10yrs, and non of my other basses have this issue.

    The bass has a brass nut, and I'm wondering if cutting a new nut with a softer material, like bone for e.g. would help ease down on the cross talk.
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Brass is not all that hard, actually. It's just dense.
    You may find that you prefer the tone of a bone nut, but I doubt it will affect your crosstalk issues.

    Semi-hollow and fully hollow basses' tops can vibrate pretty easily, which is why feedback can be a problem with them. That would hold true with vibrations from the other strings as well.

    My guess is you'll just have to re-think how you handle your left hand muting. Different bass, different quirks.
  3. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    I doubt that very much. It's the nature of a semihollow instrument; it's a feedback machine.

    You'd do better by stuffing it with foam, or possibly having a couple of soundposts installed.
  4. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
  5. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009

    Muting unplayed strings on bass an essential basic technique.

    Forget the nut or scruchie thing, learn to mute properly.

    Again, this is not an attack on you or your technique, just IMO.
  6. jbay


    May 23, 2002
    Thanks for the info.

    Its not so much that I don't mute my strings, cos I do. I guess I'm just not used to how sensitive they are to ringing out on this bass. Especially problematic when I'm doing open string harmonics.
  7. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I agree 100% that muting is an absolutely essential technique. I constantly mute, with both hands, to varying degrees, depending on what's going on.

    On some basses, however, muting isn't enough. Putting a scunci over your strings at the nut can help a LOT, plus it can help an open string to sound a little closer to a fretted string. I only use it on one of my basses (an Ibanez BTB), because I don't need it on any of the others. That bass is just difficult to tame down, resonance-wise.

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