cross string balance with standard sets

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by millard, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    I've found with some string sets/gauges that playing across the fretboard results in different volume levels. I've recorded and played repeatedly, trying to be as careful as possible to play with the same pressure, but it doesn't change things much. I've checked the pickup height to make sure that it is similarly placed (and it can't vary much between two adjacent strings anyway).

    Anyone else experience this? Playing from your E string to your A string (or any other adjacent pair) you either get a jump or drop in volume so that you have to play harder or softer to keep the level the same?

    I have played around with different string gauges with some success (e.g., I swapped an A .085 for a .080 and the volume on the A string came more in line with the E string). Anyone do anything else or do it differently to address this?

  2. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    2 THings can be happening.

    Either you have an incredibly sensible ear and notice even the slightest difference. Or there is a problem with your pickups.

    I believe it could be the second. Good string balance is expected on most packaged strings.

    You could try tapping the pickups with some piece of metal to see if there are hotspots where the tap sounds louder.

    You have sensed this with various basses? Or just yours?

    For the quick fix : Use a compressor.
  3. I noticed this while doing high quality digital recordings with Sonar.

    My first thought is to do a setup on the bass. Get the string height correct, then adjust the pickups to provide a uniform signal for the installed set of strings.

    I have a concept in mind for a plucking device. The tool would be rubber band loaded, etc, and generate a consistent pluck to a string. The tech can then set up the pickup heights to get close to uniform output. The tool would eliminate the variable human touch in the plucking.

    P basses are the most adjustable, as each of the 4 poles can be distance controlled. J, MM and soaps are less adjustable on a per-string basis.
  4. slugworth

    slugworth Inactive

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Could be those short scale basses you're playing. You're dealing with a lot less string tension so the string guages have a lot more effect on your tone.

  5. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    I found similar issues with a Fender Precision "Sting" model (the only full size I had handy). It's E string was way louder than any of the others. I did not check it's pickup height, though, so that could have been part of it. But the difference was huge, so I doubt that was all of it.

    Long live the Compulator!