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D string always sounds flat

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by RayMan34, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. RayMan34


    Jan 3, 2014
    Hi Guys

    I was tuning my bass last night and I noticed that no matter what I did with the D string it always sound a little flat. The tuner reported that it was infact D but as the note died out there was a bit of a warble as it degraded, almost as if it was going out of tune. The other strings seem to decay perfectly but D seemed to sound odd.

    Does anyone know what this might be? Strings are fairly new, they came with the bass which is three months old. It's a SBMM Ray34.
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    The tuner will tell you if its going flat. Cause could be not enough windings on the machine heads,core separation,or a number of other things. Confirm that it is actually going flat first.
  3. RayMan34


    Jan 3, 2014
    Yeah as the note is sustained, the tune reports it falls flat.
  4. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I'll add witness points to that list.
  5. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Have you had and played this bass for 3 months and only now noticed this? Could very probably be a string at the end of its life span.
  6. wild4oldcars


    Jan 22, 2012
    Garner, NC
    Very probable. I know as a new player, I spent a ton of time playing my bass, which will consume the life of your strings. Strings know not days or weeks, but hours of play time.
  7. mrmills


    Jun 22, 2009
    Kent, UK
    When you pluck a string (with a pick/fingers, etc) you will stretch it a little bit. this stretch will make the pitch a little sharp, which will go flat as the string rings.

    The amount it goes sharp does depend on how hard you play but should not be excessive. If it is, I would say the string is getting old.
  8. RayMan34


    Jan 3, 2014
    Ah ok. It could be the strings then, I have played a lot since I had the bass.

    Whats the typical life span for strings then?
  9. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    No such thing a typical. Round wound strings tend to get replaced more frequently than flat wound strings. Some folks sweat a lot and that can contribute greatly to shortening the life span of strings.
  10. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Depends on brand, type, and player (some people have sweat that is harder on the strings than other people). Also consider that factory strings usually aren't exactly new (people use it to demo, or have been installed for a long time and suffered a bit from weather, or both). Replace the strings with a fresh set and see if that fixes your D string.
  11. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I would guess strings first.
  12. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    It doesn't happen often but I've had bad strings straight out of the package.

    Also try not to twist the string when installing it.
  13. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    Sounds like loose winding on the string.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yep and yep; when one string acts weird and sounds out of tune no matter what you do, it's usually the string itself that's bad.
  15. Sorken


    Nov 20, 2013
    To give you some prespective.

    I replace my strings at 2-3 month intervalls, and have the bass setup 2 times a year, one time in the summer and one in the winter. But i only spend a around 6-9 hours a week practicing with my band and and maybe another 4-5 hours practicing at home.

    At 3 months the strings are usually in pretty bad shape. 2 months they are still "okay" to my ears.
  16. GretschBassist


    Nov 11, 2012
    Overtone tuning.