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Dampening the "spring reverb" effect

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dyfsunctional, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. I play an inexpensive instrument, and one of my least favorite things about it is that, when playing arco, there's a bit too much "cross talk" between the strings and the bass—kind of like an old-fashioned spring reverb amp. For every note I play I can hear two more that I didn't, and when I stop playing, the bass is still making sounds.

    I was experimenting with different ways to address this, and I found that if i put a rolled-up scarf on top of the bridge, just touching the strings, I can pretty much eliminate it at the cost of some volume. Believe it or not, I actually like the sound, and it's a dream to hear music when I'm playing and silence when I'm not.

    This does raise some questions, though: Is there a more appropriate way of modifying the bass towards this end? Is this ultimately going to effect intonation (slightly shorter effective string length)? Finally, is this something a "real" bassist would concern himself with—in other words, maybe the bass is supposed to sound like this, and I should quit whining and practice more?
  2. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I'd guess that you have a string problem since damping them makes the bass sound better. What type of strings are they? Putting bright boingy strings on an inexpensive bass never sounds good, IME. Find an expert player to render an opinion, and, yes, we should ALL stop whinging and practice more, but you seem to have a real issue.
  3. I actually recently changed the strings from the no-name ones that came with the bass (six years ago!) to a full set of Pirastro Permanents. The problem goes back to day one, though.

    I've also been experimenting with different kinds of mutes. What works best is the Ultra "comb" mute, but that only does so much, and at the same time makes the bass sound like an old-timey radio. The best sound is still the rolled-up scarf on the bridge.

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