Dead sounding E-string.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by leftseptember, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. leftseptember


    Jun 26, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I have a MIM P, and pretty much all the other strings resonate well...However, the E string sounds completely dead and dull. Even with new strings, there's no improvement. Any suggestions?
  2. Kavorka


    Mar 28, 2002
    Austin, Texas
    Could you describe the problem a bit more? Is the string just quieter than the others (which indicates a pickup adjustment may be needed) or is it truly dead sounding, like a dead note (muffled, no ringing to it beyone a second or two)?
  3. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    If I may jump in and possibly benifit from the same thread:

    I have a similar problem with my B. It's not 'solid'-sounding - sort of 'dingy', like 'wolf tones' are in a way (except it happens on EVERY note, instead of just a couple).

    My bass is a Peavy Foundation, and it appears to have some sort of neck tilt adjustment behind the neck plate. I was thinking that maybe whatever kind of 'fulcrum'-like affair that's going on to make that work prevents the neck from solidly coupling with the body, and that if I had the system removed and replaced with hard shims instead, it might help.

    Make any sense?

    Does your bass have a bolt-on, or maybe even a tilt adjustment like this, Leftseptember?


  4. I would highly recomend not doing that Joe P. With the size of B strings and the strength of magnets very wierd things can happen. I would recomend you lower your pickups as a first option, as that is a problem with a lot of basses having odd sounding B strings. If that doesn't work, try using a different set of strings.

    If you think about it, a slight tilt at the heel end of the neck isn't going to vastly effect tone, especially only so it's noticeable on one string.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The E string MIGHT be too close to the pickup and when you pluck it, it gets so close to the pickup pole pieces that it kind of kills the note. This was the case on my Essex p bass.
  6. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Thanks for the quick response!

    The thing is, Groovecenter, I'm not thinking about the tilt itself. I'm thinking that whatever this tilt mechanism entails, there must be some kind of pivot-point or something in there, and I'm afraid that it makes the body+neck to be less of a 'unit' like it should be. Maybe it causes the neck to vibrate and suck the low-freq vibrations out of the string?

    Now this pickup thing is interesting to me! You're saying LOWER, like farther away from the string? Is it proper to tilt the pickups, so they're closer to the high strings than to the low ones? (I think they'll do that -?) How about the difference in hight between the bridge and neck pickups? Should one be closer than the other? I guess I'm picturing that the bridge pickup would be closer, because the string (especially the fundamental) vibrates to a lesser amplitude down there by the bridge.


  7. You might want to try heavier string(s) before you begin surgery on your bass. It sounds to me like your string tension is too low and the strings are floppy and inarticulate.
  8. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    See if the guage of the string is too big, it may not fit correctly in the nut, or bridge saddle, causing the string's sound to be muffled, or dull.
  9. As for the neck tilt thing, forget it. If you think about how small of a seperation it would be compared to the entire neck joint it is unlikely that this is the cause of your string problems, especially since the problem is isolated to one string.

    As for pickup height, experiment. I can't tell you one particular height that'll work, lower them and keep lowering them to see if the problem dissapears. Note however that you will get less signal the further away from the string the pickup is, but it might solve your problem.
  10. funkmuffin


    Aug 18, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    How many times is the e string wound around the tuning peg? If its just one or two times, you might not have enough "down" pressure on the headstock side of the nut, and that string's tension would be out of whack relative to the others.

    Its kinda review, but you should always make sure that you've got as many winds as possible to get the down pressure as taught as you can above the nut. Not doing so can cause problems with sustain, intonation, and making the string seem "deader" than the rest of 'em.

    One more idea -- if you didn't put the strings on yourself, you don't know if they're a matched set. Maybe the last person just threw on whatever E string they had laying around, and its the wrong gauge for the tension of the other strings (i.e. too light, if it sounds dead)

    Just some ideas.