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Definition of 'dead' strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SoVeryTired, Jul 1, 2012.


  1. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I put a new set of strings on yesterday and I'm wondering whether I've got a dead B string, whatever 'dead' means in this context. All the other strings are ringing clear but all I get from the B is thud. The tuner tells me intonation is correct but my ears hear something different.

    I've uninstalled and reinstalled and checked for twisting etc but I'll double check. And I've gone for a slightly higher gauge than before, and tapered, but done a full set-up.

    Have I just got a bad string?
     
  2. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    To be specific, I'm talking about La Bella nickels - 135 100 75 55 40. I was aiming for a balanced tension set and don't know whether balanced tension = unbalanced soud. But the B doesn't seem right.
     
  3. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    One can get a dud of a string with any brand. Contact the dealer and see if you can get a replacement string/set. Most will do whatever it takes.
     
  4. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I think I've probably exhausted their supply of goodwill on this order already!
     
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    The thread is mistitled. It actually has nothing to do with any "definitions"... :rolleyes:

    MM
     
  6. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I wanted to know what a dead string is, to understand if that's what I've got. Is that not a definition?

    (Or am I being dense and you're making a pun about the lack of definition I'm getting from the string?!)
     
  7. john_chimpo31

    john_chimpo31

    Jul 14, 2008
    A "dead" string is a judgement call. It means whatever you think it means. I love new strings but know guys who hate strings that ring. they love the thud. So dead to me is just right to them.
     
  8. wmheilma

    wmheilma

    Jan 5, 2010
    It simply may be the heavier gauge. A .135 is pretty stout unless you are tuning down to low A. It also may have been on the shelf for a very long time which will not help it sound bright especially if it is just in a paper sleeve and not in an air-tight package.

    I have noticed that some brands of strings typically carry a bit more 'thud' and less 'twang'. It is great if that is the tone you want. I typically go to the gig with two basses. One has strings that have a tighter feel and more thud. (DR Low-Rider Stainless Steel .030, .045, .065, .085, .105, .130). I change the DR's about once or twice a year. The other has slightly lighter (and much cheaper) strings that I change every couple of months. (D'Addario XL Nickel Wound .032, .045, .065, .080, .100, .130).
     
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    After an evening spent checking, adjusting, intonating (as best I could) and playing, I'm inclined to think the jump in gauge is just too much and makes the B sound 'thuddier' than it might seem alongside thicker strings. It may be balanced in tension but not really in tone. The fact that I can't push the saddle far enough back to intonate it at the 12th fret isn't great but I don't venture up that far on the B - just as well, as the 24th fret is almost a semitone out.

    I'll give it a proper amplified test and see how it sounds when played through the subs at church. It may be that the thud sounds great - or I may be unravelling my old B and putting it back on.

    My bass education continues (and buying the wrong strings is a lot cheaper than the wrong bass)!
     
  10. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I'm afraid you've got a bad string. I recently had a comparable experience with a set of GHS precision flats. The E came completely dead out of the package. It only produced "fmp", not even "thump". Bad luck!

    Equal tension doesn't have anything to do with it.

    The definition of a dead string? I'd say notably less sustain and less higher harmonics than a new string from the same brand and type. Most dead strings feel a little stiffer as well.
     
  11. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    DFW
    I've had dead strings in only two different packs that I've ever purchased. Once an E the other a G. Both sounded like the equivalent of a dead spot on every note and harmonics were nearly non-existent. When I pulled the strings out of the package on the most recent dud, I noticed the particular string didn't zing as I unwrapped it from its coiled state. That was a first clue. Strung it up and it was absolutely dead.

    Fortunately it was a set of DR's. I asked only for a replacement string and they sent me an entire replacement set. It can't ever hurt to ask if you have bad one.
     
  12. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Thanks for the advice guys. It seems it's difficult to be sure whether the string is 'dead' or I just don't like the sound it produces. Given that it's a US-made string from a US retailer the shipping would probably be twice the cost of the string so I'm not sure about getting a replacement!
     
  13. E-mail or call the manufacturer and tell them what you typed here. IME they will fix it.
     
  14. jasper383

    jasper383

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Contact La Bella. They will most likely make it right by sending you a new string.

    I have had nothing but good customer service from every string maker, including La Bella.

    That said, the B string in a lot of sets does sound and feel a bit different from the others; the B is usually a fair bit lower tension than the others.
     
  15. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Not in this case - the B is almost exactly the same tension as the others. I chose the set on that basis!
     
  16. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    Check for a twist in the string would be the first thing to double check.
     
  17. I've only had a handful of bad strings, in 45 years of playing bass.

    All of them were La Bella's. IME, if you specifically want the sound of that brand, you have to be willing to buy an occasional extra string...
     
  18. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    My mind's getting twisted by flitting between TB and my e-mail account! :)

    One more careful detwisting attempt to follow this evening...

    EDIT: I mean the string. Brain-twisting is probably irreparable. :)
     
  19. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

    I'm realising I've really got no idea how to tell if a string is twisted or what to do about it. Stringing a guitar is so much easier.

    I can adjust the truss rod, set the pickup height, adjust intonation and action - and yet I've got no idea whether I can string a bass up any more.

    :atoz: :help:
     
  20. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    If you loosen the string by turning the tuner just enough to release the tension, so you can twist the string freely between your fingertips you'll see the ball-end turn. Leave the ball-end in its preferred position and bring the string back to tension. Now you're sure there's no twist along the length.
     

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