Different strings, same bass

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Disappear, May 24, 2012.

  1. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Hello again, Talkbass. It's been a while.

    My B-string on my HS w/ piezo bongo is giving me some grief. I get this beautiful aggressive high-mids tone on my E-G strings but my B is giving me an overly-low-mids and high-treb tone. It just doesn't sound as "tight" as my other strings do. Alas, I had the idea of throwing on a flatwound to try and induce a more mellow tone on it. This may not be the best solution however.

    I'm using heavy DR lowriders, my amp is set to give nice lows and nice high mids, my tone on my bass is just neutral (everything at its middle setting).

    I'm open to ideas and suggestions.

    (Search function turned up very few results pertaining to what I'm looking for, or non-relevant ones altogether)
  2. Mr pickelz

    Mr pickelz

    May 11, 2011
    I'm no expert but maybe you should try altering your tone a little, turn up your front pickup a bit over the back one (or pan the pickups so it's a little front orientated) if you find the tone is too agressive, also you could try turning down the tone knob on your bass. This probably won't help and I imagine you already tried this ;p I can't really make an informed suggestion on strings, if your others are fine it may not be strings, also maybe try playing a little lighter? Just a few things covering every topic but strings there - sorry if it's no help!
  3. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Yeah, I see what you're saying. I absolutely love the aggressive tone I'm getting out of it but the B is just... poop [not pop, poop]. Thus altering some settings will kill that tone and 'optimize' the tone for the B... double edged sword, no?

    The funny part is the history I have with this line. Told I was playing rather hard in a store once. I also took my axe in once for a repair and the guy said, "It's fine as long as you don't play too hard on it." (Clearly the problem wasn't fully fixed and he was trying to get me out the door) My view on that is: As expensive as a musicman is, I shouldn't have to change my style.

    Please take no offence to the last part as I didn't intend on any. Thanks for your comment but I don't think it solves my problem :(
  4. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I never liked the Lo Rider B string. Always preferred the Fat Beam one instead.
  5. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Oh one of the millions of variables that go along with pinpointing a problem on the bass. It's like you need a electronics and physics degree just to figure out one problem.

    I'll look into that though, thank you.

    Still open to suggestions/insights
  6. PluckyThump

    PluckyThump Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    Finding a good B-string can be frustrating. Sometimes the B is good but it just doesn't sound the same as the other four strings. Sometimes the B is just bad.

    I haven't found any magic formula, what sounds good on one bass may sound crap on another. There is not much you can do but try a set and hope for the best. That said, I have had the best luck with Ernie Ball Slinky and DR DDT, High Beams and Sunbeams. Agree with the other poster that the Lo-Rider B is not particularly good.

    If you play hard then you definitely need to get a set with a .135 B.

    String installation and bass setup is very important as well. Good info here:

  7. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    All I can tell you is what worked on my 5 string G&L L-2500.
    Bury the pickups into the body....as low as they can go. I used extra foam to pad the pickup cavities as well.
    Make sure the headstock bolts just barely tighten, don't have them real tight. Make sure your intonation is spot on.

    For me, loosening the headstock made the most improvement. Getting the string height right on my pickups was a close second. LIGHTER B strings worked better for me, I use a .119
  8. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    The upkeep of this damn bongo has been frustrating, but it sounds WAY too good to let go of.

    Watched the videos, curious things to note indeed[string twist]. It's also curious that you mention heavy gauge but if we look at the quote below...

    Thank you klokker, for your response. I like B-strings with a bit of sustenance when I play which is why I go for the heavier gauges. I also find that they usually have a bit more tension, which is what I really like in strings. I suppose I may have to find a compromise though.

    Guys, it looks like I have the information required to approach this problem better. I thank you for your input and for taking the time to reply to my post(s).

    Keep calm and bass on. (Yeah, I dunno. It came to mind so I wanted to use it)
  9. Aussie Player

    Aussie Player

    Apr 20, 2011
    I just put the Ernie Ball Slinky's back on my Alembic that were put on there by Guitar Center when I bought it and they are what I wanted in sound after all. 45-130.
  10. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I really don't like slinkys. Not even throwing them down the stairs brings me much enjoyment.
  11. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Try readjusting the pups on that side. If that doesnt help Id put it down to pups and bass just not up to the type of low B you want. Very few basses have a good sounding low B to me. If you cant get a good low B with DR strings, its not the strings imo. As main reason here.
  12. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I want to doubt that it is the pickups. I have the lovely luxury of the piezo pickup and the B still sounds poop on that even when alternating pickups (from blend to piezo to the HS and everywhere in between). I want to also doubt that it is the bass itself as I've opted for the longer scale (36"), which I have read also can contribute to poor-sounding Bs. I also want to doubt that the bass is the reason because it's musicman. Silly last reason but I still have some faith that not all mass-produced basses are bad (especially at their price).
  13. Aussie Player

    Aussie Player

    Apr 20, 2011
    You missed your calling?
    Should have been a scientist with that open mind.
    Seriously, after 41 year at it, I learned to trust nothing and check everything. I tried strings I used for years on certain basses and the found another of the same bass where the combo didn't work at all.

    Also found incidences of where cheap strings sounded wonderful and more expensive ones were duds.

    If you really like the base, instead of the potential theory of the bass, keep trying different strings, change from stainless to nickel to flatwound to half round. Also look at options where you buy just the B string and you will save money ans learn exactly what you bass can do.

    The cheapest option however, is to take you bass to various stores and try many amps as the amp can have huge impact on guitar sound, tone and punch, especially with a B string.

    I use Hartke and never needed to look further and that search took 35 years for me.
  14. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Funny you should mention it. I'm currently studying science actually, bass is just a hobby.
    That's essentially what I've gathered through the course of this thread. I've started searching these forums for "good" B-string manufacturers. I'm looking to understand why though which is a very difficult question to answer.

    Interesting option. I'll definitely keep it in mind. Thank you.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    DR makes a great B string... the issue is probably with your bass and the scale more than the string.

    Most manufacturers do, I haven't tried EB slinkys on a 5/6, I got tired of them on a 4 string.

    I also heard from an Ernie Ball tech that Ernie Ball recommends a B string of .130 for proper tension. That is the tension I use and prefer on all my 6 strings.
  16. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Can you elaborate?
  17. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Well for the starters the EBMM B string is famously floppy, the only "tight" major manufacturers I have found are Carvin and Dingwall. I am sure people will flame me, but that is my experience. The 34" scale is also not the best way to reproduce low sounds, I recently discussed scale length and B string issues with Sheldon Dingwall.

    My Ibanez BTB 676 has a very solid sounding B, it is a 35" scale, but it is floppy compared to the other strings, so I find the tone out of it is extremely muddy.
  18. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Yes, scale. Well, unless I'm measuring it wrong, I want to believe that the scale is 35" as it was previously owned and an employee mentioned it was a little longer scale than the other bongo they had there. Upon checking the specs on the MM website, 34" is standard. Perhaps he got a custom? I do remember reading 35"+ is a must for a well defined B.

    I do find that on here there is a lot of "well I use X bass and Y strings and it's just fine" with a counter of "Well I use Z bass with Y strings and they're garbage". I don't direct this at you and I apologize if it seems this way. It just makes things much more confusing.

    I really really don't want to let go of my Bongo though... But I love the 5 string. If it is indeed the bass then I guess I'm handcuffed.
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I know how you feel man, I have issues with my new Carvin B string, it gets strange overtones on the B string high up, if you want to read there is a recent thread on it under hardware and repair, it is my first 34" scale 6 string as well. I tried everything I could, I took it to Sheldon and he helped me set the magnets correct and test out a thin core Suber J B string on it, it is as good as it gets but it just won't be perfect.

    I wouldn't let go of your Bongo either, I seriously considered a Bongo 6 when I ordered my Carvin in Feb, I love John Myung. It might just be one of those things though, take it or leave it.

    My guitar player has an EB John Petrucci 7 string (stereo out) it is really amazing, but the B string on it is far from the highlight and has tonal issues as well. Especially when in the higher register.

    The B string is a tricky beast, for me I know my Carvin has the issue high up the B, but it really doesn't affect my playing, Sheldon put it best, "When you do fret work on a 5 string there generally isn't any fret wear beyond the 5th fret"

    I don't think flatwounds will really offer you a great benefit if any at all, I would try and get just a flat B before I went balls deep on a set of them (6 String flat set would run me $60 easy to get to where I am)

    The only thing I can recommend, and I don't know if it will help your issue or not, is thin core strings, La Bella or Dingwall, I thought it helped my issue but my issue was different that yours, they are high quality strings so it couldn't hurt to try them. I still prefer DR, and who knows after trying a few other brands you might come back to them.

    Sorry, that got long winded...
  20. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Sounds familiar

    La Bella keeps coming up in my searches for good strings. I'm going to have to look into them, at least a single Bstring.

    Don't worry about being long-winded, just look at my posts. Thank you for your insight, good sir.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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