Do Flats Sag/Lower After They Break In?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bassdoggydogg, Apr 20, 2024.

  1. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021
    I got a bass tuned down to C# with some Steve Harris Sig. Rotos, and this is my first time using flats. The bass was playing pretty good after some saddle adjustments. Now it's about two months later and I'm getting some fret buzz towards the headstock on the middle strings. I thought I read somewhere that flats sort of sag/lower when they break in... or did my neck just move?
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Maybe you didn't set the witness points and they have set themselves naturally over time?
    One Way, Dominic D and Dr. Love like this.
  3. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021
    I remember pushing down fairly good at the bridge, but my saddles don't go back far enough to get proper intonation on all the strings. Intonation doesn't usually affect action though does it?
  4. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    No, but action affects intonation and the amount of saddle compensation required.
    mcnach likes this.
  5. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Did you check/set the relief when you put the strings on? Has it changed?
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Nope they don't sag. It's likely your neck is adjusting to increases in relative humidity and consequently needs an adjustment.
    One Way, CTW68, Engle and 5 others like this.
  7. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    If you tuned down with this set of strings and the bass was in a std tune before, then I would suspect that the truss rod has slowly reduced the relief in the neck due to the lesser tension from the strings. Or these strings have less tension than the set prior to this. Or weather change.
    CTW68, Five or Six, BadMonk and 2 others like this.
  8. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021
    I didn't check, but it sounds like the neck moved. Thanks everybody.
    butterfingers1 likes this.
  9. Tis the season.
  10. tindrum

    tindrum Supporting Member

    May 2, 2007
    Suffolk, VA
    This is the answer hands down. Now that it’s warmed up I’ve had to adjust several of my necks with a simple, small turn of the truss rod. Happens every Spring like clockwork and again in the Winter when it’s drier.
  11. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2023
    This can also happen when you change strings with higher or lower tension than the previous ones.
  12. + Rotosound Steve Harris Sig./50-110 RS77LE Jazz flats are far from low-tension strings. 253.1 pounds of pull from the set.

    I'm not sure LaBella 0760M "'54/Original" flats even pull that much.

    I use 45-105 Roto 77 Jazz flats which are quite stiff and tight already--214.41 pounds.
    tindrum likes this.
  13. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    You tuned your bass down, relieving a lot of tension on the neck, and the neck straightened out - an expected result. Do a setup, you'll be OK. If you hire someone to do a setup, you HAVE to tell them your tuning, or it's a waste of time and money.

    From E to C#, you've decreased the tension to about 70 percent of what it was before - it's gone down 30 percent from what they set says on their specs. If they are 253 pounds at E, they're about 177 pounds at C#.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2024
  14. To be clear, you've kept your tuning down to C# consistently since you started using the Roto SH77 flats, you didn't change the tuning?
  15. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021
    I had 45-100 stainless rounds on it with regular EADG tuning. It's still probably the neck that moved though, because several people have debunked my sagging/lowering flats theory.
    Grinderman likes this.
  16. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    No but…

    Nevermind. I’m self censoring
    Lance Bunyon likes this.
  17. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021

    EDIT Lol my brain just kicked in, oh wow.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2024
    Killing Floor likes this.
  18. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I've usually had the opposite, with the neck curving upwards due to the higher string tension.
    On my P bass, it took quite a while. When it arrived with flats installed and professionally set up, it had a very comfy action. A few months later, the action was quite high.
    When I sighted down the neck, I was greeted by a ski-jumping ramp.

    However, since you tuned to C#, you should be expecting a lower tension on the neck with opposite results.
    Now, that the system has settled in with the new tension, do a truss rod setup and you should be fine.
  19. Okay, so the tension of Roto SH77 tuned C#F#BE is virtually the same as 45-105 stainless Roto Swing 66 rounds tuned EADG. That string and tuning change by itself likely wouldn't have created the need for a truss rod adjustment initially.

    No doubt the neck moved because change in humidity.
    mikewalker likes this.
  20. NHM


    Mar 4, 2014
    Kent UK
    I thought this thread was about fat slags when I first saw the title!