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Doesn't any bass have a tight B...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tightanic, Apr 15, 2001.

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  1. Tightanic


    Oct 26, 2000
    I hope that this post won't be moved to the technique-forum, because I think it belongs here.
    Since I'm a talkbass member i've read so many arguments about the reason for floppy low B's. Hasn't anybody ever wondered if this could be caused by his playing style ?
    I play an Ergodyne EDB605 bass, and the better my playing gets, the tighter sounds my B. And before you ask, it seemed really floppy in the beginning, even after putting fresh strings on it !
    What do you think ?

  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    The floppiness of a B also depends on the actual string used - gague, material and tension.
  3. David-Adler


    Feb 28, 2001
    Bonn, Germany
    I think that pick-players will have more problems with things like buzz and floppy b-strings...

  4. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    I like a bass design that incorporates a relatively long tension length.

    This is most visible by observing the distance between the nut and the tuning machine. On fenders it is real short = floppy B where as on a Yamaha TRB-6P it is real long = tight B string. Of course this is assuming equal scale length and string gauge.

    As a general rule, I stay away from the left side in-line tuning machines.
  5. Jake15


    Jan 17, 2001
    USA, PA
    I love the B on a 35 inch scale.
  6. As JT has said, the stiffness of the neck and the low midrange response of the body have just as much impact on the sound of the B as the scale length and tension length. My Dean has a 35" scale length but the B still requires a light touch below the third fret.
  7. shagEb

    shagEb Guest

    Apr 14, 2001
    USA, Polkville NC
    yes, 35" scale=sweeter B
  8. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    When I received my bass it was strong with DR string. Best B I ever heard. I change string for Dadario....and the B was, very ordinary.
    So I think the string are a factor. The bass is a big factor also. If the bass is not good, good string wont change anything.
  9. My double bass has very nice tight B - mind you, it's 42" !!! :D
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have six different five-strings, two with 35-inch scales, and four with 34-inch scales. I still can not figure out what the hell a "floppy B-string" is. They all have their own playing characteristics, but none have anything that I would characterize as "floppy." Maybe I'm just lucky that the basses I have (see profile) are not prone to "floppiness of B." Perhaps it's that I play with a soft to medium touch, only occasionally "digging in." Or maybe it's that the "floppy B string" is an urban myth. Perhaps all the floppy B strings are on Ibanez and Rogue guitars. I don't get it. That's all.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Here's my view:

    Some people play every bass like it's their "ideal" bass...just play it the way "you" want to and everything will be alright. Same technique, even same amp EQ settings no matter what they're playing. Adjust their technique to fit the bass they're playing?...sacrilege!

    That's where the floppy B comes in. I have 34" and 35" 5 strings and not one of them is floppy. I use whatever technique it takes for my basses to work best for me, if that means a lighter touch on one B and not on another...SFW. I'm not playing my Fender when I play my Lakland, why should I expect it to play exactly the same?

    I've heard a ton of times that the Fender 5's have floppy B's, then people hear mine and tell me I must have a "good" one. Yeah, it must be the bass;)

    Strings can have an effect on it but does that mean you'll write of a nice bass because of a temporary situation ? (hey... strings change).

    This is not to say that some B's aren't appreciably better than others but I think the floppy B syndrome is a blanket complaint overall. Learn to play the bass you're playing...it might not be so floppy after all.
  12. I agree.....there's a lot to do with your playing. And there's alot to do with the bass also. Settings, and etc. And yes, I agree that alot of people blame alot of things on the gear where lots of the problems actually originated from the person's playing.

  13. My 5 is currently strung high, but when I got it was strung with a low B. And it was floppy.

    It has a 34 and a half inch scale.

    I restrung it low with DRs, and the B was utterly unfloppy.

    Funnily enough, the original floppy B was a DR too...but it hadn't been strung properly. Too few turns round the spindle.

    Stringing the bass properly...leaving enough string to go round the tuner right to the bottom so you get a good break angle, keeping an even tension on the string while winding and ensuring that there is good purchase on the bridge seems to go a long way to de-floppying your B.
  14. First, I want to second Brad's views. You have to let the the bass determine the way you play it. But I think it's common to all basses that a g-string sounds better if you pluck it a bit closer to the neck, than were you pluck the b-string. The thinner the string the closer to the neck I play. And playing the b-string close to the bridge makes it a little less floppy, and it takes out some of the boominess those strings have compared to the others.

    Secondly, I think there is difference in the basses (really?, surprise!!;-)). I've played a Warwick Streamer5 and it's defenitely a more 'soft' bass to play than my Stringray5, wich by the way is concidered one of the 5's with the tightest b-string (check out the '5string shot-out' at bassplayers site) I think you can play a Stingray harder that for instence a Streamer or a Fender jazz. By the way, Isn't a Warwick Streamer a longer scale bass than the Stingray? If it is, then longer scale=tighter b-string isn't right, right?!

    But the easiest way to avoid the floppiness of the b-string is playing closer to the bridge.

    That's my views
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Andy's right, something as seemingly minor as how you string around the tuning peg can make a big difference. Here's how I do it, several wraps that end at the bottom of the post:


    I have four basses that have bulletproof B's, by that I mean practically anyone can play them practically anyway and still not experience flop:

    84 Tobias, Zon Legacy standard fretless, Lakland 55-94 and Clover Bass Tard 5...two 34" scales and two 35". One neck thru, three bolt-ons, two composites.

    I still love playing my MIA JD5's ... even though I wouldn't put the B in this category, played correctly it sounds very nice. So are the others better? ...nope, at least when it comes to sounding like a five string Jazz. They're just different;)
  16. Why would you even buy a bass that does not fit your playing style? That's like telling someone that they should buy some cool shoes a size too small and learn to get used to them, or to buy some nice pants that are too big and gain some weight so that you fit them.
  17. Tightanic


    Oct 26, 2000
    But hasn't anybody ever mentioned, that the playing style is a huge factor? Someone (sorry, forgot to look up your name) wrote that he has to touch the B-string of his Dean slightly lighter to get a good sound. That's exactly what I meant. I state that you can improve the sound of any bass by adapting your playing style.
    I guess most of you use different positions of their right hand (near to the bridge/neck) and the sound is much tighter and more growling when playing next to the bridge. and that's independent from material or scale length.
  18. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    I don't think you get it.

    If you had two basses, a 34" and a 35" with the same tension length, the 35" scale would have a looser B string because of the longer distance between the witness points.
  19. But you would wind it tighter....

    What is all this 'tension length' stuff? Is it real or voodoo?
  20. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Andy - Must not be. There are even tension calculators online for strings.

    Like Brad, I use as many wraps as reasonable, plus the equation among how the relief is set in your neck realtive to tiltback headstock design or 5-in-line, (yes/no?), and saddle heigth relative to tuned to pitch, all interact.

    And like others have mentioned, technique plays a role. For instance, if a maker is after the LImp Bizkit/Linkin Park/Soulfly/Papa Roach/etc. market, a flexible B can be an asset.

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