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Dull E string

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by tyiu, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. tyiu


    Jun 30, 2009
    I've been having this issue with the E string for over a year now.

    The whole E string sounds dull, like if it was a Flatwound E string and the others steel strings.
    I tried every different string, from flats to steel and nickel and different gauges, no matter what the E string always sounds dull.

    I hear the dull sound unplugged too, so its not a eletronic issue.
    Also changed my bridge from Gotoh to BadassII but nothing changed.

    Any one here experienced this?
  2. Yep. I have the same problem in one bass. I believe its because some basses have less tension on E string, so the tone and the attack are duller even if the string have the same output
  3. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    It's a lousy bass.

    Seriously--if it's dead when you play it unplugged, it'll never get any better, amplified.
  4. lowendgenerator


    Mar 26, 2006
    I'm currently battling this demon on a bass of mine as well. I was starting to think it might be a poorly cut saddle slot (BAII), but after hearing that you've swapped out bridges and STILL fighting the deadness, I'm starting to re-consider.

    How much string do you wrap around your E's tuning post? A shallow angle over the nut could cause trouble. Not a big deal on angled headstocks, but it's the difference between tone and poop on Fender style (flat) headstocks.
  5. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    True, but the shallow headstock angle would be removed from the equation as soon as you press a fret, it would only affect the tone of the open E.

    Have you tried a different brand/gauge of E string? What kind of bass is it? Have you taken the bass to a tech for a setup before?
  6. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I wonder if the bridge isn't in the wrong place on the body and the inserts have to be moved too far forward causing a poor angle. That might affect the sustain.
  7. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Remove the string. Leave the other strings on your bass and tuned up. Examine the nut slot. Perhaps something in it thats not supposed to be there. Examine the bridge saddle for same thing. Run something midly abrasive thru the nut slowly and over the bridge saddle along where string touches it. Restring it. Still dull? Then yup you got a bass that for some reason just cant do decent lower notes. I'm assuming you really do mean the string sounds dull no matter what brand and brand new acoustically. if you just mean when plugged in it could be bad muddy pups syndrome for low notes. The reason to have you examine nut slot and bridge saddle is in case something small is stuck there and is acting like a foam mute on the string.
  8. tyiu


    Jun 30, 2009
    darkstorm, i tried what you said, but nope eveything if fine on the nut and bridge, and, yea still dull.

    This is something that came slowly over the years, i remember when i first bought the bass everything was fine.

    Fender Precision by the way.
  9. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    tyiu...> That sounds like humidity or other weather exposure problem. Used to be fine, got dull over the yrs. Is it solid wood or plywood body? If the latter you will see signs of a line every 1/8 inch or so for the layers in contol cavity or pup routes. This is usually detectable even thru the black matte paint often sprayed inside control cavity. Plywood basses dont stand up as well over the yrs imo as solid wood ones do.

    Are their any significant chips or wear on the body? Places where weather extremes in humidy and temp can get inside the body?

    You might try over at the lutheirs forum for info on wether or not weather damaged bodys or those not properly taken care of wax wise etc. Can be restored. I can imagine where to much wet or dry air or to much cold or hot got into the body over time. And dulled it sound wise for lower freq's.

    Question Id be tempted to ask is wether or not a humidifier or dehumidifier might help restore the bodys sound? Or wether such things over time are more indicative of poorly cured wood and such things?
  10. tyiu


    Jun 30, 2009
    yes sometimes the humidity here is high, and 2-3 times a year you can see the walls in the house wet.
    The bass is the steve harris signature from japan, the first one.
    Its basswood.
  11. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    If your interior walls are getting wet from humidity youve got serious problems house wise and yes you likely have water damaged bass. Imo
  12. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Make sure the neck screws are well tightened and try a tapercore string if you haven't already.
  13. tyiu


    Jun 30, 2009
    Never tried taper-core strings.
    I found these http://www.deanmarkley.com/Strings/Bass/SR2000Ba.shtml

    This is one hot string! Taper-wrapping at the bridge allows SR2000 to vibrate easier . . . and longer. SR2000's tone is unbelievable!

    Good choice?
  14. Thundar

    Thundar Don't talk old to me Supporting Member

  15. douglas_fx


    Aug 4, 2016

    I have a Fender CIJ Precision.... Same issue.... What I notice is that when I play acoustically, the E string vibrates the bass different than the others strings.
    I play the G, D and A and they vibrates the same.... when I play the E string, all the bass vibrates more. I noticed that after change the strings, tunning pegs, bridge sadles, pickups and the problem persists. So, is something with the wood in my case, don´t know if is the body, neck, or both.

    One day if I have a chance I wanna put a different body, or neck, and see how it goes. Is sad, because I just love the sound of the bass.... But its a very desappoiting problem in a fender bass..
  16. douglas_fx


    Aug 4, 2016
    Very sad dude... try to hear it acoustically.... my fender p has the same issue, and what I noticed is that the E string vibrates different all the wood, compared with the others..... Vibrates a lot, instead the others that doesn´t, but equal between them
  17. NoBlackTShirts


    Feb 23, 2010
    I've had problems with the E string going dull forever -- or being dull new. I guess an E string on a bass just doesn't work well.
  18. Synthex


    Mar 27, 2017
    Hi guys. My first post here.

    I was looking for a solution to my dull E string. I have a brand new set and noticed there wasn't that bright sound new strings make.

    After messing around removing strings, bridge, saddles and moving things around the brightness of the E came back. Though my G started to sound dull then, and i haven't done anything to it.

    After messing around with the G and its parts i finally found the solution:

    The fretboard is slightly curved and after i tried to mimic the same curve on the saddles adjusting their height screws, the dullness was gone!

    Try on yours guys and see if that works

    BDrums likes this.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Glad it worked for you but you really want each individual saddles to be parallel with the base plate. You can still radius the string profile to match that of the fingerboard. Tilting saddles can cause other problems and is widely discouraged.

    digmeout likes this.

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