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Dumb A string = fault of bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rockin John, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. I'm not altogether certain whether this is one for setup or Luthier's Corner. But here goes...

    My 3 month old Fender Jazz Dlx 5 string seems to exibit the problem, above. It's not particularly problematic, but is one of those things that nags at you because you know it's there.

    The string behaves something like what happens with a typical Fender dead spot, except it appears to affect the whole string rather than certain frets. There's a loss of top and the string sounds a touch like a rubber band.

    I've lowered the pups and I think I detect a V small improvement. There have been 4 sets of strings on the bass (for various reasons) and the same problem shows itself.

    I'm baffled. It has to be the bass but I honestly cannot think how or why, or what I can do to test / check the instrument. As far as I can tell the bass behaves well in all other respects. I have tried the old Precision trick of jamming the headstock against a solid wall to give the neck more mass, but that appears to do nothing.

    Very baffled :confused:

    Help appreciated as always.

  2. I had what may be a similar problem on a Yamaha, in that one fret on one string always sounded odd (more resonant, not dead). After I had checked out everything else, I changed the type of string I used and the problem disappeared, so it was probably a combination of string tension and inherent resonances.

    Are you using the same strings every time, or have you tried changing brands or string thicknesses?
  3. Hello Mottlefeeder.

    No. The strings were different. First was the stock strings: Fender 8250 - I think they're 40 - 125. Next was a set of Fender 7250 which I think are .005 thicker per string at 45 - 130. Currently I've a set of Elites Flatwound at 45 - 130.

    Hmm. Well, that's 3 sets, not 4 as I originally said.

    I had wondered about the string thicknesses vs resonances. Interestingly, I've noticed that the current A sounds really quite dead/ dumb / ?? when played close to the bridge, whereas the other 4 strings sound the normal clanky. I've toyed with the idea of fitting (say) another D string in place of the A. Tuning it to D to see whether the problem persists. Not done that yet but may well soon.


  4. Rock, you got a real puzzler here... :confused: :eyebrow:

    Just for yucks, try moving your D string to the A string position and see if the D does it too. I'm grasping here... I would also like to see if the A string does this when it is strung up alone. You'll probably have to do a TR adjustment to help with this.

    Since you've already proven it happens on different sets of strings, I don't know what I'm proving here but it might shed some light in this.

    Then maybe we can learn something
  5. The nut only directly affects the tone of open notes, and I'm guessing if his nut was too shallow he'd have a lot of buzzing.
  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Check the saddle. Are both allen screws under tension? Both making contact with the bridge plate? Does the saddle have any play when you push on it with your finger while the string is at tension? Is the contact point of the saddle smooth?

    Now do the same kind of check on the tuning key. Are the screws tight? Is the base plate of the tuner flush with the headstock wood?

    Next, check the break angle behind the nut. How many wraps are on the string? Does your bass have the string retainer? Is it tightly screwed down? Is the contact surface smooth?

    Next, does the nut have a well defined witness point where it contacts the string? It should make contact right at the front edge of the nut and then fall back. If the nut has a large flat shelf where the string makes contact, this kinda thing can happen, regardless of whether the string is open or fretted.
  7. if all else fails...replace with graphite saddles....my teacher had something simluar on his mexi active jazz and hed put graphite saddles on it and fixed it right up
  8. Thanks V much for the input.

    I went round the bass and had a bit of a tighten up. 3 of the 5 neck screws were really quite loose. The Hipshot string guides have had their screws nipped-up but weren't loose anyway. The bridge screws were OK but the one near the A string seems as though it just goes round and round. I've put a sliver of wood into the hole and replaced the screw. It seems better but isn't extra convincing.

    I can't check the machine head nut of the A string because I haven't a spanner to fit the nut. Currently, I can't check the witness point of the nut because my eyes simply aren't up to it these days - will get a magnifying glass.

    All string height screws on the bridge saddles are tightened properly.

    Closer inspection of the strings is interesting, though. The A and B are wrapped properly and as flatwounds . . . and they also sound like flatwounds. The other 3 seem to have their wrappings pulling apart slightly, and the E almost looks like a groundwound!! They sound brighter than flats. These are Elites, and I seriously wonder about the comments regarding their quality on the rear of the pack. The conclusion there is that I may have to buy a good set of strings to prove this point.

    I now wonder whether the problem is a multiple issue with various factors involved, (still) including the strings.

    That's the current situation.