Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

E string sounds BAD. Technique or bass?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by hunta, Dec 21, 2004.


  1. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I just picked up my new rented Shen hybrid this weekend, and since I got it home and started really playing it I've noticed that I just cannot get a good arco sound from the E string. I've only been playing for about 3 months and this is only the 2nd bass I've played, the other being a really really beat up Juzek with really old strings. I'm using a cheap fiberglass bow (part of the rental) with pops rosin, and I'm able to get a real solid (albeit not amazing) sound out of the top 3 strings, but the E just sounds incredibly scratchy no matter how hard or soft or at what angle I bow. It sounds "ok" pizzicato, but not nearly as good as the other 3 strings do. These are classical strings.

    Everything about this bass sounds better than the Juzek I was playing, with the exception of the bowed E. The bridge is adjustable and is currently all the way down so the strings are nice and low. I'm primarily an electric bass player, and I know with a lot of 5-strings the low B just sounds weak and has a totally different tonal character than the other strings. Does the same thing go with the low E on DB's? I'm really hoping this isn't something wrong with the bass because if it is I'll have to drive 2 hours back up to rochester to get it fixed or swapped.

    Anyone know what's wrong or can point me in the right direction?

    btw, my bass teacher told me that I should rent a bow if possible because I'm not experienced enough to know which bow to buy. I totally accept that, but if this cheap fiberglass thing is causing problems, would it be silly of me to buy one of the brazilwood bows from Bob Gollihur? Those seem to get really good reviews, and they're not that expensive so I wouldn't be investing a huge amount of money on the wrong bow. I'm thinking it would have to be an improvement over the fiberglass..

    Thanks!
     
  2. If you can afford it, do it!!
     
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Honestly, just bring it up with your teacher, he should know if it a bow or set-up issue or technique.
     
  4. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I would but I'm on break at the moment so I'd have to wait another 3 weeks to show him ;)
     
  5. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Well if you are getting a decent sound from the other strings then it might be set-up issue.

    You might want to try and raise the string and see if there is any difference.
     
  6. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    How high are the strings from the fingerboard at the end of the fingerboard? Sometimes if the string height is too low it will not alow the string to move properly.
     
  7. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I picked up a cake of nyman's rosin at the local music shop and that seemed to help a LOT. It's still not perfect, but I'll see how it is in a couple more days. I think the pops just was not working with this bow for some reason, not sticking to it at all. I still probably need to get a better bow, but at least I can play now without the frustration of the E :)

    One other thing I've been noticing, is the E string is going out of tune very quickly, like I'll play for maybe 15 minutes and it will have slipped quite noticeably. I've been playing this bass for almost a week now so I'd think the new strings would have been broken in by now (at least on electric it doesn't take this long to break in). Do the strings take much longer to break in or could something else be wrong?

    lol probably dumb questions I know..
     
  8. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    Some strings, particularily gut or gut core, can take several weeks of playing before they hold pitch, but this is usually true of the whole set, not just the E. You may have a defective string or it may not be holding at the peg. If you still have th Juzek, try using that E. Mixing brands and types of strings is not unusual on DB.
     
  9. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    They are definitely not gut, not sure exactly what kind they are, the guy at the shop when I rented it just said they were orchestral strings. At the end they're blue silk with yellow silk on both ends and a little yellow spiral across the blue.. I thought they might be superflexibles but I'm not sure. The E seems to be holding a little better now, maybe it just needed to stretch a little bit.

    First real bass.. So much to learn haha.
     
  10. You have Helicore Orchestra strings which are supposed to be mainly for arco playing.My guess would be a winter soundpost adjustment/change to help bring out the E string.You might have other set-up issues though.