E string sounds nasty with OD

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by arca_tern, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Hey all.
    I'm rocking a brand used 2016 Fender MIM Geddy Lee.
    I had adjusted the saddle height (higher) on the E when I first bought it because of fret buzz. Running through a GK MB500 with new cords, eq set flat.

    When using my VT bass, any time the drive passes ~11:30 or noon, the E string sounds like a broken speaker is being played through. no tight low end, no note definition, doesn't even sound good. Other strings sound good, but not it. This applies to the open E and a ways up the neck. Now that I think about it, the "e" doesn't sound great when clean.
    Using a pick remedies the problem a fair amount.

    What I've tried to fix it:
    - cutting lows/bass, low mids, (on both the amp and the pedal) but no significant change.
    The low end disappears and leaves nasty ratty sound
    - used other drive pedals pedals (em drive, iron horse) and they all sound the same. Nasty low end. (The only one that sounded good was a Fox Pedals Wrath distortion.)

    Potential fixes:
    Adjust pickups? too high/low? which one?
    Lower the saddle height on E string?
    buy new strings? (no idea on current age, as it was used and I've had it for ~3 months)
    new nut?

    What would YOU try first?
    I want to love and keep the VT bass, pretty sure it isn't the issue.

    (and should this be in effects, strings, or pickups forum??)
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    I'd start with new strings and a proper setup.

    You should be asking this is the hardware & setup forum.

    If it doesn't sound right when playing clean I'd say it's a bass issue and nothing to do with effects.
  3. Cool wasn’t 100% sure where it would go.
    The bass doesn’t sound *bad* clean. The e is just mediocre and worsens with OD.
  4. Does it sound like that everywhere or just wherever you play it though the amp? Are you only playing through an amp and have you tried headphones? If you’ve only heard it through your amp, have you tried moving your amp to a different part of the room? I know there’s a rehearsal space I’m not too fond of (concrete) that completely turns anything below low F# to mush. It doesn’t matter how much HPF I use in the front end and no EQ’ing aside from icepicking everyone's ears or moving it to another part of the room will make it go away. The folks over in Amps have a fancy term for it, but I don’t know what that is.
  5. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    I start with new strings, same type, if it's still there, adjust pickups/pole pieces.

    As far as which one, does it do it with both? Then adjust both. Not sure which way, trial and error here.
  6. Hey. Good tips.
    Have tried with headphones and same thing. Played at a friends 2nd floor appt and also in my basement. Same thing. Good to know about the resonance? that can happen though
  7. Not sure what the current strings are so going to go with either rotosound 66ld or with regular slinky’s.

    Had messed with the tone knob but don’t remember if I had done each volume independently and heard results. Good call.
  8. jw23mind


    Jan 16, 2017
    Reading MA
    My only thought is that you are clipping too much bass pre-eq which is why removing bass with post-eq does not help. Where is the Character control set? I find if it's around 9pm or less there is more emphasis on clipping lows. Try adjusting that to 11pm or higher. Also, no matter where it's set at some point there could just be too much Drive to the point of clipping lows. How overdriven are you trying to get it?
    arca_tern likes this.
  9. Any kind of over driven. lol.
    I can try the character turned up and the drive blended better but the issue’s across multiple pedals
  10. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Because it's isolated to the E string, you should focus on it, and yes, not effects related.

    Changing the string is an easy thing to do, so start there. Make sure it's seated well at the nut and the bridge, and that the break point is set. If it was a bad string, problem gone. If not read on.

    You say it goes away with a pick, so my guess is that the direction you are plucking the string has something to do with this "vibration" if you will. So, check for anything that is too close to the string, and this means when it's vibrating. Pickups, frets high on the neck usually, unless your neck is back bowed, and not dished. Loo from the head stock down the length of the necessary along the edge, and the neck should be gently curved AWAY from the string.

    Next look at the bridge. Make sure the saddles are seated properly - both screws snug and supporting the saddle? String groove cut well?

    Next look at the nut. Is the string groove cut tight to the string, or can the string roll around? Even a little roll is bad.

    If the string swap does the fix it, find a good repair guy is you don't know how to fix it.
    rjovin and arca_tern like this.
  11. SOLVED IT! @jw23mind was the closest.
    The LEVEL was the issue. because I had it set to unity at a quiet volume (kids sleeping etc), when I was able to play louder I turned up the master on the amp.
    The only sound from the bass on that string that the low level was letting through was only part of the note, making it sound farty and nasty. level up well past unity, problem gone. Now I know not to have level lower than 9 o'clock on the VT bass, even if that's above unity, and turn down the amp as needed.
    When at my buddies house with other pedals, again would have turned level down to unity and caused the same issue. Now I know - low pedal level doesn't like that string.
    DiegoVargas likes this.
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