Epiphone Viola w/ flatwounds, weird overtones / buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by C_Becker, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. C_Becker

    C_Becker

    Mar 30, 2017
    Germany
    Hey Talkbass folks,
    I need some help with my Epi bass. It has a weird overtone that is especially noticeable on the lower notes. Its not fret buzz, it rather sounds like something is vibrating with the string or as if the string itself gives off an overtone.

    If I pluck really hard, I can hear it acoustically too, but over an amplifier I can hear it even with soft plucking.

    The sound is higher than the root note itself, but its not "off", it is in the same pitch, only higher.

    I bought the bass used, and after removing the really dead old roundwound strings (probably still the original ones that came with the bass) I put Höfner flatwounds on, thinking it would be the bass for a bass of this shape. And I really enjoy the sound of the bass in general, but that weird noise drives me quite mad.

    Does anyone have an idea what it could be ?
    I already tightened all the screws on the tailpiece etc.
    Bridge is in the lowest position and I removed the piece of foam that was under it.

    Please help !
     
  2. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Hi
    It could be coming from the tailpiece area , to test this push down a little on the tailpiece and pluck a string if it is coming from the tailpiece then the buzz should stop or be greatly reduced by doing this, I had this on a bass but it was only audible accoustically not through an amp so it didn't bother me, since i had the intonation set and the bridge pinned it seems to have stopped.
    The other culprits could be a twisted string, or a defective string , does the buzz occur when fretted or only on open notes? If it occurs when fretted then that takes the nut out of the equation
     
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  3. C_Becker

    C_Becker

    Mar 30, 2017
    Germany
    Tailpiece was the key word !
    I shoved some foam strips under there and the sound is gone now, or at least much weaker now.
    I'll have to test it through my big amp in the rehearsal room to be sure, but on my little practice amp here its much better now.

    Thanks, much appreciated !
     
  4. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Glad i could help :)
     
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Suspended Supporting Member

    Yeah, what you have/had is also called "wolf tones (or "wolf notes"). Just one of the many pleasures of owning a bass/guitar with a floating bridge and trapeze tailpiece. Those relatively long strings behind the bridge are trying to play along, too. And weaving something between the strings back there is pretty much the only way to get rid of it. Wolf tones are a major source of whining on Gretsch owner's forums - and yes, my Gretsch Broadkaster does it, too. One forum member even had a nice side business, making fancy little leather straps to weave through the strings back there...:rolleyes:
     
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  6. C_Becker

    C_Becker

    Mar 30, 2017
    Germany
    So thats what this is called, good to know.
    No fancy little leather straps here, just some foam I had left over from the last speaker I installed :roflmao:
    That bridge and tailpiece design, as nice as it might look and as vintage correct it might be, is a huge PITA if you ask me