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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JoshuaTSP, Apr 7, 2009.
Many factors influence the "boldness" of a low B string. Some of them are: string diameter and characteristics (core/wrap ratio and overall thickness, exposed/ non-exposed core at the bridge, materials used etc), scale length and bass design, construction and set up.
There are many threads over this issue. Once you read several of them you will be able to form an opinion and start asking more specific questions
A 'good' low B is all personal preference, it depends how much tension you want, how tight/boomy you want the sound to be.
^^^ Well answered, both of you guys.
You would also want your B string to be well-defined. Try playing C-D-E on your B string (1st position). You would want to avoid B strings where you can barely (or even can't) tell the difference between the notes.
Now for my take.... a good low B shouldn't sound like a fart when you play it open or in the first few positions.
A nice tight B is much more desirable IMO than a floppy or loose sounding B. Try playing an open B on a really cheap 34" scale 5er to see what I mean.
Different things for different folks. For me, when I play a descending scale that moves down onto the B string, I want the tone and feel to stay consistent.
My 2 centavos, EVERYTHING makes the low B great or bad! As Full range noted, scale length, string, set-up, technique, amp, pickups, construction, etc! Your ear is what decides if you like it or not. I know some of the #1 picks on TB for the "best B" don't float my boat.
I want the tension and tone of my "B" to match the tension and tone of the other strings.
That's when things start to get tricky/expensive.
Keep in mind, that it has more to do with the bass than the type of strings you use. That said, I'm an SIT endorser. As for 5ers, I've owned Sadowskys, and Fenders in the past, but have been most pleased with the string to string continuity of my MusicMan.
And start thinking of owning a DINGWALL!!!
Might eventually, although Cliff and I are slowly starting to work on the details for 36"-33" 6er...possibly with Ken Smith electronics....although I currently have a 34" scale Rami 6 on order.
Even though my comfort zone lies with 5str Dignwalls, I've been using more and more the 6str Dignwalls I own, so I understand your 6str approach
Dingwall may be on the list eventually, but I figured I'd test the waters with something a tad more familiar. I can always get some sort of semi-hollow Prima later, eh? I'll be using it as an excuse to get something with fanned frets and the Ken Smith sound.
+1 on what has been said so far.
My Bongo 5 has the best B of any bass I have played. The intonation is perfect up to and above the 12th fret. It is tight, clear, and focused, and matches the other strings well. Bass construction, setup and string type all play a role here.
I agree with all of the (general) advice given here...
I own all Lakland 5 bangers (5 out of my 7 basses are 5 string) and I feel these are the best in the business.....they pride themselves on the the quality and character of their B string....it is very present and playble all the way down the neck...I do not often go there but when I do....watch out!
I played a low C Sunday in church and it just rumbled....
the necks are 35" scales which has alot to do with the sound.....
I have played other "big name brand" 5 stringed basses and they did not have it for me....
As with any bass - try a few and see what works best for you and the music you play!!!
Well, there's a lot of speculatin and voodoo about what causes any particular bass to have a good B string sound, and that's one conception of what "makes" a good B string. Another conception is how does one define a good B string. For me, the definition of a "good low B string" is that it sounds like the rest of the bass, and that it feels enough similar to the other strings that I don't have to make big changes in my technique. It's a different instrument, so it's foolish to expect not to have to make changes, but I don't want to have to attack the B string harder or softer in order to make it work.
The critical factor is that its sound is integrated with the rest of the strings. Too many 5-string basses sound like the B string is an afterthought instead of the same as the other strings.
What physical aspects make that happen? I think neck stability is a big factor. The B string has a lot of energy in it and a flexible neck will be adversely affected that whipping around. I've played a lot of 5's since the first one I played (in the '80s- a Peavey DynaBass 5) and I'm not real confident asserting that it takes a 35" scale to do what I want. But, my favorite 5's are all 35" scales. I suspect however that it's the neck design more than the extra inch.
For me, it's also a NON-tapered B. Once I switched from a tapred B to a non-tapered one, I've been much happier.
I think the way it's played can also factor into it. The attack can make a huge difference. I've seen and heard players who play 8th not rocker tunes on the Low B and it sounds good and you can make it out. I've also heard guys that play it the same way and it's total mud. And both guys were using the same bass with the same strings in this particular instance.
Very good points. All too often, there isn't much difference in the 4 vs. 5 string variants with some companies. It's not hard to get a good low E, but a good B takes some involvment, and a great B takes serious skill.
I understand what you mean about the tapered strings. I have them on my 35" scale Conklin, but my gut tells me that they might get a little rumbly on other basses with less than stellar construction.