# floppy b string question

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by allan grossman, Dec 13, 2001.

1. ### allan grossman

Sep 8, 2001
surreal city, usa
Can someone explain floppy B strings to me? I really don't understand why if we use identical strings (so string tension is identical) and an identical scale length (so vibrating string length is the same) that there can be so much difference between basses.

My Lakland and Cirrus are both 35" basses with solid B strings. A few months ago I had a 34" SR406 with a really solid B string but the 34" Fury 6 I had was floppy as all get-out.

I really don't understand this - and I have a pretty solid physics background. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that if the string is anchored at both ends, something else must be bending to contribute to that floppiness - maybe the neck?

Any insight someone can share would be appreciated.

thanks -

allan

2. ### Joris

A B-string has a higher mass than other strings, therefor it will have a larger amplitude with the same amount of vibration energy. IOW, a fat string will move more than a thin string.

Furthermore, the stiffness of the neck comes into play. So a weak neck will bend more to the vibrations of the strings and dampen the lowest frequencies before the string starts to rattle.

Action (string height and neck tension) is another factor. With the string closer to the fretboard, it's likely to hit the frets sooner.

3. ### allan grossman

Sep 8, 2001
surreal city, usa
That's pretty much what I figured, Joris - if all other things are equal than it seems to me that it's the neck that must be moving around.

I understand the higher mass and therefore higher amplitude of string vibrations - what I didn't understand was the difference in string tension if all other things are equal - and you pretty much answered that.

thanks -

allan

4. ### AllodoX

The bigger the saddle on your bridge is, the more solid the b-string will be..

5. ### Joris

Ibanez basses are known for their low fat sound, yet their newer series use monorail bridges, i.e. one small bridge (and saddle) per string.

6. ### merlin

*tosses coin* hmmm sorry buddy, i'm just going to try this in strings. I mean yeah it can go in here but its fundamentally a string question.

Merls

7. ### allan grossman

Sep 8, 2001
surreal city, usa
<b>merlin said...</b>

*tosses coin* hmmm sorry buddy, i'm just going to try this in strings. I mean yeah it can go in here but its fundamentally a string question.

Yeah, I tossed the same coin and figured it was a bass construction question. Doesn't matter to me, though - people will get it in either place

cheers,

allan

8. ### AllodoX

If the string has a big " pad " where it sits on on the bridge, the sound will be fatter.

it's not the width of the saddle, but the length of the saddle...

e.g. if the saddle is a 0.5x0.5 cm one, it will sound ok..

but if it was a 0.5x1 cm one.. where the string would lay on the 1 cm side.. e.g. 1 cm of saddle under the length of the string.. it will sound a lot fatter.

that's why most cheap basses sound like sh.ite... because they have a very thin bridge with small sadles.. not much contact, little resonance from the wood.. crappy sound..

see the picture...

9. ### Joris

Yes, I see

Never thought of it that way. Thanks for drawing it!

10. ### AllodoX

Ofcourse i meant " bad " resonance in the picture..

grmbl mini-notebook keyboards

11. ### Marty Forrer

Sep 27, 2000
Napier, New Zealand.
Some B strings are tighter than others. The April 96 issue of Bass Player had a shootout of strings that, amongst other things, rated the strings for tension. I believe this article is still archived at the BP site.