Floppy B Strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Claude, Aug 23, 2000.

  1. Claude


    Jul 31, 2000
    Fender basses seem to get the most bad press for loose, saggy b strings, and I must admit that I tried a DR Heartfield 5, an MTD Beast 5 and a DeArmond Pilot 5 last week, and I can't disagree that the Fender had the loosest B. However, wouldn't that be a function of strings and setup, and hence under the control of the player? I am looking to buy my first 5 string before too long, and I want to be sure I learn which characteristics can't be easily changed. Please let me know what you have experienced in this regard.
  2. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    My experience is that my MIM Jazz 5 has a very tight B string with none of the "floppiness" that I keep hearing about.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    "DR Heartfield 5, an MTD Beast 5 and a DeArmond Pilot 5", which one was the Fender? (just kidding).

    What I'm seeing very consistently when people complain about floppy Bs is that they expect to be able to play them exactly the same way they play the rest of the strings. On some basses this is possible but not on most. I don't look at using a lighter touch on the bigger string as being that big of a deal. To expect a big string to work the same with low action as your other strings is kind of misguided, to me. It doesn't take much to get a big sound from a .128, it's all about control.

    I have several fives and none of them are floppy in the least. Then again I'm playing that particular bass and not an ideal of what the "perfect" bass should be.
  4. Bass Hound

    Bass Hound

    Aug 17, 2000
    I've been playing a Carvin LB75 with flatwounds for six years and I don't know anything about a 'floppy B'.
    I don't play the B any differently than the other strings either.
    I bought the 5 string specifically for its lower range, but quickly adapted using the low B on the 4th fret for stuff in Eb etc. I used to dislike songs in C, C#/Db, D, and Eb because the root was higher than the rest of the scale.
    Now, almost anything I play, the low B gets used somewhere.
    If it is PERFECTLY tuned, the open B even sounds good.
    BTW, I play nearly every week in a couple of different churches and spend at least 4 hrs practising per week and I only wind up replacing the flatwounds once a year!
  5. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    The new Fender MIM Jazz 5 string that I just tried out had a very floppy B string. I also tried a Peave Cirrus that had a much tighter B string.
  6. My B is a little floppy, but that's okay because I use it primarily for slap, and with what I have it sounds hella cool.

    Maybe you should have different strings? I gots ta Ernie Ball Super Slinkys. Work very well.

    Rock on
  7. Laker


    Mar 23, 2000
    Try a Lakland 5 string. I hammer on the "B" as hard as any other string on the bass and it just plain sings. For my style of playing (no slapping please) I haven't played a more stable "B" string.
  8. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    Some of you may know about the Warrior G-Factor bridge stringing system
    If not here is a little info on the invention .The standard Fender scale of 34" is just a little too short to give the proper tension on a 125-130 gauge B-String. thats why most new builders have gone to a 35" scale.
    But By adding to the TOTAL length of the string (beyond the nut and bridge ) you can effectively increase the tension at a given pitch .
    this is something I learned from working on Jazz style arch top guitars .
    Most of the older jazz boxes have trapeze tail pieces that add a lot of length to the strings . this wasn't given much thought, it was just the way they did it back then.
    but some of you may remember the Epiphone Freqensator tail piece. that used a short portion of the bridge for the bass strings.
    this would give the bass strings a tighter feel and allow the player to use a lighter string gauge to help prevent neck warpage. It worked but no one really cared because everyone was using 12-60 gauge strings.
    when I applied this same idea to a 5 string bass it was instantly apparent that this idea was perfect for the floppy low B syndrome.hence the G-Factor has a 35" feel but has a true 34" scale. unfortunately the G-Factor won't retro fit to all bass styles.
  9. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    BTW when Sheldon Dingwall saw this G-Factor at the 1995 NAMM show he and I spent the rest of the nite together talking about it and he asked me if it was for sale.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Do you think that stringing the B through the body helps with this at all? I did find a slight improvement, when I strung my Fender Roscoe Beck 5 though the body rather than through the bridge; but I wondered if I was just noticing other aspects and their impact on the sound.

    As Brad mentioned, I tend to accept that the B is going to have to be treated differently as it is so thick in comparison. I suppose, for those who are unhappy with their B string, they could try lighter gauge, but I tend to prefer a balanced set and wouldn't want to go any lighter, just for this.

    I also noticed that Yamaha's new TRBs have adopted the same sort of bridge as the Dingwall's - individual units per string, but I'm not sure this made the B string any better than basses with a normal one-piece bridge. Difficult to judge though as the example I tried, had loose bridge units for the B and G strings.
  11. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    stringing through the body is a solution not because of the body but because of the extra distance the string must travel to the anchor point.
    the trick is . if you have a Fender with the string ferrules in the back of the body then the string must make a hard turn over the bridge which nullifies the extra length you should be gaining by stringing through the body in the first place.
    ie... I have played all nite on my Fender Tele bass with 1 of the balls missing on a string and the thing stayed in tune all nite . as long as the tension was on the string the hard angle break kept the string from coming out of the body. Of course there was NO tension on the 1.75" of string that was inside the wood.
    If you can increase the TOTAL string Tension over the TOTAL length of the string even by only 2"s then you can increase the Tension of the string at your given pitch (low B)
    The most novel way of doing this was a guy took a Fender style replacment neck that was reverse headstock and used it to make a 5 string with the B being the longest string in stead of the shortest.
  12. Claude


    Jul 31, 2000
    I'm getting a little fuzzy here on string length - the length of the string as it relates to pitch is that portion from breakover of the nut to the breakover of the bridge. Warrior, are you saying that tension can be altered by changing the length of the string beyond these points? I'm trying to get it clear in my head the relationship between length, tension, gauge of string. Are they independant, interdependant, or co-dependant? Are they strung out?
  13. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    I'm saying the total Length of the string from tuning key post to ball anchor point.( provided there are no hard bends in the string path, such as Fenders thru body stringing in the REAR of the bass)
    the Tension of the string is relative to the total length vs the pitch and gauge and vice versa
    I know this seems strange but a good way to think about it is those mini guitars. they have a short or scale length and if you put a standard gauge of string on them they feel like rubberbands, right? but, if you increase the Gauge of string then they start to feel more normal.
    because Tension, Gauge, Pitch and Length are all interelated you can vary one or all of them to achieve your desired end results.
    if you don't believe me, just ask a suspension bridge builder.
  14. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    I heard that the Ibanez BTB series has one of the tightest B string.. I tried out a Ibanez BTB 4 string, the sound was nice and the strings were all nice and tight!!

  15. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    Almost 9 years later...

    I am new to 5, and have both of these basses (although one will be sold as soon as I know which one I like better). I can't honestly say one has a floppier B than the other, despite one post saying the Fender V has the floppiest B and another saying the Ibanez BTB has the tightest.

    I have .130s on both and they were both professionally set-up at The Bass Place, in Tempe. They feel similarly tight. Obviously, there is a huge difference in the sound of the two, but that is because the basses themselves are so different. So maybe a top-notch set-up is the difference...
  16. I'm sorry, I really am, but this is total bunk. If the scale length is fixed by the nut and bridge at, say, 34", you can add FEET of extra string length beyond the nut and/or bridge and it will have NO EFFECT on the string tension at pitch. Simple physics says so.
    Don't believe it? Try this:
    Take a Fender style bass, with 4 tuners in a row.
    Put a G string on the G tuner and tune to pitch.
    Then attach a fish scale to the string at the 12th fret position.
    Pull the scale sideways 1 inch and record the 'weight' measurement.

    Take the string off and put it on the E tuner and tune to pitch(G).
    Measure again with the fish scale.
    Record the 'weight' measurement. The two measurements are the same, exactly.
  17. taygunov

    taygunov Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I have to agree with the BTB statement. The B on my BTB is tighter than any other bass I've played.
  18. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    The tension is determind by the string not the bass it is installed on. The tension is the same whether it 's on a 2x4 or a broomstick.
  19. Well, if you increase scale length you WILL increase tension of a given string.
  20. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Talk about a thread revival! I didn't notice until I got to the end that the original post was in 2000! I even went over to the Warrior website to search for the G-Factor bridge to see what it was all about and didn't see anything. I guess it never caught on.