Floppy B

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by John Webb, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. John Webb

    John Webb Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    So I have an old ESP MV that I recently started playing. I am a four string player but there are several things that I like about this bass:

    1. It reduces left hand shifting greatly in many cases. This helps as I'm getting older with hand stiffness.
    2. It has beautiful tone.

    The one thing that is somewhat annoying is the floppiness of the B string. Is there a way to reduce this? New or particular brand of strings?
  2. A few things I've learned based on my own experience...
    • A hex-core low B seems to work better than a round-core as the hex-core stiffness tends to keep it from flopping too much.
    • The low B on my Yamaha seems to sound clearer with better definition when I use a lighter touch.
    • There is a limit to how thick and stiff a low B can be before it starts to lose tonality.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  3. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    You could buy a separate higher gauged B string plus your usual 4 string set. If you are playing your usual gauge in a 5 string set, I'd recommend that you persevere and adjust your touch to it. None of the gauges on the B are particularly tight IME, compared to a usual E string, it will always feel that much softer. You can adjust.
  4. This is exactly what I've been doing.

    For example...
    GHS Pressurewound 40-96 with GHS Progressive 130B.
    GHS Super Steels 40-102 with 126B (instead of the default factory set with 44-106).
    GHS Bassics 40-102 with 130B (instead of the default factory set with 44-106).
    DR Lo-Riders 40-100 with 125B (instead of the default 120B in the factory set).
  5. Gsnorgathon


    Jan 15, 2020
    Sea Addle
    I've heard wild rumors that a thicker core wire will make for a stiffer string. Trying to find that info might well require directly asking the manufacturer.
  6. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    The roundcore Hi beam 125B string are stiff enough and solid tone.
  7. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I assume the instrument has had a setup and everything? Because sometimes that slight movement of the truss rod can make all the difference.

    As for strings, the world is your oyster. DR's DDT strings are great. Because they're made with thicker cores for drop tuning, you can get the feel of a heavier gauge string with the playability of a lighter gauge.

    I feel similar to GHS Boomers. A 100 Boomer E-string feels as stuff is most other brands' 105 E-strings, because Boomers tend to have thicker cores.

    The thing with these 1990s basses is that low B's were all over the place, even on premium instruments because 5-strings were just coming into their own. In many of those cases, taperwound B strings just sang better; Bass Player magazine was always singing the praises of those. So perhaps a taperwound B string might work on this bass. Yes, taperwounds have inherent issues of their own (they can be a pain to intonate on the higher frets) but it's still a thought.
  8. As well as the things mentioned (including playing with a lighter touch), playing closer to the bridge helps as well (and evens out the tone a bit if the B is particularly deep)
  9. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I've had good luck with DR Lo Riders. Both the nickel and stainless have a similar feel with the right amount of resistance that keeps them from being floppy but not overly stiff.
  10. A good point about the core SIZE, not just the core TYPE, making a difference in certain applications.

    Regarding "tapered B vs. non-tapered B"...

    Something I've learned through many experiments during the last couple of years is "it all depends" as to which works better on any given bass.

    For example...
    I've been using GHS Progressive (Alloy 52 roundwound) 130B with GHS Pressurewound (Alloy 52 rollerwound) 40-96 on my Yamaha TRBX505. The exposed core on the Progressive 130B seems to work better on this particular bass than the Pressurewound non-tapered 128B with better clarity, definition and sustain.

    Meanwhile, I just tried the Sadowsky Blue Label SS rounds 45-130T on my son's Ibanez SR-1205E and found the tapered low B to be less than satisfactory as it sounded mushy and undefined. I believe it has to do with the design of the bridge on this particular bass that had too much of the tapered portion extend beyond the saddle.

    This same bass is now wearing DR SS Lo-Riders (40-100) with a non-tapered 125B, which sounds better than the Sadowsky 130B with more punch and definition, not to mention it feels tighter despite the smaller gauge, thanks to a (presumably) larger hex core, while the Sadowsky 130B felt "floppy" in comparison.
    Dincrest likes this.
  11. John Webb

    John Webb Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    There is a 0.125 on there now. The bass was set up by a pro a few years back. Don't know what brand strings they are but they are round wounds and probably Fenders since that's what I use on my PJ and J.
  12. John Webb

    John Webb Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Also my compressor helps with the definition/clarity but of course not the floppiness.
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    For less floppiness, one or both of these:
    A different construction for more stiffness.
    Larger gauge for more tension.
    If the gauge is large enough, it will certainly have more tension, or 'feel less floppy', than an E. Have you tried a .145?
    Equal tension BE pairs are approximately:
    .120 .090
    .125 .095
    .135 .100
    .140 .105
    .145 .110
    For equal tension with the E you need a gauge larger than you might think, because we are so used to typical sets with low tension Bs.
    John Webb likes this.