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Fretless bass with almost no sustain in all the E string, is that normal??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cheche32, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. cheche32


    Jun 25, 2013
    Mexico City
    I bought my first fretless bass a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that it lacked sustain and that the strings were too tight, but since i bought it new I tought it was normal for a fretless bass, however, looking at some videos in the web I noticed that no one have this issues.

    I use the standard tuning, I´m new with fretless and I still use the lines to guide me.

    The G and D strings are pretty normal, a little too tight but still normal, A string is tight and my notes start to die quickly, but the E string is brutal, I can´t even do slides because the note lasts two "frets" tops, its like I have a strong palm mute all the time.

    The first time I noticed this problem was when i plugged my bass with my pedalboard and my effects seemed to do nothing, or weird stuff, like not working at all in the A and E strings, in the G and D they sound normal

    The strings are flatwounds, the same that came with the bass as new, the bass its from 2005, some people have told me that the strings are too old, but since the flatwounds are pretty expensive in my country, I dont want to buy a new ones if the problem isn´t that

    Here are two videos I made when I tought that the problem was with my effects:


  2. My first guess would be the strings. I had the same issue with some roundwounds - they were going and the first thing I noticed was no sustain on the E and diminished sustain on the A.
  3. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Spector-Dingwall-Aguilar-DR-Tech 21-Darkglass
    Those are some DEAD strings...you can either bring them to boil in a pot of water or leave them soaking in de-natured alcohol overnight to clean them if you don't want to invest in a new set.

    Also, excessive relief/bow in the neck can cause notes to sustain less; Family Man used to play with an excessive amount of relief for exactly that reason, it helped him cop an upright vibe while having to mute less.
  4. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    You might need a little relief on the neck and/or just raise the E string a little bit.
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    What bass do you have and do you have any idea what brand of strings and their gauges (thickness)? I agree with others here that you should put new strings on the bass, and as you say they are real "tight", it sounds like they have too much tension for what you want. There are some excellent low tension strings available but you will have to make adjustments (truss rod, nut slot height, bridge saddle height and intonation) on the bass to get it set up to how you want it to feel. Do you know how to do this or do you have a tech who is knowledgeable in getting this done for you to your liking? We can help you learn to do all this yourself, it really is not all that difficult, mostly turning screws, and taking measurements with a small steel ruler.
  6. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Bite the bullet and get some new strings. That's best advice I can give you.
  7. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    I would start with a pro setup including new strings.
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Yeah... Sorry to say, but if you're going to own a car, eventually you gotta buy new tires. Likewise, if you're gonna play bass, eventually, you'll have to buy new strings.
    And it certainly seems strings are the issue, so be glad it's probably a (relatively) inexpensive, self-service fix, and enjoy the glorious new sound your bass will produce with the new strings.