Grounding issue with black beauties

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Santinotafarell, Jul 11, 2021.


  1. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell

    Jan 24, 2013
    Hi,
    I have a nash pb63 ( a 60s style p bass..) which i have strung with rotosound rounds. Plays fine, sounds great. I recently switched to black beauties, coated strings) and now there is some sort of grounding issue. The pole pieces are very sensitive and begin to hiss when touched, enough to make recording and live playing a no go. Is there a way i can use the black beauties and fix the issue myself?
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Black Beauties are coated, so they do not make metal to metal contact with your bridge, therefore they do not ground.

    The only coated strings I've used that are conductive are DR Dragon Skins.
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    You need to find a way to ground yourself. Normally you would do that when you touch the strings, but the coating is preventing contact with the metal of the string. You could try a grounding wristband like this:
    upload_2021-7-11_14-24-41.png

    with the end clipped to metal on the bridge.
     
  4. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Weird! Elixir strings don't have this issue, and those are definitely coated!
     
    landrybass likes this.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Actually, though they are coated they can be grounded if the ball end of the string comes into contact with the bridge. If the strings are through-body, then there may not be any electrical contact with the bridge unless the mounting ferrules are grounded (highly unusual).
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    But unless you are touching the bridge then they won’t be grounded because the strings are not conductive and your hands can’t ground them.
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    You've got it backwards. When you touch the strings you ground yourself to the bass, not the other way around.
     
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Right. Black Beauties are coated, so you're never touching the strings so you're never grounded.
     
  9. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Then why isn't that the case with all coated strings?
     
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    See post #2. I have tested a lot of them but not all of course.

    This is also why Roger Sadowsky does not like coated strings. He wrote an article about this very subject.

    Guest Column - Coated Strings: The Uncoated Truth
     
    Geri O and Luigir like this.
  11. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Well, I only use Elixir strings on guitar, and the nanowebs don't cause any issues. I don't use them on bass, though. You'd think that string makers would think about grounding when designing coated strings. I guess Elixir did.
     
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    The Elixir's I have used are not conductive and therefore can cause hum. But I have not used any of their newest strings. The last time I used them on bass was when the Steels first came out.
     
  13. vaesto

    vaesto

    Jun 21, 2010
    Part one: scratch-off the coating at the breaking point over the saddles to make good electrical contact between bridge and strings. Part two: connect yourself to the bridge with grounding wristband or other comfortable way.

    P.S. At the time I've used Black Beauties my bas was equipped with active EMG DC pickups which don't need the string grounding.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  14. David76112

    David76112

    Feb 19, 2012
    America
    Eve more reason for me to never use coated strings. I had never thought of this factor, I was just not attracted to the price.
     
    Luigir likes this.
  15. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I use them on a well shielded Strat, and it only has the natural hum you get from single coils. It goes away if you turn right or left as all Strats with single coils do.
     
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    On a Strat, the upper 3 strings are not coated and so they are conductive which is likely how you are grounding yourself. The lower could be conductive as well, I don't know. I've got a set on my acoustic that I'll check but it's not where I am right now :)
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  17. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thanks everyone. I remember playing a passive squire p with black beauties that sounded great that did not have this issue in guitar center. Why does it work with certain basses? Appreciate the solutions but ill probably just go back to the rotosounds if it requires wearing a wristband would nylon tapewounds also have this issue??
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Yes.
     
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  19. Liko

    Liko

    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    They may cost twice as much, but they last about four times as long. With my "acid hands", coated is a must. Only problem is D'Addario discontinued my favorites, their EXPs, and they don't make the XTs or XSes in super-long scale for my 35" fiver. So, DR Silver Stars it is.

    Coated is also a must on skinny-stringers, after just a couple weeks in my hands the plain steel strings are a tetanus shot just waiting to happen. Coated skinny-string sets are only about $10-$12 each and they last much longer (months/years vs weeks).
     
    David76112 likes this.
  20. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell

    Jan 24, 2013
    Back to rounds for me then, too bad they sound and feel great! Guess i'll have to wait for some one to make a coated string that can ground... LOL
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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