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Help! Low B thumps, but won't sustain like the other strings.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Coke Kane, Jul 1, 2012.


  1. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    I'm new to the 5 string bass world. Is the low B suppose to only thump? I can't get it to ring out and sustain like the other strings. Please advise. Thank you.
     
  2. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Might be a dead string, but checking pickup height, action, and making sure there are no twists in the strings would be the first thing for me.

    These might help:
     
  3. Richardee62

    Richardee62

    Apr 1, 2011
    Alabama
    I concur!
     
  4. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    If it isn't twisted, it may be a bad string. I recently had a bad one right out of the package. It was the E-string of a set of GHS precision flatwounds. It didn't produce more than "fmp". :crying:
    Before throwing the string away, just check whether it bends sharply over the nut. Fat strings need to be pressed over the nut firmly. Also press them over the saddle, so they follow the curve of the saddle.
     
  5. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    More information?

    String type / bass?
     
  6. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    Fender Jazz Bass 24 V 5-string with DR SS Lo Rider. I like to play the E on the 5th fret of the B string because it sounds deeper, but there's absolutely no sustain like the other strings. One loud initial thumb then it fades quickly.
     
  7. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    B string's too loose - up the gauge
     
  8. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    That's interesting, as when I upped the gauge of my B I got the thump and no sustain - which reinforces my thought that it was a bad string.
     
  9. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Welcome back :D
     
  10. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    What'd you up it to?
     
  11. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Just 135, so nothing drastic - I think the original string I was replacing was probably a 130. No issues at the nut or bridge, checked a few times for twisting, set the witness points and no obvious problems identified - other than the dull thud and the inability to intonate it.

    I ended up having to get a whole new set due to the scarcity of long-scale single Bs over here and got one with a 125 B - it's clear and defined, ringing nice and long. It's left me about 90% sure that it was a bad 135 but the 10% of doubt means I'm very wary of trying that gauge or higher again, even though I was trying to achieve a theoretically sensible balanced tension.
     
  12. grooveypie

    grooveypie

    May 23, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    It was definitely the string man, unless your action was extremely low. I had the same problem when I changed the strings on my fender jazz, but once I raised the action a tad at the bridge that thing rung out for days.
     
  13. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    No, the action was fine and set as I had it before - low-ish, but high enough to avoid any buzzing.
     
  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    So your recent balanced set B didn't work out? This might be down to construction of that brand of B (what brand was it?). If when going from .130 to .135 the number of layers of wrap wire went from 3 to 4 this would dramatically increase stiffness, causing thumpiness. It's essential to find a brand of B that has 3 layers and is made to be flexible, taperwound helps too. I find D'Addario taperwounds good and Circle Ks are apparently ultra flexy. I have used Bs made so stiff that upping the gauge actually doesn't help the tone.
     
  15. Subbed. I've always had this problem with my B string, regardless of the bass or the strings. thought it was just an issue with factory produced instruments.
     
  16. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    This is why I've also always preferred the Fat Beam B string to the Lo Rider B string.
     
  17. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    The bad 135 was a La Bella. I think it was genuinely a bad string (at least I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and sending it back). My old B snapped when I tried to reinstall it and there was no way I'd get a replacement sent from the US in time to play. Given the apparent lack of sing 35"-scale Bs in the UK I had to get a whole new standard set. I chose Dean Markley nickel-plated Blue Steels in 45-60-80-100-125 - not balanced in tension but pretty balanced in sound.

    I don't know whether it makes a difference, given that I think the La Bella was just a bad string, but I went from a good-sounding non-tapered B (I think D'Addario 130 - it was stock) to a bad tapered B (the 135 La Bella) to a good-sounding non-tapered B (the 125 Dean Markley).

    I'm very happy with the new set and not in any rush to try a thicker B any time soon.
     

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