help! The B string on my Toby Pro...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FaultLine423, Oct 21, 2000.

  1. FaultLine423


    Aug 27, 2000 about half as loud as the rest of the strings on my 6 string. This is a real downer considered ALL of my money went into this bass. The damn sound of my fingers plucking the string is is louder than the notes plucked. I raised the action pretty high today, probably .5" above the 12th fret. Even then, the note of the open string is barely audible. I guess I've learned my lesson about ordering basses direct without playing them first, but of course, being 15 years of age and not having 3 grand for a high end bass, this was what I could afford. I would be EXTREMELY grateful if someone could give me advice on how to fix this problem, to just get the B string to be as loud as the rest of the strings. Is there something I could replace, something I could modify? Thank you.
  2. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Higher Action Is NOT the way to go if you want to fix that problem(Unless you have lots of fret buzz)To get a Louder sound you need to raise the pickups , and balance them so you get an even volume for all the strings.
    Rarely, but it happens, its the string that is actually causing that uneven volume. Try changing strings. I was playing a bass once,, that had a Dead E string.. that didnt sound at all.

    Im 20.. and neither have 3 grand to spend on a bass.
    My budget is normally up-to $600 for a Bass, thats why I bought a Toby Pro too.

    [Edited by lfabara on 10-21-2000 at 02:01 PM]
  3. Ifabara is right faultline, don't raise the strings! That puts them further from the magnet in the pickup and that means less signal to the preamp. Reset your action and try this: Take the B string off, coil it into itself a couple of times and put it in your oven. Yep, that's right! Put it in your oven. Let it preheat to 450 degrees and sit in there for at least 30 minutes. Take it out, let it cool, and restring your bass. Don't laugh, in certain situations this works! If it doesn't then you have a bad B string and should get another.
  4. FaultLine423


    Aug 27, 2000
    Thanks for the suggestions. However, I think the problem is different than what I had made it out to be earlier. Since Wednesday, my 6 string had been in my band's tuning (all strings down a whole step). So all the strings were a little looser than usual. Here's my theory, which I'm not sure is true or not. The B string becomes the floppiest string of all 6 when tuned down, therefore giving out less tone. Right now the bass is in standard tuning, because I had my bass lesson today, and the string is pretty good compared with the rest of them. One problem remains, however. I'm still gonna have to tune my bass down to practice with the band. How can I maintain decent B string tone when it's tuned down to A?
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Use a larger gauge string.

    If you are going to tune down a whole step, the only way to make the string more taut is to switch to a heavier gauge.

    But if you change, you might have to adjust the truss rod to compensate for the higher tension.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The simple answer is not to tune down - if you have a 6-string, there is absolutely no need to do this. You can always find somewhere to play the lines and the 6-string gives you more options for transposing. Your guitarists lowest string is E, presumably down a tone, but you have a B string and can go down a tone from E on the B string - no problem! If you have a "pattern" to play, just shift it around, but generally remember that when they are playing E, you start at D on the B string - it's not that hard once you get used to it.

    As others have said raising the strings will probably make your situation worse and the closer you get to the setup which the bass was designed for, the better will be the sound you get out of it. 6-strings do often suffer though, from problems with sound balance and the lower end of the range even more so. Better pickups can help with this, but not always.
  7. FaultLine423


    Aug 27, 2000
    that would work, Bruce Lindfield, except that we have some songs that require the low B to be tuned to an A. For this, I figure I'll get a new set of strings and see how that sounds before thinking about new pickups. If my band played in standard tuning, I wouldn't have a problem, but oh well, guess there's nothing I can do to change that. I'll lower the action, first of all, and try raising the pickups (which I'll probably have the local music store do), but I think before making modifications to the bass itself, I'll change strings. Any suggestions for a good brand?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    We have people saying that they can't hear low B or rather that nobody can hear low B - so surely you can play the A an octave up?
  9. Bruce is dead on it. Most rock bands I've heard might just as well not have had that low B string, 'cos those real low notes dont cut thru. All you hear is a mushy rumble. Hey I play 6 string too, so I'm not biased, but when I'm playing in a loud rock situation, I tend to use those real low notes sparingly, for effect. It might sound great to you, standing right in front of your amp, but your audience will hear only unintelligible rumbling. If you're not gigging, but are recording, then similar rules apply. Low bass sounds awesome on studio monitors, and can disappear completely on a regular car stereo or a ghetto-blaster. Moderation is the keyword, long passages of low "A" 1/8th notes will sound terrible. Also, you dont mention what sort of rig you have. How do you know your speaker cab(s) can reproduce those frequencies?
  10. FaultLine423


    Aug 27, 2000
    I have a Sunn 2x15 cabinet, for your info. However, I don't think it's as much the speakers in the cab as it is the bass, which is what I need to improve. I'm probably going to use the lowest notes on the B string very sparingly, but in some songs it is very important that they be heard. All I want to do is be able to let these notes be heard at the same volume as the rest of the notes on the bass, so there's balance, so I'm not exactly sure what to do. Plus, my rhythm guitarrist plays on a 7 string, so those A-based (B string tuned down a whole step) songs, I wanna be able to support his lines strongly.
  11. CTNYC


    Aug 4, 2005
    wondering if any tremendous new technology/ideas have helped with this problem as I am experiencing similar volume drop on 5th string with fender jazz copy i just picked up.

    thanks!! CT :bassist:
  12. spacecanoe


    Aug 6, 2002
    well heres the main problem with almost ALL low B stings on production basses. its a little thing called scale length. thats right boys if your rocking a low B on a 34 inch scale bass it always sounds floppy with low output. The only way to get a real punchy low b is to go 36 inch scale or more. theres a reason the low strings on a piano are so damn long;)

    thats all i got
  13. CTNYC


    Aug 4, 2005
    that makes an incredible amount of sense! Thank you and that helps me understand the physics of this incredible music machine known on this planet as a "bass"....

    Now back to my jumping jacks! :hyper:
  14. Not necessarily true, try telling Sadowsky owners, Zon owners, G and L etc. that their 34" scale is by default "floppy with low output." The scale can and does change feel, but string choice, touch, and set-up can often turn what one considers an awful B string into a great one.

    For those who have trouble on the B, try
    A. higher gauge of B string, ie. changing from a .125 to a .130 or higher.
    B. Get a set up done on the bass, better yet, spend some time here and learn how to do it yourself. Learning how your instrument functions will only improve your relationship and connection with the bass.
    C. Lighten up on your touch, attacking any string really hard will result in a strong note beginning but very little sustain after the fact. Lighter touch even's out the note's duration and often results in a punchier tone.

    All I have for now
  15. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I have a toby pro 5...sounds fine 34"

    Tobais Classic 5... sounds fine 34"

    Sadowsky PJ5...sounds fine 34"

    A step down from B is pretty dang sure you have enough cabinet to reproduce it with out the frequency response falling off?
  16. spacecanoe


    Aug 6, 2002
    dont get me wrong a 34 can do it but its not like a 36 .. a 36 cuts right through..its hard to explain how it sounds till you hear it
  17. Frankly I've never been happy with a B on anything other than a 36". 35's still seem floppy to me.
  18. I don't know if it's possible for failing electronics to affect just the B string but they (the electronics) are a know weakness across the Toby Pro line.

    I just this week installed a Bartolini preamp in mine but the gradual volume loss I experienced over the six months I have owned the bass was consistent over all four strings.
  19. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    To get back to what you guys were saying about using the low B in playing situations, I used to hit low D, Db, C, and even open B as a double stop along with the octave above it, I really liked this effect when I was playing with a low B.
  20. devilstone

    devilstone Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Torrington, CT
    Yeah, as far as floppy, I switched to a higher gauge, but just on my B (Ibanez 6) (single string order) but as far as sound / output, I balance it out (raise it) on the EQ on my amp...

    Good Luck!