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Hz of the low B string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by johnsonabq, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. johnsonabq

    johnsonabq Watch out where the huskies go... Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    Didn't know just where to post this so I went with the first place.

    What is the frequency (hz) of the open low B string?
  2. Catbuster


    Aug 25, 2010
    Louisville, KY.
    40, I think
  3. DerTeufel


    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Low E is 41, Low B is 31
  4. trblWthTrebles


    Jan 8, 2012
  5. johnsonabq

    johnsonabq Watch out where the huskies go... Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks guys!
  6. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    N.B., 30.8677 hz is the frequency of the fundamental. Multiply by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, etc. for the other partials.
    pacojas likes this.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    right; you really get almost no 30.8Hz out of that low B; you get a lot more of the octave up, 61Hz.

    that's why 4-string EUBs, which seem to put out a good bit of the actual fundamental 41Hz low E, can sound deeper than a regular 5-string electric bass.
  8. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Are you talking at the bass's output or at the speaker?
  9. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Well the open B on the fives I have played most certainly sounds lower than the open E. So, the open E must not be putting out much at 40 Hz either which makes sense since they are only 10 Hz apart. I don't have a fiver but I can certainly connect my four to a spectrum analyzer and see what the open E looks like. For grins I could "drop tune" the E string to a B too. I've done it before and I know it will flop around like a fish out of water but it will make a sound....

  10. johnsonabq

    johnsonabq Watch out where the huskies go... Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    When I play and I go to a low D, C, or B I know it. And so does everyone else. That's why I play them (5 strings). It may take a little EQing and the right instrument/string combo but those notes always sing out for me. YMMV
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  11. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Both. Most cabs (even deep-tuned boxes from guys like Acme) aren't flat that far down, and spectrum analysis shows that electric basses are far from flat in the lower register, 4-string or otherwise. Ditto for just about any musical instrument, except the occasional speaker-busting synth.

    This doesn't matter that much, as long as the upper harmonics come through clearly enough. This is due to the way the ear fills in the missing content.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    To understand this a little better and how it works, check out this thread about waterfall plots. Its now become an informative TB classic.


    We usually end up discussing this in the amps section more than basses, but the reality is that there's a whole ton of psycho-acoustics going on in our instruments where we hear the harmonics above fundamental and our brains fill in what we expect to hear. This is the heart of some of the great DSP that's becoming more frequent and available in the music world.

    If you really want some more fundamental in your sound, get a bass with a longer scale length, like my B-strings that are 37".
    MDBass likes this.
  13. johnsonabq

    johnsonabq Watch out where the huskies go... Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks BurningSkies, that was quite informative. I had no idea what my simple question would start (again). I see how this fits into the amps section. Also shows how my Modulus 35" scale will do better than my Fender Jazz 34" scale on those low notes. Can't wait to be able to take them both on stage and see what my ears tell me.
  14. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Yeah, I found that thread on my own by doing a web search. Thanks for posting the link even if it is too late for me.

    It would be hard to summarize 18 pages of signal plus noise. The log scale rectangular frequency plots would suggest that while the fundamental of low notes, E/B/various others, is often lower than the higher harmonics the difference is in the quarter power range, not the nonexistent range. Quarter power is not that huge a difference to the ear but of course that ignores the other family sized can of worms: whether the fundamental makes it through the amp and out the speakers. On many acoustic instruments the fundamental is weaker than the harmonics by similar amounts so this is not an uncommon situation by any means. In that thread you will see that one or more EUB's were tested and found to have a very different spectrum with a strong fundamental and low harmonics. This may be true of a double bass as well though no one measured one as far as I noticed. The assertion was made that the scale length difference accounts for the tonal difference but I do not believe nearly enough work was done to support that.

    The "waterfall" plots of frequency versus time make the difference look larger but I suspect most of them are linear scale which does not represent what the ear hears very well. Log scale plots do a good job of that and I could only see one waterfall plot near the end of the thread where the poster mentioned that he used a log scale.

    Then there is one rectangular plot comparing string gauges which shows the fundamental being 20-30 dB lower than the second which certainly puts the fundamental near the nonexistent range. Oddly enough the same poster reported a 6 dB difference in an earlier plot with the same bass and one of the same strings! I don't know what to make of that, the poster did not comment on the discrepancy so I will chalk it up to experimental error.

    There is a long discussion of whether you could hear the low B as a low B if the fundamental truly is not there or is very, very weak. It sounds like nonsense to assert that you can but I will side with those (including audio researchers apparently) who say that you can indeed. In simple terms the reason is this: if you play a low B and remove the fundamental entirely with a deep notch filter all that is left is the harmonics and they are spaced 31 Hz apart. If you now play the B an octave up you will hear the fundamental since the filter will not remove it and the harmonics will be spaced 62 Hz apart. Is it possible that the human ear/brain system can reconstruct (ie "hear") the missing 31 Hz fundamental in the first case from the information conveyed by the harmonic series? Even apart from the support of audio researchers I would hazard to say that it is possible since I know from many years as a visual amateur astronomer that the eye/brain system is quite capable of similar tricks.

    So I think that Walter's statement about the output of your bass may be a bit exaggerated if you look right at the output jack. Whether it is exaggerated or not at the output of your speakers is another question whose answer depends on your amp and speakers. And I favor the opinion that even if the fundamental is missing you may still "hear" it.

    I guess I can practice playing bass tonight instead of playing with my spectrum analyzer....

  15. Tigers can produce sounds at 18 Hz. No B-string needed. Scientist even said that infrasounds that low can even paralyze you for a split second.
  16. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I used to design and build car stereo systems back in high school. People would get all hung up on putting in the biggest speakers they could fit in their car and hitting them with high wattage. All that typically produced was noise OUTSIDE the car (which was the desired effect in most cases).

    I used to take a great deal of pride in designing an enclosure that worked with the car using multiple smaller drivers (10's seemed to work best, but I did a few systems with 8's that were amazing too).

    Our bass rigs have to overcome a lot of factors. The room being the biggest of them. The room itself is an enclosure, just as much as the cabinet is. If the room won't produce a 30 cycle note, then all the EQing on the planet won't help much and will probably result in a very muddy sound or produce a big hump in your sound somewhere else.

    The practice room in my house has terrible acoustics. I can hit the low D and while I can see the string moving, and see the speakers moving, all I hear is "thud". Sounds like a dead spot on my bass. I know it's not, because when I play through headphones or at any other location, the note rings. It's also the same with either my 5 or 6 string. I also know that energy is going somewhere, because I constantly rattle one of the light bulbs in that room loose. I'll be playing along and the room will get dimmer...low and behold...the light bulb has come loose.....again.

    I have two large tool boxes and some metal storage cabinets in that room that sound like the Tin Man when he first faced the Wizard of Oz as I play.
  17. flameworker


    Jun 15, 2014
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania
    one day....
    Good stuff. While speaker shopping I noticed some kappa 15's from emminence go to 38hz, but the ones recommended for bass cabs only went down to 68. Even different models of kappa 15 were 48,56 strange. Thank goodness for bins.
  18. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    I think I'm gonna start downtuning my bass...
  19. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Tiger tuning? I like it. :thumbsup:
    Felken and DeliriumTremens like this.
  20. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    It depends on whether your reference frequency (A4) is 440 Hz or something else.

    Here's a handy calculator: Pitch-to-Frequency Calculator

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