Is my fingerboard too soft or should I squeeze more?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Megaknor, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Hello,

    Been lurking for a while, and now 's the time to ask you for advice.

    First of all, I'm not sure whether it fits here or better in the Technique section. But here it goes.

    When I play my bass the sound is so-so, and recently a fellow-bassist told me I would sound a lot better if I squeezed a little harder. I already have a reasonably firm grip on the strings. But then I discovered that when I squeezed the string so hard that it hurt, the sound became a lot louder, with more fundamental and more punch. So eiter 1) my finger pads are too soft or 2) it's the bass fingerboard (or the strings, of course) When I tried this on other basses, I could not reproduce the phenomenon, they did not gain in volume and sound quality when I squeezed more.

    I made a small sound clip (don't pay attention to the hiss)...
    The force used in the right hand is the same, but after the initial four notes I squeeze the string... Big difference, although the mp3 takes away some of the original impact of the difference recorded, too bad.

    So, anybody familiar with the phenomenon? Are there things I should check in either technique or construction of the bass? Could it be the fingerboard?

    Thanks for all the feedback,

    all the best
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Based on it not working on other basses, you might have setup issues with your bass. It could be strings (maybe) or the fingerboard needs dressing. Perhaps the neck is loose or otherwise unstable, even? I've seen this sort of effect in TP when the fingerboard has gotten too thin and flexes away from you when you try to stop the strings.

    As far as squeezing -- don't. You're just going to mess yourself up this way. Most of your effort in depressing the strings should come from the back and arm.

    I would first make a trip to the luthier's. If you don't uncover anything there, I would get this effect in front of a bass teacher or some other bass players for their opinion.

    PS: I don't have a sound card in my PC, so I couldn't check out the clip.
  3. FredH

    FredH Supporting Member

    - RP

    I've got a real thin finger board and I get the same mushy effect in thumb position. Makes playing like tap-dancing on a diving board.
    I would hate to go through the price and time away to install a new FB, is it possible to add some sort of brace from the bottom of the neck heel along the underside of the PB? Anyone ever hear of a fix like this?
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    You would hate to hear your bass sound better and play easier? Try spending some money on yourself and your instrument; it's worth every dollar.
  5. FredH

    FredH Supporting Member

    I'm sure your right, my main problem is that I can't live without my axe for the time it would require, I was quoted about two weeks. I'm currently trying to find an inexpensive bass for outside or dangerous gigs (small bars & party boats). I think when I get that I will do all the repairs I've been dreaming on; new PB, finish touch up, bridge work.

    I'll have to wait I guess until the right time. Until then my thumb callus is the bomb!!! I can put out matches with it.
  6. Thanks for the answers! @Ray Parker, I was thinking in that direction too. See if a luthier can discover some hidden evil.