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Is there not a cure?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kmay, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Hey, so I put together a fender jazz plus V over the last week.
    I bought the bass off CL. It had all original everything except the truss rod was broken. So, instead of digging into that fix and since I got the stuff cheap enough, it was still in my budget to just buy a new neck. Which I got from a fellow TBer.
    Now, had to cut the neck pocket a bit (I used a small file and an xacto knife) and the neck bolted up nice and tight!
    Now, plugged it in and am not exactly satisfied.
    The low B string is lacking definition and punch, especially compared to the other strings.
    So, I said all of that, to ask this:
    Is there not a cure for a loose B string?
    I mean what causes it?
    I am not specifically talking about my instrument, but 5 strings in general...
    Will replacing the bridge, neck, tuning keys with quality parts not fix any B string problems that could arise? Does the tone wood of the body or thickness of it have an affect? I don't see how it would....
    Just curious if the builders of talkbass use specific components on their builds to ensure this doesn't happen....and if these parts can be added to existing setups?
  2. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    You could start by trying new strings. You could try the same gauge as you use now, but get a heavier B string. That will increase the tension a bit.

    Different brands also tend to feel slightly different.

    Having that said, the B string will always act slightly different from the other strings. It will for instance give you a slightly muffled sound at higher frets compared to all the other strings. This can be used to your advantage, though. :)
  3. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    A flabby B-string is generally due to the string not being tense enough to ring with definition. That can happen for a number of reasons.

    First, make sure the neck is stable. On some instruments, it can take some time for the neck to "settle", so frequent truss rod adjustments may be necessary for the first few days or couple of weeks.

    The most common cause of a flabby B is, in my experience, simply due to a too-small string. Whatever gauge you are using, try something bigger. Circle K Strings (www.circlekstrings.com) offers a wide variety of gauges available as single strings.

    Replacing the bridge and tuning keys will not increase tension on the B string, so they won't help this particular issue.
  4. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Yeah, as far as my bass goes, I haven't made it far enough in the trouble shooting department too start asking a ton of questions. Lol!

    I was just curious about the other side of it. Like I see posts on here a lot about "floppy" B strings and everyone tries to help and the end result is just "that's the nature of a 5er...".
    I just find that hard to believe...I have a EBMM and it's B is great!
    So I didn't know if cheap components or shabby necks was a cause of cheaper 5 strings being of lower quality...and didn't know if these components could be exchanged on cheaper models to help the situation.

    So, what I am hearing is string gauge is the most poplar cause?
    Strings are expensive. I will definitely check out the circle K stuff. Sounds convenient.
  5. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I just built a 34" scale 5 for a customer in Idaho. The bass used SIT Powerwound Nickels, .045 to .125's. The B was firm, bright, punchy, and even tension with the rest of the set. I do not use SIT much, but these strings really made me rethink strings. The bass played great and sounded awesome. So string choice can be one of the main factors. Circle K strings are also quite awesome, so those might be a good choice too.
  6. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    I have heard good things about SIT strings. I was actually in a band for a short period of time that endorsed them, for some stupid reason I didn't take advantage of the discount and never tried them. Hind sight huh?
    I am assuming the ones on my ebmm are Ernie balls. They are nice. I have been waiting on a reply from the guy at guitar center to confirm the gauge for me. I love them.
    I will definitely try some other gauges on the jazz and the other bass I have that had a less than desirable B.
  7. Try lengthening your b string. You could slip a pc board spacer or something of the nature over the string before you feed it through the bridge, adds an extra .5" or so. (Stole this from "101 Bass Tips)
  8. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Hmmmmm....I'll keep that in mind if all else fails. I have heard mixed opinions about the idea of lengthening the string after the break points. Some say it makes a difference, others say the string won't change because the length is from the saddle to the nut, and the amount of string after doesn't affect anything. I have never tried it...so I don't know...
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    This is totally bogus, an often repeated myth of misunderstanding, and has been discussed many times. Not only will it not increase the resting tension of the string, it will decrease the tension rise as you pluck it, making the string feel softer.

    No, I won't get into the analysis behind this here, as it has been done enough times already you can search and find the posts. But I did not want the mention to go unanswered here.
  10. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    I use SIT Powerwound Nickels (.050 to .130") on 34" scale basses. No complaints at all and I really like the fact the they aren't overly bright when new. Shorter break in period till the tone stabilizes.

  11. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    Thanks for that phrase, tension rise. When I start reading these "tension" discussions there's a lot of long posts and argument, but I've not seen that term. That's so easy to picture.

    But yea, OP, a string with higher tension (not always the thickest string) is going to help the tone and feel of the B.
  12. Just my mind wandering here, and I know you have altered the neck pocket already but did you try the bass with the original neck in place albeit with a duff truss rod, and assess the tension of the B?

    :meh: I take it the neck you bought was the same scale length as the one that was on it originally? Did you adjust the intonation at all?
  13. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    I never did put the original neck on because it didn't have the nut on it.
    As far as intonation...it's half and half. Lol! All the strings are in tune with themselves except the A and D. Haven't messed with them yet since I am putting new strings on in a few days, hopefully. My local guitar center didn't carry the SIT s that were recommended do I had to order them...
  14. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Also, not sure on scale length....I didn't even check...honestly, got pretty excited and made a rushed buy. Lol!

    I assume it's the same since it's pretty close as far as intonation when I bolted it on...
  15. If you actually look at the image in the book, this approach is for exposed core strings. It does nothing for a regular string.

    It just reduces the amount of very flexible exposed core in front of the bridge.
  16. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I would also recommend a string guide for the B string. The Hipshot string guides work very well for giving a little extra tension to the B string, and E too for that matter. I have a 2-string unit for my B, and E, and a 3-string unit for my A, D and G strings.

  17. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    A what? I have never heard of this thing...
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You mean headstock string guides? They do give additional downforce at the nut, by changing the nut's backside break angle. They do not give additional tension.

    If the tension rises, the pitch goes up. This is done by turning the tuner.
  19. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Yep, headstock string guide.

    Actually, the additional downforce at both the string guide and nut will place additional tension on the string.

    Before discounting it offhand, I'd recommend giving it a try.

  20. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Tapercore B strings, a string tree, and even a neck shim can help a lot.
    I actually have a couple extra tapered B strings (Ken Smith). If you want to try that on the cheap, let me know via PM.

    Strings are always the first way to go, as they are cheap, not permanent, and frequently make a huge difference.