# Low B frequency

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FalsehoodBass, Aug 3, 2001.

1. ### FalsehoodBass

Jul 22, 2001
Denver, CO
Does anyone out there know what the frequency of the fundamental on the low B string is? I'm just curious... and while we're at it, does it matter if your amp or preamp's range happens to go below your lowest fundamental? I guess what i'm asking is if the bass is capable of making usable noise with any frequency lower than its lowest fundamental? Usable meaning that the sound coming from you bonking your headstock into a mic stand doesn't count (ouch for the bass)
thanks for any help...

2. ### seamus

Feb 8, 2001
Jersey
An open B is ~31Hz. I don't know that the amp matters so much as the speakers, so long as the amp has the juice to power those low notes.

Any 10 I've heard accomodates low B, but 15's and 18's do so with more authority to my ears. I would guess this is attributable to the varying frequency ranges for different sized speakers.

Someone with more technical expertise can probably provide better answers.

3. ### SuperDuck

Sep 26, 2000
Wisconsin
This will probably be most helpful:

www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html

Your looking for B0 (with zero being the octave- it involves where they were on the piano and whatnot.) Now you know the fundamental for all the strings!

4. ### FalsehoodBass

Jul 22, 2001
Denver, CO
thanks for the help, much appreciated
anyone for the other question? My reasoning is that even though the fundamental of the B string is only 31 Hz, the overtones are also important. Overtones can only have higher frequencies though, so what about lower frequencies, are there any?

6. ### lo-end

Jun 15, 2001
PA
I believe the low B is 30.87hz

John Turner would be 23.12hz

7. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
Yes. If you use Fourier analysis (college mathematics), you discover that step functions and impulses (spike waveforms) are broadband with a bit of content at essentially ALL frequencies. The closest one might get in bass playing is slapping or popping strings. In addition to the fundamentals produced from the string vibration, the transients have frequency content all over the audible (and probably infrasonic - meaning below audible) range. This is why you see woofers dancing when you slap - or when you feed bass drum signals into them. There are low frequency components in there that aren't really even audible.
- Mike

8. ### FalsehoodBass

Jul 22, 2001
Denver, CO
thanks for the info mikey... i actually just took a basic fourier analysis class, (i'm a physics major at ucsb) but i wouldn't know how to apply it to real concepts. I understand how transients can be combinations of multiple waveforms, but i was wondering if those lower frequencies could resonate. Im wondering if it would be helpful to have a bass cab or preamp that could go down to, say 25hz if my lowest frequency is 31hz on the B string. once again thanks for the info though.

9. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
You're welcome. The frequency content of a step or spike waveform is not "resonant" per se, because of the short duration. A particular constituent frequency would not have an opportunity to go through multiple complete cycles of its sine waveform (except for the higher frequencies in an "imperfect" spike). Relative to low-end response, you are getting into "high-fidelity" issues. People who have hi-fi stereo systems that are flat down to (say) 18 Hz. can probably talk about realism of transient impacts, such as bass drum and tympani attacks, cannons in the 1812 Overture, etc. Purely speaking, it would be no different for bass guitar. However, other issues come into play: do you want all that rumble going on if the amp is picking up LF electrical noise? How about if you accidently have two open strings vibrating? Even more pertinent: do you want a grossly huge thump every time you do a hammer-on or thumb slap? This stuff can make for a terrible overall effect in some cases. You can get to the point where that LF content can take something away from the music if it is unintended. As a bassist, you are the creator of the sound, not the "reproducer". A stereophonic system needs to reproduce music as accurately as possible; *you*, on the other hand, need to produce music that sounds good, and if the bass energy at near-subsonic frequencies is excessive, it can compromise the overall mix. (IMO, of course.)
- Mike

10. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
Yes - they are produced by the beat frequency between two notes played simultaneously. If you play (higher pitched) notes whose fundamentals are within 20-100 Hz. of each other, you can sometimes hear the rapid beating as a note of its own, very much lower in frequency. The "beat" is what you hear as you are tuning your strings to each other, etc. The frequency of the beat is equal to the difference in frequencies of the two notes. As you suggest, it is pretty hard to get an audible subharmonic from bass, because the difference frequencies tend to be too close (and beats would be subsonic - impossible to hear). And even if audible, they tend to get drowned out by the nearby fundamentals of the notes themselves.
- Mike

11. ### FalsehoodBass

Jul 22, 2001
Denver, CO
holyjeez that's interesting stuff... thanks for the info... yea i can't wait for upper division physics to learn more about waves and stuff.. im taking an optics class pretty soon, which should be fun... unfortunately my school won't let me take electrical engineering classes unless im an EE major... its sad cuz i could really get into the technical aspects of amps and such... anyway.. thanks again for all the rad info.

12. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
You're welcome again! Yes - optics is really excellent to gain an understanding of wave phenomena, relative to acoustics, electromagnetic waves, and just waves in general. I took such a course myself long ago. Don't give up on the EE courses. If you prove yourself to be a good student, try to "petition" for a waiver of that rule so you can take the courses. You might bolster your argument if you can come up with compelling reasons for needing some EE. If you have a goal in applied physics, maybe you can make a persuasive case. I elected an interdisciplinary eng. degree in my undergrad program, so I'd be able to take courses between several departments. Maybe you could do such a thing if you find your interest in applied fields too strong to ignore. Good luck with it! (Coincidentally, I just ran into a physics grad researcher at a nearby university, and he was busy studying an EE book on power supply design. So, as a physicist, you can certainly get the "tools" you need to understand these kinds of applications.)
- Mike