Low B saddle issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MartyP, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. MartyP


    Apr 11, 2018
    Hi there. I have somewhat of a lack of definition on my low B string. A typical fully-wound (i.e.; not tapered) string is too fat to fit into the groove in the saddle - more like sitting on the two outer edges of the groove.

    Is this a common problem? Do I need to use tapered strings (where the inner core will be thin enough to fit into the groove) and will the tone then suffer in comparison to the other, non-taper strings?
  2. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    A photo may help.

    I don't think it's usually an issue to have the string sit the way you describe. I think it's the the approach and departure angels that I sometimes had an issue with, along with "setting the witness point" on these heavy-gauge strings.
  3. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Are you putting a B sized string on a 4 string bass?

    I know the problem you are talking about. The saddle has to support the string while avoiding "choking" it. It needs to be able to vibrate properly to have clarity. Getting a low B right is a tricky thing.

    What is the gauge of the string and brand/model? What bass is it? What is the scale length? These can all make a difference.
  4. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    It's not ideal for a string to be riding up on 2 points on the saddle, that creates a more rigid pivot that reduces freedom to vibrate.
    Also, taperwound strings have better tone, flexibility, clarity, sustain than non-taperwounds, try one.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    But don't forget the compromises - mostly with respect to intonation. An ideal string would have its mass evenly distributed along its vibrating length, which would lead to the best intonation. With taper windings the mass is not evenly distributed and can lead to intonation issues. As with many other things in instrument design, it's a matter of compromise, so it's best to know what compromises you are dealing with.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  6. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    I agree. With taperwound strings it's a good idea to minimise the length of tapered section in the vibrating length (should be no more than an inch, preferably less). Some brands have excessively long tapered sections. I should have mentioned this earlier.
    It may be possible to add spacer sleeves to the string to pull it back through the bridge a little.
  7. MartyP


    Apr 11, 2018
    Thanks for the advice guys. I have been using tapered strings but have bought a set of Dunlop tapered B mediums to replace. I'd never heard of the witness point until recently. I'll try and set that properly when I load the new strings. That might also account for the fact that the low B intonation was never right - even with the saddle moved right the way back it was not enough to sort it
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 15, 2021

Share This Page