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Muted sounding E string

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dougjwray, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I recently had a bass assembled for me by an expert who's been doing this for me for about 25 years. I'll ask him about this, but I thought I'd ask here first, for more input.

    The bass has an alder Squier body, a Mighty Mite neck (with maple fingerboard) and Fender Original Precision Bass pickups. The bridge is a '90s Fender string-though-body one. The tuners are Schallers.

    My question is: The E string has a muted, dead tone.
    It sounds that way acoustically, too.
    It sounds that way with more than one set of strings. (I've used GHS Boomers and Dunlop Nickels on it. Identical gauges.)
    It sounds that way whether I string the E string through the body, or through the top of the bridge.

    The fretwork is beautiful, the nut is fine, and the other strings sound loud, with full harmonic content. The pickups are nice and low (the tops are about 1/4" above the face of the bass) and perfectly level (so the polepieces "assigned" to the E string are not any lower or higher than the others).

    I'd like to keep this bass because it plays beautifully and the other strings sound great. But the E is a deal-breaker.

    My guess is that there is something about the neck or body woods that is causing dampening, or low resonance. In that case, there's not much to do but replace one or both, or just sell the bass. :(

    Any ideas??
  2. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    I would raise the pickups to the Fender spec's height. They may be too low if only 1/4" above the body/pickguard.
  3. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Okay, but as I said, the E sounds dampened even acoustically.
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Basic tenet of electric guitar troubleshooting:

    If it doesn't do it through the amp it doesn't do it.
  5. rogerb


    Aug 31, 2010
    The whole E string, or just the low E? Check the bridge end if it is up the whole string.

    Pictures of nut, pickup height (can't see how it could be that) and bridge.
  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    It's the whole E string.
    The bridge saddles are threaded, and it's occurred to me that the string might be prevented from vibrating because of the way it's sitting in (or on) its saddle.
    I'll provide pictures when I get a chance.
  7. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i had this issue with a set of sit strings, maybe try some xl strings, the e seems to be pretty robust and boomy on those, maybe it could compensate?
  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Have you tried pushing down on the E string before and after the bridge saddle to better set the witness point?