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My new bass has too many highs

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tedddy, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. Tedddy


    Dec 3, 2007
    its a tele style P bass with a Seymour Duncan single coil and those telecaster style tone and volume knobs on a control plate, it has an ebony board and a typical vintage style bridge.

    When i hit a note it is very piano like with lots of trebly harmonic overtones, too much actually. Those overtones make it hard for me to hear the actual note I'm playing, especially on the low E string.

    I try dialing it out using the amp eq and rolling down the tone knob on the bass but i feel like I'm just masking the problem and those overtones are still there in the bass itself interfering with the main note I'm trying to play.

    when i played it at the store it made the other basses i was trying sound dead in comparison, but I think now that what impressed me was the highs, which sounded good at the store but not at home.

    is it the bridge? the pickup? the strings? the ebony board? the body wood? I think i'll take it back.
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Maybe try flats on it?
  3. bass_fish


    Oct 26, 2006
    the Netherlands
    you could try lowering the pickup... output will be slightly lower, but it will also make it more bassy...
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Sounds like new strings to me - I always like strings better after a few months...:)
  5. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    You can do all you want, but you can't get rid of the overtones in a bass. If you take them away, you won't have the note you play.

    I'd keep tweaking your amp.
  6. What kind of strings are you using?

    I think also depends on your style. If you're not already using them, try flatwound strings.
    Though I still have to roll a bit off on tone control myself.
  7. Madcity Fats

    Madcity Fats Supporting Member

    May 28, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin

    And try not to change them very often (unless you like the sound of them new, of course).
  8. Tedddy


    Dec 3, 2007
    i raised the strings, seemed to help a bit. I'll try lowering the pickup too.

    I put on the old strings from my other bass, sounded only slightly less trebly. I guess I will try flats.
  9. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Rolling the tone knob down is not really masking the problem, that's what it's there for. I've owned a lot of Fender-type basses, and I didn't have the tone knob full blast most of the time.

    Same goes for the amp. Tweaking it to fit the bass is not masking either, it's just making it work for your bass.
  10. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    My J did that when I first got it and I couldn't figure out why. Come to find out the mid pickup was too high, but after lowering it I was still getting a little too much overtone. After adjusting the bridge it was gone, so you might want to look at that.

    If it's not too much trouble, could you be more specific with your specs? For example, I'm assuming your neck is a Warmoth. (they're the only people I know of who do ebony fretboards on tele bass necks) It may help with diagnosis, but I'm more curious to see what you've done.:bassist:
  11. Tedddy


    Dec 3, 2007

    The neck is a Fender-licensed neck, so yeah it is probably a Warmoth. I didn't put the bass together, i bought it already put together at a bass store.

    I'm wondering how adjustable the pickup is, it looks to be a stacked single coil, screwed right to the body.
  12. Sounds like a Tele to me.
  13. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Interfering how? The point of an instrument is to produce a sound, and if tweaking the EQ gets the sound you want, then don't worry about what it would have sounded like if you hadn't done that. If the mask works, then don't worry about what is going on behind the mask.

    Another thing to think about is that you can subtract the high end with EQ, flats, etc., but you can't add it if it's not there.

    My$0.02, anyway...
  14. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
    Try some flats or at least nickle rounds and let them break in. That should alleviate much of the zing. You might also try swapping out the caps. Most of the passive, Fender-style basses have a 0.047 micro farad capacitor on the tone control. If you swap this out with a 0.1 micro farad capacitor you will be able to cut more highs (and add a little bit of extra booty).

    If you're competent with a soldering iron then the capacitor swap can be done for less than $5.
  15. i_g55


    May 26, 2005
    If you don't want the old-school flatwound tone, try the Rotosound flatwounds. They really fall somewhere in between. Still bright enough but without the harshness some roundwounds have.

    In the case of roundwounds, I'd prefer DR Lo-Riders which have a very balanced tone. Daddario and GHS are a bit too harsh in the high end for my tastes. I think you can solve this problem by finding the right set of strings.
  16. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Exactly, guitar, bass or otherwise. Of course, tone control should do something to help, as it works on the guitar models and they produce great jazz tones.
  17. King V

    King V

    Dec 13, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    +1 You're not masking the sound, you are coloring it. Which is esentially the whole point of tone controls and EQ.
  18. Tedddy


    Dec 3, 2007
    Well i put some rotosound flatwounds on it, sounds better now, I still need to roll the tone control down.
  19. Rugaar


    Apr 11, 2007
    Have you tried a mute? Lots of folks jam some foam or a small sponge under their strings near the bridge. I weave a thin old woven cotton belt through mine but lots of things will work.
  20. Fetusyolk


    Aug 7, 2008
    woah sweet idea, do you have pictures?

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