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My strings go sharp over time.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by cassius987, May 15, 2011.

  1. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I have had a phenomenon going on with most my basses this year. If they stay in the case they'll stay at pitch for weeks, even if taken out for a rehearsal and put back in. But now that I have them stored on wall hangers I notice more and more that the strings go sharp (usually just a few cents) after a few days. What does this mean exactly? Are the necks flexing, is something pinching the strings in the nut, what? In the past strings would go flat, not sharp, if anything at all.

    I don't think my Rickenbacker 4001 does this but the others that have conventional truss rods all do. Maybe that's a clue.

    Just wondering if this is a diagnostic for anything to watch out for like over-drying or something. I expect it's just standard weather-wear, but I'd like to know if it's not.
  2. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    If you retune, do the strings continue to go sharp? Or is it just a one-time deal, caused by the bass acclimating to the room?
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    what happens is the strings cool off from your body temp after you're no longer touching them, contracting a little and going sharp.

    you should find that when you pick it back up, it's a little sharp, but if you just hold your hands on the strings for 10-15 seconds, they'll warm up, expand slightly, and it'll go back down to pitch. do this before tuning, and you'll have a more stable bass.
  4. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Seems like a one-time deal mostly. If I check mid-set, the strings stay in place or continue to go just slightly sharp.. they rarely go flat even after aggressive play.
  5. Sounds like the neck flattening out (loosing relief). I also live in Colorado (in Breckenridge), and I experience this in the Spring sometimes on some of my basses. In the Fall, my basses (and guitars) tend to get too much relief.

    Nothing scientific here, just my observations.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    2 things can make your bass go sharp.

    1 - a drop in temperature will make the metal strings contract
    2 - an increase in humidity will make the wood in the neck swell

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