new a bigger sound

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by guillermo, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. guillermo


    Oct 1, 2004
    Hi All:

    I have a nameless plywood bass, I have good strings , although I'll soon put medium E and A Spiros to go with the
    already installed D G medium Superflexibles (the "loud and clear E" thread is about this).
    But, I was wondering: my action is really low, lower than
    most basses I've seen, if I raise te action, will this have the
    effect of increasing the "boom" ?

    Thanks in advance
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My take on this is:

    If the strings get too low they will dampen themselves against the fingerboard. The string vibrates from end-to-end, whether open or stopped. If the angle of the string where it meets the fingerboard is too acute, the vibration is restricted right near the stopped note. By a simple test you can determine where this happens. In your case, since the strings are low, raise the adjusters (evenly) a bit at a time until you notice the sound of the bass obviously open up. Once you've found this line you have your lower limit for string height.

    The next line that you cross is where the fingerboard 'growl' starts to disappear. This seems to usually be a mm or two higher. Getting rid of the growl can seem to accentuate the body 'boom' that I think you're talking about.

    Now, as far as how high you can/should go, this will differ from bass to bass. Any bass, pretty much, will eventually choke with too much pressure on the top. As you raise the strings, the angle of the string over the bridge becomes more acute, adding pressure to the top.

    I prefer to play with the strings just above the lower limit plus whatever added height is required to allow me to get my fingers on the strings easily, plus I need to have enough clearance to dig in with The Stick without pushing the little strings onto fingerboard. I think I'm usually about 4-6mm in the D and (maybe a little higher these days) and 6-8mm on the E and A. This is with steel strings. For gut strings you're gonna have to ask someone else.

    Ultimately, though, the sound is in your ears and hands.
  3. guillermo


    Oct 1, 2004
    Another question:

    What works better ( louder "boomier" ) on a cheap plywood
    bass with a stiff top (compared to a carved "flexible" top):

    Lighter strings with a higher action ?
    Medium strings with a lower action ?

    other ?

  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It all depends on the bass and your touch, but heavier strings have a better chance at vibrating a bass in general, I would think.
  5. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I would look more at technique for projection rather than gear
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I agree. It is also good to make sure (from a second party) that your instrument is setup and equipped properly. Case in point, for me, is a recent trip with my bass to Bruno. He pointed out some setup issues that I have with my bass that I've been trying to play through, so that I've been wasting energy compensating for things rather than improving my sound.
  7. guillermo


    Oct 1, 2004
    As of this wirting the Bass is at a Luthier's shop.
    First thing he pointed out is that the post was both, missplaced and too long (the top and back plates swell where they meet the post).
    He'll adjust that and he'll also work on my fingerboeard, apparently there's enough bups that some notes, especially in
    the 2nd and 3rd positions, choke as they do not have space to move.
    He'll also put bridge adjusters so I can play with strings/string action up until I find my prefered Action vs "Bouum" balance point.

    He was great in explaining what needs to be done, what can reasonably ($) be done for a cheap bass like mine etc...
    He also told me that my tailwire experiences (I put Aircraft cable) were correct.

    I'll get it back next week