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New strings problem (out of tune overtones)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. I just bought a brand new set of DR 'long neck' tapered 6 string set. Here's the problem:

    ONLY ON THE TAPERED STRINGS, there is a very strange overtone, it's like the same note is playing, but out of tune. This is not happening in the non-tapered strings. Tapered strings are BEAD, non-tapered are GC.

    It is not vibration from the other strings, as I've muted them. It is also not vibration from the neck side of the string, since I've also muted it.

    It is very noticeable plugged or unplugged, it sounds like the instrument is out of tune. it is even noticeable on the harmonics!

    I've used tapered smith strings on this instrument without any problems.


    Here's an example file recorded just now. The first set of notes are open strings, and the second set are 12th fret notes
  2. Stop looking for a problem with your bass.

    From your description, I think this is one of those cases of simple but total incompatability between strings and instrument. It happens. You'll go nuts trying to track it down because it seems to make no sense at all. I think it comes from a cumulation of very tiny incongruities in every aspect of the way the string reacts with the body and hardware. Taken singly, none of these problems would even be audible but together, they add up to sonic mayhem.

    But that's just a theory :bag:

  3. Thanks for taking the time to answer, hambone. Can you please listen to this new clip as it shows the problem better.

    I have been killing myself trying to figure out what's the problem. I never thought it was the bass, because the old strings work great (it's just that one snapped and I need to replace the whole set).

    I'm gonna have to play on sunday with the bass as is, it's a good thing the problem is not AS noticeable in the lower register with everybody else playing.

  4. Well, I guess you raise an interesting angle.

    Might the condition always have been there but your string of choice masked the problem? We have equal evidence to support both theories. :eyebrow: I guess, for empirical purposes, the thing to do would be to put yet a third brand on and see if it happens then. That would validate the first two.

    I wonder if the upper register frets are perfectly spaced. I don't know enough about how slight misalignments could affect harmonics but the idea doesn't sound that far out of the realm either.
  5. ummm, it's a fretless. But if that was the case, then the old strings would suffer from the same problem. In any event, if this was the problem, then just by shifting the finger to the propper 'in-tune' position would solve the problem ...not the case.
  6. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    its the strings. i had the same problem with those on my Carvin. the taper started almost right above the bridge pickup. i couldnt intontate it at all. those strings lasted about 2 days, then i went back to my normal brand and the problem went away.
    With the amount of taper on them, my guess is that they are meant for a string through body design. Please correct me if i am wrong about that.

    the problems stems from the fact that the mass of the string doesnt run the entire length of the oscillating portion of the string (from nut to saddle). ....or some technical mumbo jumbo like that. seriously, i think its all voodoo related anyways.

    let us know how it works with different strings with shorter tapers.
  7. that sucks big time, fourty bucks down the toilet!

  8. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    I love DR. so everything I'm about to say is probably the most Biasd bull crap out there, but I think Dep is right. I'm not exactly sure what you ordered, but i do know that DR makes a certain set of strings especially for wierd scales, and through body designs. You can probably ignore me though due to my tenacious belief that DR will never make a bad product.

    Hambone's got an interesting point though. My computer tends not to be able to handle Low G ony my custom. The whole bass seems to resonate at whatever frequency "G" is, so the pickups send about twice as much signal to the amp as it should. Everything distorts and i get all sorts of wierd overtones and distortion. and it's only with G.
  9. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i'm not condemning DR at all. after choosing poorly on the strings with the long taper, i just went back to using Carvin's strings. Dirt cheap and i am totally happy with them.
  10. After reading DEP's comments I clamed the tapered strings so that the taper does not go through the saddle, but just the whole fat part of the string. The problem is gone!

    I guess those 'long necks' are actually 'long tapers' that are made for string through, I don't know of any other reason than economics for making those strings like that. I just ordered some d'addarios but I'm gonna make sure I never buy tapered strings again.

    I'll also take a look at SIT strings, they say they're great and they sure are cheap!

  11. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i believe manufactures usually taper the larger strings so that they will ride in the saddles properly. IIRC, some other craziness sometimes occurs if the thickest part of string is on the saddle also. kind of a catch 22. if the taper begins right as the string leaves the saddle, the overtones are minimized to the point that they shouldnt be a problem.

    i'm no expert, i just remember when i had this problem i spent about 4 days scouring the internet and TB trying to figure it out.