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New strings? (Tone problems)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Groovin' Base, May 1, 2006.

  1. Groovin' Base

    Groovin' Base

    Apr 19, 2006
    I hope you guys can help me out with this one.

    A while ago I posted (in the 'basses' section) about my problem with my bass (Yamaha BBG5S), where there is a 'double' tone in the E string, and in the low B only in the higher positions.

    Now I was hoping this is a string problem. As I broke the D today I'd say I shoul replace them all.

    I bought the bass used (a week and a half ago), so I have no idea what strings these are (brand or type). All I know is the winding starts at about half an inch PAST the saddles. I was told this isn't unusual, but could it be that this type of strings just doesn't work for this bass?

    I want to be sure the strings aren't the problem, so I want a good set, but at the same time I can't afford the most expensive strings. I was thinking the cheap Warwicks, but I have no idea what quality to expect from those. I don't want them to sound too bright either.

    Can you give me some advice on what strings to get?

    I still hope the tone problem is the strings, as it'd be failry easy to solve. I'd hate it if it's the bass itself. I'd feel a bit ripped off then.

    Any information would be great! Thanks!
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I think I may have had a similar problem a long time ago and the string was twisted. Try restringing your E with your current set and see if that works. As for new strings, get flats. They last forever.
  3. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I can almost guarantee that the problem you are having is from your strings.

    This "ringing" or "warbling" sound you hear on the B and E strings up high on the neck is from the taper wound strings you are using. The further that taper is away from your saddle the more noticeable the noise will become.

    There was some discussion about this issue a while back. Check out this old thread for more info:

    Get yourself some regular round wound strings and you'll be all set. If you don't like very bright strings try some nickel (as opposed to stainless steel) round wound strings. Just make sure they are not Taper Wound strings. That's what you have now. You should be able to get a good set of strings for $15-$20 easily.

    If you really want a recommendation I would say you can't go wrong with a set of DR Low Riders, Nickel, Medium Gauge http://www.juststrings.com/drs-nmh5-45.html. For a little less you could get D'Addario XL's http://www.juststrings.com/dad-exl160-5.html .

    Good Luck.
  4. Groovin' Base

    Groovin' Base

    Apr 19, 2006
    Wow, great replies, thanks!

    To be sure: taper means the winding starts beyond the saddles?

    I replaced the A string in the E position. It seemed less, but was still there.

    By the way: it's not exactly a ringing sound, but more a double tone which makes it sound off key, while it actually isn't. At first I thought it was intonation, but intonating it didn't work. (Though I'm a newbie at bass, I'm more experienced with regular guitars, so I knew what to do.)

    It's a relief you can guarantee (almost) that it's the strings. I would hate to spend the money on new strings and then discover it's a bad bass and be stuck with it, or return it after investing expensive strings.

    I'll see if I can get new strings tomorrow (preferably the DRs) and inform on this thread.
  5. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    You are right about the taper. Taper Wound strings get thinner just before they go over the saddle. There are many string sets out there that have a tapered B, or B and E only. Other sets (Smith Taper Wound, Dean Markley SR2000's, DR Longnecks, etc) have tapers on all but the G string. It will almost always say on the pack of strings if they are tapered. For now stay away from them.

    Here's the deal with taper wound strings. They only work is they "fit" your bass, or better yet your bridge. The taper should start just after the strings cross the saddle. If the taper is too far away from the saddle then you'll commonly get the "double tone" or "off key" noise that you are hearing. By too far I mean about .25” or so. Every set of taper wound strings is different. In order to get a set that fits the length of string from the end of the taper to the ball end must correspond with the distance your saddle to the part of your bridge that anchors the ball end of the string. On a Fender style bridge this is relatively short. If you were to string through the body on some newer Fenders this distance gets longer, and with other bass/bridge combinations it gets even longer still.

    This of course is all just my own experience and opinion. You my find other TBers that don't agree.

    I had a real problem with this the first time I tried DR Longnecks on a bass that was not strung thru-body. The Longnecks are made with a longer distance from the taper to the ball end of the string for basses that are string thru-body. Since my bass strung thru-body the taper ended up more than an inch from the saddle. It sounded just as you describe.

    I currently use Ken Smith Taper Core lights on my Smith bass. They sound great but they also fit the bass/bridge.

    When in doubt I’d say just stay away from them unless you are willing to spend money and time experimenting to find a set that works (that’s what I did).
  6. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Also, on a site note, you should fill in your profile. It makes posting a little easier. For all I know you may live down the street from me. I'd just give you a set of strings if that were the case.

    Good luck and be sure to let us know how the new strings work.
  7. Groovin' Base

    Groovin' Base

    Apr 19, 2006
    Ok, I took the bass to the store and they'll put on some D'Addario's (they didn't have the DRs anymore, and I needed strings quickly) and give it some recallibrating to the new strings as well. I should have it back by tomorrow.
  8. Groovin' Base

    Groovin' Base

    Apr 19, 2006
    I got it back! The problem indeed was the string. The new d'Addario strings sound very bright and clear, but playability needs some getting used to. At least the tone is good now! So thanks for all help!
  9. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I'm glad to hear that the new strings fixed the problem. There is a world of information on TB.

    Next time you need new strings you might want to try installing them yourself. You can save a few bucks and get it done quicker. I'm not sure how new you are to bass, but I've met many new players that think there is some magic to it, or that only a pro should try to set up and adjust a bass. That is just rubish. Any dummy can set up a bass. All you need is a few basic tools and maybe a tunes. It is very easy. Just do a search or post if you have any questions.
  10. Groovin' Base

    Groovin' Base

    Apr 19, 2006
    I know, I could've done it myself, but the setup and install was part of service, as I only bought it recently and the previous strings weren't too good. Can't refuse that, of course.

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