Pearls on Preventing a Floppy B String???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassmanbob, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Excuse me if this specific topic has been answered, but I couldn't get my answer by looking in a couple of searches.

    I am currently in the information gathering stage of building my first bass guitar. I would like to build a 5 string fretless bolt-on neck with strings: B, E, A, D, G.

    Right now, as I make decisions about scale design and what to buy (wood type and hardware), my main concern is making a bass without a floppy B string. I am under the impression that a 35" scale would help to prevent a floppy B string, but it's not the only factor. I have played a few high end basses with a 35" scale and a floppy B string. I've also played an F Bass with a 34.5" scale with an adequately tight B string. Although I've never played one, I've heard that the Sadowsky 34" B strings are not floppy either.

    Are there any pearls that may prevent me from building a 5 string bass with a floppy B string? Are there any wood types, hardware or building techniques that are generally known to help, or are these considered to be trade secrets?

    Any information or references are appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. umm a really thick b string would help maybe a flatwound one too
  3. Skerik1


    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    You can make the scale even longer....

    Carl Thompson goes as long as 38" on some of his basses.

    36" is a comfortable average. Heavier strings help too.

  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Longer scales help, and thicker B strings help, but there IS something in the actual construction of a bass that makes the B string more solid or floppier, else there wouldn't be a large variation in the quality of B string response between a cheapie 34" bass and a Stingray 5, which is known to have one of the best B strings of any wood-necked 34" production bass.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Backbone stiffness.

    I.e. rigid string attachment in both neck and body, and stiff neck, body and body joint.

    See also the Physics article at my home page.
  6. word.


    Peace, JP
  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Wow!!! What a great article! It makes very good sence. I don't agree that the guage of the string has a great effect, and I only partially agree with the whole scale length thing as I stated above.

    I tried to print the article, but color is not working on my printer. I'll have to go back and read it again when I have the proper time to concentrate more on the physics. It's been 17 years since I've taken college physics.


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