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Rattling String

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Sammy Camden, Apr 15, 2001.

  1. OK! I need some help here from all of you experts out there.

    I recently changed the strings on my AmStd Jazz-V. I had D'Addario Half-Rounds on it and was actually quite pleased with the sound. However, on the recommendation of none other than Roscoe Beck ( I posted on his site and he actually does answer people's posts ), I changed them out to LaBella Rockin' Steels. This was to get a better "B" string.

    Well, now for the problems.

    1. The "E" string rattles like blazes when you play it open. I checked it and it seems to be just barely touching the nut. I checked the relief in the neck and it is OK. I lowered the bridge as low as I can get it without rattling everything and it still rattles. I did not have this problem with the D'Addarios. They worked just fine.

    I don't play open strings very often, but there are some times when I use them. This sounds like "HELL" when I play it. Any solutions, experience, help, etc., would be most appreciated.

    2. The "B" string itself sounds almost like it's in a echo chamber whenever it's played, anywhere in the neck. It's also kinda muddy. I lowered the pups to see if maybe I was getting some mag-field interference, and it has helped, but not completely. The other 4 strings are fine. I kept lowering and it reached a point where there was no further improvement, but the problem was not cured.

    Do I just have to wait for the string to deaden a little? Will this cure itself over time? What!!?!?!?

    I don't want to throw out a brand new set of strings, but I'm just about ready to do that. I don't normally use round wounds. In fact I really dislike them, but I thought, based on Mr Beck's recommendation, I would try them. He said these are his favorite strings. So, I bought a set.

    I guess I should've stayed with the half-rounds and flats that I normally use and like.

    Oh well. Any help here would sure be appreciated. Thanks!!
  2. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Sammy, if the string is just "barely" touching the nut that's probably your problem. Is the gauge bigger than you used to use? Sounds like you need the nut filed. Also, do you have a good angle on the string down to the bottom of the tuner post?
  3. MJB: I went back and checked after your post.

    At first I was really confused. The D'Addarios had a .100 "E". The LaBellas have a .105 "E". I think you can see the reason for the confusion. So, I checked the down angle on the string a little closer as you suggested. It's virtually straight in to the tuner.

    I then compared the "E" string on the LaBella to the old "E" in the D'Addario set (I still had them). The lead part of the string, the part that wraps around the tuner, is very thin on the LaBellas compared to the D'Addarios. The D'Addario forces a downward angle when you wind it around the tuner. The LaBellas don't. I think I now see the problem.

    I usually cut my leaders two tuning pegs past the one I'm going wrap the string around. I think for the LaBellas, I should have just left it all there and wound it on forcing the string down on the tuner. It's too late now. I don't think there is a fix other than either not playing any open "E" notes or buying a new single "E" string if I can find one.

    Thanks. You helped me find that little problem.

    Any ideas on the "B" probem?
  4. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Glad to help Sammy. I'm a 4 stringer guy so I don't know what's up with your B string. Maybe just a bad one? If I were in your shoes I think I'd put the D'Addarios back on.

  5. OK! After fooling around with the bridge and trying to get the string wound lower on the tuning peg, and, adjusting and readjusting the pups, I tossed in the towel. I took the LaBellas off.

    I was putting the D'Addarios back on when, much to my surprise, I popped a "D" string as I was tuning it up. First time I've ever popped a string on one of my basses. It popped at the point where is comes out of the bridge plate.

    I didn't have another "D" string hanging around, so I put on the only spare 5-string set I had on hand (another round-wound set that I had bought a couple of years ago out of a clearance box at a store I was in while down in Kentucky). Anyway, this is an odd-ball 5 set, as its actually a 4-string set of Fender nickel round-wounds (.040-.100) with a single Fender nickel round-wound .125 added. They were rubber-banded together, and cheap, $15. Bought 'em on impulse and never looked at 'em again until last night. They're a little lighter than what I normally like, but you know the old saying, any port in a storm!

    Well, I was absolutely amazed at the sound of these things. They were better sounding than the LaBellas, better feeling than the LaBellas, and all 5 worked beautifully, once I reset everything. The "B" is reasonably tight and it sounds good. I'd have to say this is the best sounding "B" string that I've ever had on this bass. This is the first set of round-wounds that I have ever even slightly enjoyed playing. No, they're not a smooth as halfs or flats, but they're smoother than any other round I've ever played. And the finger noise level is pretty low for a round-wound. Wish I'd tried these before I spent the money for the LaBellas. I guess you live and you learn.

    I plan on leaving these on for a while and just seeing how they play out.
  6. Taurus


    Feb 2, 2001
    Glad everything worked out for you but the fact that your string buzzed while open is a dead giveaway that all was not right at the nut end of things.Either the slot was too small or not cut propely,that's pretty much the problem 90% of the time.I usually leave my strings extra long on the E and A in order to get more wraps around the tuning post to force a better downward string angle on the headstock.I haven't got round to making a "bar" type string tree yet but it sounds like something that you could use as well.
  7. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Unfortunately, even the pros aren't always right.

    Too bad you trashed the half rounds, they ahave an awsome sound.

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