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Resonant and muted notes

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by heymrbassman, Jan 12, 2003.


  1. I have recently had my bass sorted out. I had the neck reset to improve the angle, an ebony finger board, tailpeice and a new endpin fitted.

    The bass plays much better now with no buzzes however, I have noticed that there are certain notes that sound louder than others while some notes even sound muted with little sustain.

    I play spirocore weich that are about two years old so I am going to get new ones soon. This could solve everything. I tried innovation strings but that is a part of my past I want to forget

    I am used to playing a bass that sounds great but is hard to play. Now I have a bass that has the potential to sound great and plays very well. I play jazz.

    I read through a few messages about bass bar position and bridge position but would this improve the problem of having uneven tone?

    Adrian
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    In my experience, unevenness is aggravated most by a misplaced soundpost or a bridge that does not sit properly over the bass bar. Also, a soundpost that fits poorly can be the problem.
     
  3. I agree with what Arnold said, but also try the slightly higher tension spirocore orchestral gauge. The Wiechs suite some basses but most of the people I know here in England are changing back to the orchestral gauge as they are pretty even from set to set.
     
  4. Thanks for the advice

    I would prefer to stay with lighter strings and would love to try some other types. I did try some other strings recently and ended up hating them and going back to the weich set.

    Are there any strings out there that are comparable in tension to the weich set but have more growl and tone?

    Does it really matter how old strings get?

    I seem to be getting more sound from the body of the bass and less from the strings. This is not a great sound for jazz.

    I may send the bass back to the guy who did the work on it to see what he thinks about moving the bass bar and/or the bridge
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Try Spiro solos or Obligatos. Others will have recommendations, but I think both of these sets are a bit brighter than the Weichs.

    Yup. They'll get darker and thuddier as they grow old. With my rotten PH they also lose fundamental and the pitch goes wacky.

    Subjective, but I'm more on your side of the fence than the other.

    The bass bar will likely stay put. The sound post might get tweaked. I'd recommend that you accompany your bass on its trip.
     
  6. I meant to say sound post. I would be a bit concerned if someone tried moving my bass bar.

    Half asleep at the moment
     
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
     
  8. I have only ever tried weich, medium spiro and innovation 140H

    Would anyone consider sending me old strings they don't need any more so I can try? (long shot!)

    I spent a lot on a set of innovations and did't get on with them. I have never heard of obligatos so I may just get a new E jazzer to try.
     
  9. What are spiro solos? Would I need to tune to a new tuning?
     
  10. spiro solos are made for solo tuning( F sharp, B , E , and A on the top) , thats a tone up on normal (orchestral) tuning. They are made to have about the same tension at that tuning as the orchestral spiros do at normal tuning , they are consequently thinner. Some people use them tuned down a tone to normal tuning, but unless your Bass has a really high tension, they are going to be really floppy and buzzy, needing a higher action to get a clear sound. They are also going to be quieter and have less tone (on most basses) . Before this gets posted to the string side of the forum, lets remember that you have just had the neck angle on your bass altered, and also added some heavy wood ( ebony ) on both your fingerboard and tailpiece. Ray Brown (the late and great) never liked ebony to be used for his tailpiece as he felt it dampened the sound. I don't know if you play with a bow ,but you may find that you have developed a wolf note (or more than one) after getting this work done. This might account for your deadspots too. Wood is a funny thing, but don't despair, many wolfs can be tamed by an experienced luthier.
    Take it back to the luthier who did the work, if they don't sort it out ,take it to a reputable repair person ( it might be worth coming up to ' the smoke ' to get it done). Forget about trying out loads of expensive strings for the moment , put some reliable tension strings on( I hate to say spiro orchestral again, but they really are an industry standard in jazz) get the Bass sorted out, then change to whatever you want to after the bass is sounding even. A top luthier once told me " change one thing at a time, then you know what has caused the problem if one arises"; OK I paraphrased it , but do you know what I am trying to say?
     
  11. Sounds like good advice.

    Before I had the bass sorted I started with orchs then moved to weich because the bass was really hard to play. I prefered the weight of the weich set.

    I still have the old tailpeice. The reason i had it changed was because it was a little too long for the bass. I may try putting it back on to see what happens after i take the bass back

    I gigged last night and began to realise more about the sound the bass is making. The g is really thin sounding compared to the others and there are definitely dead spots and notes that are louder than the others

    I will go back to the guy that fixed it up and see what he can do with it. I am not sure how much of a "sound" set up he did after the structural changes

    I would love to be able to bow but when I try it does tend to sound pretty awful (my fault, not the bass!)

    Thanks for the advice
     
  12. That's an interesting observation. I had not heard that statement about Ray Brown, but it certainly falls in line with my experience over the years (with absolutely no scientific proof to back it). Symphonic players seem to prefer heavy tailpieces and jazz players tend to prefer lighter tailpieces. One symphonic player claimed that the heavy tailpiece helped to sustain the inertia generated by the bow. However, jazz players who play predominently pizz, seem to think a lighter tailpice results in "quicker" response. On the more scientific side, tuning the tailpiece (not to be confused with tuning the afterlength) to a multiple of the resonance frequency of the body (A0) is said by some to be the optimum for producing maximum sound output (when the neck resonance frequency (B0) have also been tuned to A0). The theory being that when all the major parts of the instrument are vibrating as one, more energy is released as sound.
     
  13. I took it back and have just had a new sound post fitted.

    Not a lot of difference as far as I can tell. Next gig is not for a week so I can't try with the amp. (neighbours are funny like that)

    The guy put the inconsistancy in sound down to the quality of the bass but I've been reading how string tension affects the way the bass sounds. I have also put on an old set of medium spiros to see if that makes a positive difference.

    I have a gut (no pun intended) feeling that the alterations I had done increased the overall tension on the top which is chocking up the sound and causing some notes to be louder than others.

    I spoke to someone today who recommended obligatos. (I'm checking out the string strings)

    Anyway, it'll do for now until i get enough to buy a real good bass.