Setup Advice needed: E string goes dead

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Hey guys, I have an Ernie Ball MM SR5 which I tune ADGCF. Lately, The D (e) string has started to go dead almost immediatly. Actually it doesn't really go just doesn't sustain at all. The open string note is just a dull "thud" and dies off almost immediatly. This does not happen with the other strings. I thought originally it was just a side effect of the lower tuning on a 34" scale bass, but the problem does not occur with the A (B) string. The setup on this bass is average height, with very little neck relief. Intonation is perfect. I've tried a couple of different guages as well.....any advice.....???????

  2. Joshua? Could you elaborate a bit more on this? I've heard of this before, but I'm wondering how this problem would affect an "open" string and not fretted notes.., and how a person can avoid this problem when restringing..

    pablomigraine: It almost sounds like you're describing a deadspot, especially since it appears to be on one string only, and on one particular note. One way to test would be to temporarily tune that one string up a halfstep or more, and see if the open note is still dead. If it's a deadspot, the dead note should move down a fret or so. You can downtune and try it as well just for testing.
    Just try it on that one string.. Don't uptune all the strings because this could change the action considerably, and mask the cause of the problem..
    The deadspots I'm referring to are usually the result of the note's frequency causing the neck's wood to vibrate at that same frequency, essentially killing the note.. You'll find this problem on many basses, and it's dependent on that particular note, type of strings, and many times on the neck's setup as well..

  3. Sorry about that.. After rereading his post, couldn't tell if he meant only the open note on that one string either.

    What we need is some ball-bearing spacers between our string ball and bridge to keep the twist out.., or even a ball-bearing bridge?
    Besides that, I guess it might be best to install the string, then loosen it and let the ball end move/rotate to an untwisted position, then tighten back up. That might help to get most of the twist out.

  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I believe thats the problem as well, happened to me once.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There was a huge thread on this that nobody could give the guy the right answer. Then the guy said he wrote Labella and they said it was because the string gets twisted when you hand wind it around the posts, and you should wind it up using the tuner. Worked like a charm for me.

    You should have seen some of the ridiculous answers the guy got before he contacted LaBella, though. One guy, once he heard the right answer, even said, "Obviously we mistook you for a knowledgeable bass player." RIIIIIIGHT!

    Here's the thread...notice how quick I start goofing on the wrong answers:
  6. Another thing that can happen (although it's not happening here, I feel lonely so I thought I'd add to the conversation) is that if your action is too low, the pick-up can make the string dead. I play a Yamaha Attitude bass and the action is SUPER low and the pick-up is pretty high. When I played E string it wouldn't have much sustain because the pick-up was stopping it vibrating. Please don't hate me.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't hate you. You're like the son I never had.

    (Don't forget my $20)

    You make a good point, though. A pickup too close will cause excessive magnetic pull on the string. But in this case, I think the string is just twisted.
  8. $20? We agreed of $15. You sold me out Jimmy!