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String advice please

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Rockin Mike, Jul 18, 2014.


  1. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Right now I'm playing Circle K balanced tension .142 .106 .079 .059 .043 on an Ibanez SR-535. I like the tone character of the Circle Ks but I suspect the thin neck of the Ibanez presents a bit of a challenge on the low B. It has always sounded a bit warbly and flanged with any string I've tried. I think this is due to the thinness of the neck allowing it to soak up vibrations from the string, thus the neck's resonant frequencies are subtracted from the string resulting in a kind of comb-filtery sound. You can hear it at the end of this clip:



    I have been very careful to install the strings without any twist, including using the tuning key to wrap the string around the post instead of hand-looping, and the trick about loosening the installed string and letting the ball end shift to an untwisted position.

    I like the playability of the Ibanez SR neck profile and getting a higher model Ibanez with a stiffer neck may be an option in the future, but at present I'd like to try different strings to see if I can find a set that sounds really muscular on the SR-535. The tone goal would be in the direction of Alice in Chains' "Would", Tool "Schism", or Queensryche's "Jet City Woman", or even Green Day "Longview"
    Alice in Chains "Would"
    Tool "Schism"
    Queensryche "Jet City Woman"
    Green Day "Longview"
    Yes, I know, the commonalities in these 3 examples are thick neck (Spector/Warwick/Fender), flatpick and a dash of overdrive, but for the time being I am working with the Ibanez, a new set of pups and a dash of overdrive. An addendum to the tone goal is that I need versatility. I am called on to play country, motown and pop as well as hard rock and need to be able to dial those in with EQ, backing off the OD, and switching to fingers.

    I'm getting acceptable (to me) results with my current bass except for that flangey B. I don't want to have to muzzle all my treble just to mask it; I don't have thousands or even hundreds of dollars to spend experimenting;

    Can you suggest a choice of strings to get more bicep in my B with my current axe? I'm guessing that means more fundamental and low mids, without sacrificing the 600-800 kHz snarl. Actually, if my hypothesis is correct, the neck is subtracting something crucial in the 600-800 kHz range so strings that present an abundance of energy in that band may be good candidates.

    I'm using a Kahler 2415 tremolo bridge with forward saddles, so the tailpiece is pretty far away from the saddles. This means the taper part of just about any taper string will be behind the saddle, not in the "speaking length" of the string:
    https://www.kahlerusa.com/guitar-tremolo-and-bridge/2405f-n5-cx-5-string-bass-with-forward-saddles

    Thanks for all advice vis-a-vis strings or other ways to address the flangey B problem.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  2. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    I suspect the 'warble and flange' is not due to the neck but due to having the full gauge on the saddle instead of the tapered section, perhaps try to find strings with a longer tapered section such as perhaps DR long necks? I seem to remeber they have a very long tapered section. B strings always sound a bit weird due to their thickness, having the tapered section on the saddle also creates a slightly odd tone but maybe worth a try. That CKS B sounds damn good to me (BTW CKS / Kalium are launching steel roundwounds soon).
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  3. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I have another bass with the saddle-rearward version of the Kahler tremolo:
    https://www.kahlerusa.com/guitar-tremolo-and-bridge/2410-n5-cx-5-string-bass-with-rearward-saddles
    and it was flangey too with about an inch of taper past the saddle. In fact, that was the reason for going to the saddle-forward version in my next bass.
    I later found the saddle-forward gets more leverage on the string for a bouncier action, so that was a plus.
    I'll get that old bass out and A/B it with this one.

    Do you mean the one in my clip or the Circle K B string in general?
     
  4. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Yes the optimum is to have the tapered section on the saddle and the full gauge as close to the saddle as possible, but that's hard to acheive with current string and bridge design. I think Bs wil sound different whatever the setup because 34/35" just isn't long enough and forces a large gauge which causes inharmonicity (harmonics out of tune with fundamental = flanging).
    Yes the B in your clip sounds good, very clear.
     
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Interesting, thanks for the info.
    You're making me want to try a Dingwall or something else with a super-long scale B.
    Dingwall is a 37" scale B if I recall correctly.

    I wonder if the flanging just got my attention because it was the first time I heard it with the clarity of a direct recording.
     

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