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string height

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by oliebrice, Apr 14, 2006.


  1. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    when people discuss their string eight on these threads, where are you measuring? also, do you measure from the lowest point or centre of the string? if we're talking millimetres that would make a difference.
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I measure fat the end of the fingerboard from the Ebony to the bottom of each string. This would be the distance between. Mostly, people measure in mm. It's easier to read MMs rather than 16ths and 32nds.

    Usually the G is lower to the board and the height gradually raises to the E. I use about 4-5mm/G to about 7-8mm E. The lowest or heighest for any type playing would be 3mm/G and 10mm/E but not those two on the same Bass. It averages about 1 to 1 1/2mms graduation from the G to the E strings in height across the fingerboard.

    The other measurement would be up at the Nut. I like my strings almost on the fingerboard with a minimum camber/scoup in the fingerboard. I also mainly use Flexocor Stark/heavy gauge which further allows me to have the strings lower than with regular orchestra gauge without the strings buzzing on the fingerboard.
     
  3. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    thanks Ken. I've been meaning to ask that on here for ages. My strings are about 7/8" on the E (depends which side of the string you measure, theres quite a gradient on my fingerboard under the E) and about 6" on the G. Does that sound high enough to experiment with Animas without getting adjusters or a higher bridge?
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's gotta be either a typo or the worst setup job in the history of the double bass.
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    By regular USA rulers I have about 3/16" under the G and 5/16ths under the E on my Dodd Bass. You need to measure again Olie and watch your math. Measure ONLY to the bottom of the string and do NOT include the String at all. It's the 'air space' between the end of the Fingerboard and the underside of the string that we measure by.
     
  6. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    sorry, read mm for '', but I would have thought that was obvious. or is something else confusing in my post? when I say 7/8, I mean 7 or 8, if that was the problem...
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Sorry - I read that as "seven eighths of an inch on the E, and six inches on the G"....which would make you a very manly sort of man for being able to play it at all. :D
     
  8. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    apart from my typos, anyone got any thoughts on the actual question?
     
  9. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    That should work. Pretty close to where mine is with them.
     
  10. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006

    Right now, if my millimetering is correct, mine is 6mm on the G and 9mm on the E.
    Now, I've noticed in the last week or 2 with the warmer weather and humidity, that the bass is harder to play. This happens to me every summer, because the woods expanded, etc.
    When my bass was last set up in March at Gage's, I told him to put the action where John Patitucci had it. I don't know what is was, because I didn't measure it, but it's definitely feeling different and sounding different now, so I may lower it a little.
    Any ideas on how much of a crank on the adjusters to move it a millimeter?
     
  11. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    For the typical 1/4-20 thread, a full turn would raise or lower the bridge .05", or 1.27mm.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'm glad you asked that question, as I have succumbed to temptation and ordered a set of Velvet Animas as well!!

    I think my string height is higher than yours! ;)
     
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I can sure see 3mm as the lowest a G would ever get, but 10mm as the highest an E would ever get? Given that the nominal height of the E is 8-9 mm, it seems that 10mm is far from the highest it would go for "any type playing." Gee, where was Ray Brown's E?
     
  14. I've seen setups where the E was MUCH higher than 10mm, even on basses owned by pro players who presumably knew what they wanted. On Ahnolds New Standard website, he recommends 12mm - 16mm for slappers using gut strings.

    BTW, I read somewhere years ago that Ray Brown's string height was about 9 mm for the E string (when he was using Spiros).

    Jim
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    When I quoted 10mm, you can be sure it was not for slappers. I have no clue what they do. I play Jazz and Classical. I have set-up dozens of Basses with no complaints ever and tweaked all the set-ups that others deliver to me. I stand by the numbers for the way I would play the styles I mentioned.
     
  16. Ken, when you said "any type playing" in post #2 above, I assumed you meant ANY type of playing. Even within your new parameters, which I take to be jazz and classical playing using steel or synthetic core strings, I know of some pro players who like their strings just a little higher.

    I'm certainly not questioning your ability to do great setup work, and I'm grateful to be able to take advantage of your knowledge and experience here on TBDB.

    BTW, I'm using Thomastik Dominants set at 6.5mm - 9mm.

    Jim

    Edit: Ken, in re-reading your post it looks like you're talking about your own personal string height preferences, not string heights in general. If that's the case, please disregard the first part of this post.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ask 100 guys and get 100 different answers. Any type like diving off a cliff playing death music? I give my opinions when asked, that's all I have to offer.
     
  18. juggle4

    juggle4

    Apr 25, 2006
    Georgia
    Thanks for all the info regarding string height. A related
    question--since steel strings can be set lower than gut,
    do you find it easier to play a low set of steel strings than
    slightly higher gut? I was leaning toward gut until I recently
    played a bass set up with low steel strings. I didn't measure
    the height, but they felt like they were nearly on the fingerboard and were quite comfortable. I am not using a
    bow, and I realize there are many factors in how different
    basses play besides gut vs steel issue, but for those of you
    who have played both gut and steel, I'd be interested in your
    comments. Thanks.
     
  19. flatwoundfender

    flatwoundfender

    Feb 24, 2005
    Steel strings are almost always be easier to play. I don't think to many non-slappers choose gut for the way it plays, they choose it for the sound. The same thing with setting strings higher (both steel and gut). When lowering your strings you have to consider whether you like the tone difference, and if you're planning on playing unamplified. If you plan on playing unamplified you need your strings high enough that you can play hard without buzzing.
     

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