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Strings Slapping the Fingerboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Inky13, Nov 28, 2017.


  1. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    OK here's the deal: P-Bass body, Mighty Mite fretless neck, tapewound strings.
    At the last job, late first set, the strings kept loosing tension and flopped against the fingerboard when I was playing in low positions. It was as if the pull from my left hand and the push from my right were bending the neck back. Pulled out the back up and finished the gig. Home, I tightened the neck screws but still no joy. Full disclosure: the bass came from a cold car to a warm room. I love this bass but it's always been a bit slappy for my taste, no matter how much I raise the action.
    Just thought I'd get some opinions before it goes into the shop. Thanks fellow Low-Enders!
     
  2. Bobster

    Bobster

    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    If the bridge saddles aren't slipping (Loctite if so) you may have too much give, or banana neck. This means that the neck can't maintain a setup with the gauge strings you're using. If that's the case, the only permanent fix is to replace the neck. Also when checking this (as I'm sure your Luthier will) you will want to let the bass normalize to room temperature.

    I had this issue with one Fender 70's Jazz Bass I'd purchased new. Ultimately Fender replaced the instrument. The new one was very stable.

    All the best,

    Bob
     
    Inky13 likes this.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Start with proper string installation on the tuners. Are you inserting the string in the end of the tuner bent 90 degrees, and securing the string with multiple wraps? Sounds like strings slipping at the tuner to me.
     
  4. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Check the relief.
     
  5. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    The bass stays in tune. The set up was professionally done.
     
  6. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    It can't be in tune if the string tension dropped as you described in your first post.

    Which is it?
     
  7. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    With a light touch it's playable. Only when there's some pressure on the neck does it lose tension and slap against the board. If it were on a stand and you plucked the open strings, it would be in tune.
     
  8. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    You say: "I love this bass but it's always been a bit slappy for my taste, no matter how much I raise the action."

    How is that possible? I like some string noise when I play, it can be used to be percussive and if the action is high I get none of it.
     
  9. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    It either stays in tune or it doesn't.

    If the neck was bending back the string tension would go up and the notes would choke out against the frets.
    For the tension to go down the neck would have to bend forward, away from you.

    Which is it?
     
  10. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    I guess what I was trying to say is that I'm attempting to get rid of some dead/rattley spots. Coming from an UB background, I don't like a super-low action. But mine isn't sky-high by any means.
    Sometimes it's difficult to describe in words something as personal and tactile as a musical instrument.
     
  11. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    I was thinking the same thing. I would have to say it's more of a choking against the fingerboard situation.
     
  12. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    If you can’t play it without flexing the neck to the point of fretting out, you need a new neck. That one seems like a pool noodle.

    Nylon tape wounds are very low tension and that doesn’t help matters. They don’t create as much resistance to your left hand pulling the neck back as would full steel flats. Try some flats instead.

    Or a meatier neck.

    Or adjust your technique so you don’t flex the neck.
     
  13. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    A few turns on the truss rod did the trick. My tech said he sees this a lot this time of year, but i've never had one go out that much.
    You learn something every day.
     

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