Tension problems??..

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DaRK_CaRNiVaL, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. DaRK_CaRNiVaL


    Sep 13, 2005

    I have had my Squier P-Bass for about 3 months now and I have already had it set up by the shop I bought it from.

    What I was having problems with before was also fret buzz but to solve that problem all I did was lift the saddles so the strings were higher up.

    Now I got sick of having high strings after a while so I went to the same shop to look at some of the other basses they had. Most of them sounded good with strings much lower (even the exact same bass as mine).

    I didnt want to lower the strings just like that because my neck had quite a bit of relief or bow in it (a lot more than the same squier sitting in the shop) so I took it there and the luthier adjusted my TR for me so my neck was more straight. That way I could have the strings lower without buzzing.

    Then later I get home, tune it all up properly and find that my E and A strings have lost tension (for some reason when I tried it in the shop I didnt notice it).. the E and A strings are too floppy so it buzzes more than it did before. I dont know what to do since the other squier in the shop had a pretty straight neck and quite low strings and it was all good and mine has lost tension. I have the stock strings on mine.

    Any idea whats wrong/what I can do? :confused:
    (sorry about the length)
  2. DaRK_CaRNiVaL


    Sep 13, 2005

    I was having a jam with my mate last night and it was pretty annoying having the E and A string with less tension than the D and G string.

  3. DC, I'm going to try to explain this and not sound like I'm making you look stoopid - In reality, your strings didn't loose tension. I know that sounds weird given what you experienced but I'll explain. String "tension" is primarily affected by 3 things - pitch, string length (scale), and the thickness of the string (gauge). But all tension readings are made at proper tuned pitch as the baseline so the last two are more likely to be varied and change the string's tension. All of these goofy posts claiming increased string tension by changing the "break angle" over the nut or saddle and extending the length of the string after the nut are simply wrong in their conclusion and contrary to the laws of physics. If you didn't change your scale length (tough at best!) and didn't change the gauge of strings you used, and tuned up to the same tuning you used before the adjustments, then the tension was the same as it was before you achieved your ideal setup. After all, a well setup neck is simply a matter of getting the angle of the strings to the surface of the neck correct - it doesn't change the tension of the string. Think about it - if you "tighten" the string aren't you adding tension? But tightening will increase it's pitch too, won't it? Then tuning to the same pitch should produce the same string tension since there hasn't been an alteration to the other two variables in the equation - scale length and string gauge.
  4. DaRK_CaRNiVaL


    Sep 13, 2005
    Thanks Hambone,

    Its good you pointed out the obvious as ive only had my bass for 3 months so im still learning all of these things.

    I think using the word tension is incorrect as you pointed out.

    But it definetley FEELS different to before and I guess its just a matter of getting used to it by playing with it.

  5. OK, now your onto it! You've got the idea in mind perfectly - it's "perceived tension" that we always are comparing. That can be changed a lot of ways and getting a lower action is one of them - depending on the bass/string combination of course. The more flexible a string is - like roundwounds - the greater the chance that it will feel floppy under play. But if it doesn't equate as a flabbiness in the amplified tone, then it isn't hurting the sound. You might not be able to get around on it like you might another bass but the sound isn't suffering. What likely happened in your case was the strings were so far off the fretboard that it took a bit more ooomph to fret them. That little extra is felt as addtional tension. When the new setup was put on, the strings were then low enough that pressing them doesn't push them out of line as far and doesn't increase their tension as much for the particular note played.