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Too much muah on my fretless - Is it my strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by gapupten, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Last week I received a used Mike Lull Fretless which had been converted from a fretted bass. From day one it had that fretless "muah" that would not quit. That's the problem, its too much.
    The Lull is an M4 with bartolini soapbars, Cocabola board, I do not know the brand of the strings but they are roundwound and look to be a light guage. The nut was originally cut too high and I have cut the nut down so that it has about a business card of clearance at the nut, which is more than my Pedualla fretless has.
    This excess and uncontrolled Muah was present when I received the bass, before and after cutting the nut and after adjustments to the neck tension and hight of the saddle. The actual play of the strings is now low action and normally where I play my Pedulla fretless. By way of contrast, when I play a Pedulla string, the sound is a constant singing which varies in intensity with how hard I strike it. Sometimes when striking the Lull string it seems that the Muah is delayed for a small fraction of a second and uncontrolled, almost as if there are multiple vibrations going on. In the Pedulla the degree of muah is controllable by how I play. The Lull is always inconsistant and it is so, up and down the string. The principal culprits are the E and A strings.
    Anyway, I seem to remember that light guage stings and round wound strings produce more muah on a fretless. I was going to change the strings to flats or half rounds but I wanted to see if any of you had any ideas. Its the inconsistant and delayed Muah that concerns me the most. It is hard to describe a string sound, but hopeully you get the idea.
    Thanks for any help you can give me.
  2. Assuming the action is lowered because of the nut, have you tried lowering the pickups at all to see if anything sounds better or worse, I know magnetic fields are touchy things, and maybe lowering your pup height a bit may help solve the problem. Just something to try. Good luck.
  3. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I had too much mwah on my fretless p bass...

    so I took the strings off of it, and through some rotosound nylons... and wah lah... sounds like an upright... with a hint of mwuah
  4. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    the way I fixed a similar problem was to remove all the strings take the neck off if it is a bolt on. Relieve the truss rod tension untill the neck is flat Use a long steel ruler for this , ( count the number of revolutionsyou make )you may find a few dips between the old fret lins. then with a sanding block sand the neck with 180 grit paper untill its dead flat
    then come up in grade to 240 then 320 400 and finish with 600. I then rub with beeswax and polish.

    retension the Truss rod the same number of turns as you took off, then refit the neck . using a higher tension string will also help . remember to ajust the string height to suit the new strings and check the intonation . then over the next few days check the neck for the correct bow ( I use a capo at the first fret position and press the string at the bridge end of the fingerboard and there should be about .5 mm hollow at the 7 fret position .
    Im not a Luthier but have been setting up my basses for 30 odd years and it works for me
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Too much mwah........I didn't think there was such a thing. :)
  6. Oh, there is IMO. To me, too much mwah IS LIKE SHOUTING ALL THE TIME.;) (forgive the caps--done to make a point).
  7. Sounds like a setup issue to me. I'd say take it to a good tech and tell him/her what you told us. I'd think the approriate adjustments of the saddles and the truss rod, along with maybe different strings, would bring things under control. You might also, as one of the guys suggested, have some high or low spots on the neck. These might take a little more work or money to deal with but could certainly be handled.
  8. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    I'd try putting flatwounds on there first. I'd avoid stainless steel. Maybe the LaBella tapewounds.
  9. Tritone

    Tritone Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America
  10. I second Richard's point, sounds like the neck is too flat and in need of a set-up. If the buzzing (muah) seems to happen more under the 12th fret try adding some relief to the neck, is above the 12th try raising the action. The nut on my fretless is almost level with the fretboard, and I like my neck almost straight, but I find that varying my technique can quell the mwah for the most part or bring it out if I so choose.

    Before changing strings (and spending the money necessary to do so) try backing off the truss rod, it might just do the trick.
  11. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
  12. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA

    Are you sure it's not technique? :p
  13. Aw man, I never said setup wasn't important! It's one of the factors, and to me, in this case, it sounds like probably the major one.

    That's OK, all in good fun....:cool:
  14. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Thanks guys..
    Certainly alot to work with. I'm just glad no one pointed out the button on the back of the bass which I forgot to push that makes everything perfect.
  15. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Thanks guys for all the help.
    In my case, a simple change from 100 round wounds to 105 medium flatwounds (D'Addario Chromes) did the trick. After trying all of the neck tension and saddle adjustments I could think of, I thought it had to be the string tension being too low. This caused the strings (especially the E and A strings) to flop around producing uncontrolled muah. (Not a rattle in the string as in a neck needing a little more bow.)
    Anyway, I wanted to post this because I have noticed that most people who post problems, don't post the resolution of the problems.
    Doesn't really help the next guy with the same problem.
    Anyway, with your help, mine are resoloved.
    Thanks Again. :)