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Volume differences between strings - is this a technique or bass problem?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MickeyMickey, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. MickeyMickey


    Dec 17, 2005
    I'm relatively new to bass guitar and I've noticed something about my bass in particular that is giving me problems.

    The bass in question is a 1996 Japanese Fender P-Bass. The problem with it is that when I play chromatic exercises across strings, there seems to be large volume differences between strings. The low E tends to be loudest and the G tends to be the quietest among the strings.

    Now, I'm trying to figure out if this is a problem with my technique (poor dynamics control) or if it's a problem with my guitar. I feel like it might be more a problem with my bass because I've played with a pick and feel the same problem was there. Also, I feel like this volume difference is only present when I play plugged in, so maybe the pickup needs to be lowered underneath the E string.

    On the other hand it might be my technique. I play with a shifting anchor, always anchoring my thumb one string below the string I'm playing, and when I'm on the E string I just don't anchor at all. This shift from anchor to no anchor might be the cause of the sudden volume increase since I no longer have the same stability I did with the other 3 strings.

    So has anyone experienced a problem like this? I'd appreciate any input on this.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yup - that's why they make pickups adjustable with little screws - making it very easy to raise or lower one side of your pickup(s)!! :)
  3. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    this is probably stating the bleedin obvious (so, sorry in advance) but G strings always will sound a bit weedy compared to your E string because there's less metal wobbling around in front of your pickup... and since the notes are higher in pitch you'll feel them in a different way.. more in your head and less in your stomach :)

    like Bruce said, you can compensate by raising/lowering the ends of your pickups

    on a Fender P your E string can often sound disproportionately loud anyway because of the curvature of the fingerboard... the radius is a lot smaller compared to many modern flat fingerboards... so when your action is set equally across the strings, the E string is closer to the plane of the body than the A & D strings...

    the only other thing I can think of it that maybe your g string is set up slightly different to the others and it's rattling on the frets and being slightly choked... but since you said it's only noticable when you plug in maybe this isn't it... although the high volume could just be magnifying the existing problem...