Weird double tone in upper frets.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by S. Byrnes, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. I dont know if this an electronics problem, but Im assuming it might have something to with setup. Around the 12th fret and higher I get a weird double tone, like Im playing through a harmonization pedal. It sounds kinda cool :D , but I would like it a lot better just playing one note. Anyone have any ideas? I gave it a home setup to spec a few months ago and it was working fine until recently. The bass is a 2000 MIM Fender Deluxe Jazz 5-string. Thanks.

    Edit: My neck pickup when soloed doesnt seem to pick up the low B or the E string very well and sounds fuzzy. Thats a problem...
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    This seems to be infamous "double beating" problem which affects Jazz basses when played up high on the neck.

    I don't have the full story, but somethig about the magnet arrangement in Jazz pickups pulls on the strings in a way that produces weird overtones and intonation problems on the lower strings.
  3. Hmm, would changing pickups to something with covered poles help? ?
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The "full story" can be found on Roscoe Beck's website - so when he designed his signature bass with Fender - he got completely new pickups made, with a lot more smaller magnets, rather than the fewer big ones on normal Jazz basses' pickups.
  5. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    Just lower your pickups.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But that will also lower the output level - which may not be desirable...?
  7. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    Yes maybe but you won’t have wolf tones
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Read the article, I linked to above!!
  9. what strings are you using? this sounds kinda similar to a problem other TBers are having with some tapered string set.
  10. I'm using DR HiBeams, I'm not sure of those are tapered though.
  11. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    So you're suggesting he should get new pickups when what most people would do is lower their pickups a bit, because they are currently higher than needed?
  12. If one's pickups are mounted where one gets the tone and volume one wants then the pickups are NOT higher than needed. Lowering the pickup would be a compromise to the tone when the actual problem is a flaw in the design of the standard 5 pup and it's relationship with the string.

    Bruce did not suggest changing pickups. He pointed out an article that addressed the subject on how Roscoe Beck and Fender solved a similar problem. What S.Byrnes does is his choice but having all of the information available is necessary for an informed decision.

    Lowering pickups surely does reduce the strings input to the magnets but it also changes the relative location of the string in the magnetic field of the pickup. THAT alteration changes tone, timbre, and all sorts of nuanced details not just the eliminationof one particular problem. When you play at the pro level, tiny changes in these area's are big changes to your ears.

    And HZ, the topic isn't about, as you describe a "wolf" tone. In fact there isn't any such thing as a "wolf " tone to begin with. "Wolf" is an ignorant bastardization of the original term "woof" that has been used in audio circles since time began to describe the phenomenon of a single low frequency tone having a pronouned volume over it's peer frequencies. This is just a syncing up of the resonant frequencies of a speaker and the room it's being played in. The term came from a time when "woofer" and "tweeter" were contemporary phrases.
  13. OK dude! if you don't like the harmonic tones on the higher frets, then your pickups are to high and your professional level ears are telling you so. If It wasn't making that noise before you set it up yourself, do you think it is quite possible you may have made a mistake, and set the pickup 1mm to high. Those subtle undesirable tones are because one of your pickups is to close to the strings.

    Tappered stings will bring themselves closer to the pickup by the way they sit in the saddle, supposedly in some instances creating the "Double tone" you speak of. Solution Lower pickup to compensate.
  14. Although DR High beams are not tappered I'm sure lowering the pickup is still the most desireable solution. Replacing the pickup will alter you tone much greater than lowering it slightly. Assuming you desire the tone you already have.
  15. I lowered the pickups. That helped a LOT. I had set the bass up myself and everything was perfectly in line with what Fender recommended but its clear that the pickups were too high (the poles are raised and I measured from the plastic so maybe that was my mistake). I had a lot of problems with the strings hitting the poles and making annoying popping noises, and the output was alot higher than my other basses. Everything is sweet now. Thanks
  16. Uh, I hate to burst your bubble...but you're very wrong. Wolf Tones have been recognized for WAY longer than "woofers and tweeters" were ever even thought of. Ever since stringed instruments have been around in fact...that's hundreds of years before "woofer" was coined.

    This is one of MANY links describing the phenomena. Now...if you had known that wolf tones are primarily a concern of "classical" instrument players i.e. cello, double bass, viola etc. and chose to correct HMZ on that very relevant point I'd have no reason to go on further.

    but...I play a $6.8k 3/4 upright bass, and have had problems with the aforementioned "no such thing" One fix recomended by a prominent and respected luthier was this device:, and this as well:

    Also, just do a search for wolf tone on this site, and you'll see it's widely recognized among upright players.

    Peace :bassist:

  17. Are you taking issue with my statement that the word "wolf" should have been "woof" or are you saying that I erroneously stated that there isn't such a thing as a "wolf/woof" tone? Read the post again AND do your own search on TB of the term "woof tone". The results just might show you that I don't dispute the existence of such a phenomena.

    On the first point: I have always been told by and learned from folks older than me (and much older than you), the term "woof" tone. In fact, until I got back into the music scene about 5 years ago after a long layoff, I had never heard another version of the term. Since then, I've heard and seen both versions. Since my experience with the term "wolf tone" is virtually non-existent, I stand by the validity of my original statement. That's not to say that there isn't an equally valid alternative spelling/pronunciation. It just means that I've never been made aware of one until now. Apparently I'm not the only one that uses this term in this context.

    From an article by Glenn Letsch in Electronic Musician magazine:
    From describing an old import bass:
    From the Bottom Line Vol 1998 #3
    From the Bottom Line Vol 1996 #27 - Hey, an upright player!
    So here's the thing GM, I do know what a woof tone is and I am using the term "woof tone" accurately and correctly. Take issue with my etymology and I'll quickly agree with your observation. Hey, I learn something new every day. But get your facts real straight before taking me to task over a situation where my take is as correct as yours. mkay?
  18. I'm having the same problem with the B string on my bass, I have a single 6 string MM pickup, and whenever I play above about the 6th fret, I strat to get those weird tones. I've tried just pushing the pickup down, but it only lowers the output and you can still faintly hear those weird tones. I'm using a tapered B string, should I swap to a different set without tapered?