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Weird Overtones?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by tehbassist, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Ok so I'm playing a Yamaha bb415 5 string, with a kahler trem on it and DR Long Necks for strings, and I've been getting these weird Harmonic overtones on my B E A D, they become more apparent as I play higher on the fret board; the G string is the only string unaffected by these harmonics and is also the only string without a taper on the ball end, I started using the DR's the same time as I put the Kahler on because I needed a taper to go over the bridge so I can really point to one or the other; however I didn't get (or at least notice) any of this until I put on the trem and new strings.

    Anybody seen something like this before or have any ideas as to what it may be? Help is greatly appreciated!
  2. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown

    May 1, 2000
    SLC, UT
    It sounds to me like your pickups may be too high.
  3. Just did that and besides improving my tone didn't really accomplish anything, question still stands...
  4. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    How much distance is there between the witness point of the string at your bridge saddle and where the string reaches full thickness?

    It could be inharmonicity, particularly if you run with higher tension.

    Most bass bridges give you zero control over this, but you want the full thickness of the string as close to that break angle point as possible.
  5. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Do you have to use the taper wound strings? I put a set on and noticed a similar effect. I switched back to standard wound strings and the problem went away.
  6. I have the same problem, though it is only the open A where it is really pronounced. I've checked out everything I can think of (pickup height, bridge saddle, nut, sympathetic string vibrations, etc.) and nothing eliminates it. The problem is not in the electronics b/c you can hear the overtones w/out plugging in. My guess at this point is that it is either the neck or body wood itself adding the extra harmonics at that particular frequency. I don't have a grasp of the physics, but the general idea is that an object like a guitar (or a suspension bridge) can react more or less with it's own vibrations when subjected to various fundamental frequencies. In this case, I am guessing that my bass as a whole happens to react with those added harmonics at the open 'A' frequency.
  7. Found this at Wikipedia

    So, it looks like this problem can sometimes simply be a characteristic of a particular instrument (i.e. neck, body or both).
  8. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Moved to Strings until we know for sure what it is :)
    THEN the strings mods can move it back if need be :)
  9. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    This would be my guess as well. I had Long Necks on my STR for a short time, and I had the same problem. If your bass doesn't have a string-through bridge, chances are that there's too great a distance between the point where the string crosses the saddle and the point where it reaches full thickness.

    The only thing that fixed the issue for me was changing the strings, unfortunately.
  10. PluckyThump


    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    My only experience with taper-wound strings, a recent set of Dean Markley SR2000, was a terrible one. Taper-wounds are crap! Nasty overtones, bad intonation and you have to crank up the bridge saddles to stop them from buzzing which wrecks your action. I ditched these and put D'Addario XLs on, lowered the saddles back down, set the intonation, much better now! Sounds like a bass again.
  11. RoboChrist

    RoboChrist Guest

    Jul 8, 2009
    Hmmm..I'm having the same problem with exposed core strings in conjunction with a vintage -style bent plate bridge. This is how the bass came from the factory. I would say there's about one inch of totally bare wire before the winding even starts.
  12. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Is there a thru-body option for the bridge?

    If not, you could use washers or something to put behind the bridge holes and push the strings back.
  13. RoboChrist

    RoboChrist Guest

    Jul 8, 2009
    No string-thru option unfortunately. I'm leaning towards converting to full core strings..haven't actually tried them on this bass yet and it should be interesting.
  14. RoboChrist

    RoboChrist Guest

    Jul 8, 2009
    Gonna try out an old fave:

  15. ricknote


    Aug 3, 2006
    I have a Bacchus bass that has some of that going on.
    But it is an otherwise lively and cool sounding bass
    that I love.

    Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

    I guess it depends on wether it is fun to play or not...
    Never had a bass that was perfect. Ever.

  16. Exactly - well said. Any instrument will have it's idiosyncrasies - for myself, I've just gotten used to it b/c I like everything else about the bass.
  17. Joe Murray

    Joe Murray

    May 14, 2008
    Fairfax, VA
    I had this issue once with my Spector. After changing strings, and setting it up I forgot to lock the saddles back up on the bridge. I'm guessing your issue may stem from yoru bridge as well. :(
  18. GreenWithEnvy


    Dec 20, 2011
    I'm very interested in this thread. I'm wondering if "weird overtones" is the same issue I'm having with one of my basses. On the A, near the octave, suddenly for about five frets, the volume is twice as loud and it literally rattles the walls. The bass doesn't have to be plugged in, and you can still hear the effect unplugged. I changed strings, same thing. Is this what you mean by "weird overtones"?
  19. GreenWithEnvy


    Dec 20, 2011
    A wolf tone! Thanks for that wickipedia link. That explains my issue exactly. "A wolf tone, or simply a "wolf", is produced when a played note matches the natural resonating frequency of the body of a musical instrument, producing a sustaining sympathetic artificial overtone that amplifies and expands the frequencies of the original note."

    I asked my guitar tech to get rid of it and he has somewhat of an accent that is hard to understand sometimes. And he said he couldn't get rid of it because it's a naturally resonating sweet spot that happens to be on the bass. I had no idea what he was saying, but now I understand that he was trying to tell me that this is a phenomenon with some basses.
  20. RoboChrist

    RoboChrist Guest

    Jul 8, 2009
    The issue in this thread has to do with a certain string design that causes intonation issues with certain bridge designs.

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