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Weird problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Showdown, Mar 21, 2006.


  1. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've been setting up my basses for years and never had this happen before. I put on a set of TI flats and noticed a doubling, almost chorus sound when I play an E - any E on the bass. There is the same thing on every A also, but not as loud. I did a setup, set the relief to the amount I use on all my basses (I eyeball it) and check to see if there was any buzzing. No buzzing, just the weird sound. I took the strings off and put the TI Superalloy that had been on there before, and it does the same thing, but not as loud. I hadn't noticed it with the SA, but the flats seemed to really bring it out. You can hear it acoustically too, so it isn't the electronics.

    Any idea what could cause that?

    edit: I should say that it is a '87 Gibson IV (not Thunderbird IV) with a set neck.
     
  2. Drop the pickups away from the strings. The magnetic field can interfere with the vibration of the strings.
     
  3. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    im thinking E is the natural frequency your bass vibrates at. either that, or your pickup is loose and also has the natural frequency of E. read up resonant freqency, its quite interesting (like how soldiers never march across a bridge in step to avoid hitting one of the resonant frequencies and demolishing it)

    your As have a pretty low E harmonic in them (the fifth) so i think thats the ringing on the A also. are your pickups epoxied? lift them out and check for the foam that keeps them against the screws?

    my church's hall has a natural resonant frequency of A. its pretty damped down, but everyone's A rings louder.

    all this is imho. changing the weight of the bass (tuners, bridge, knobs, anything) might help, if its not the pickups.
     
  4. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I lowered the pickups and it didn't change it. I had thought about the resonant frequency, so I tried a Fat Fingers on the headstock. That changes the resonant frequency of the bass to remove dead spots on the neck. It should have changed the frequency that caused the problem but didn't. I'm wondering if maybe the truss rod is vibrating or something.
     
  5. aarono

    aarono

    Feb 14, 2006
    Minnesota
    Does it sound like someone is shaking a pill bottle lightly?
     
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    not really. More like there are two notes played simultaneously.
     
  7. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I would say that your bass is possessed by a demon and needs to be exorcized.
     
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I was afraid of that. :( It is hard to find a good bass exorcist these days....
     
  9. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I do that. Wipe the bass down with a $100 bill and mail tthe money to me. I'll take care of it.
     
  10. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Sure thing, I'll email it to you...;)

    Or would you prefer FAX?
     
  11. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Seriously though, which one of your basses does this and what did you do just before putting on the TI flats?
     
  12. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    It is a '87 Gibson IV, set neck. I didn't do anything except put the strings on - one at a time as I always do. Then I had to loosen the truss rod a hair due to the lower tension. That is it. After I heard the sound I played with the setup to see if it was set up related, raising the action until I could visually see that the string wasn't hitting the fret in front of it or anything like that. I have (I think) 17 basses and do the setup on all of them and have never seen this before.

    It isn't as bad with the Super Alloys on it. It is not really noticable unless you listen for it, but the flats really bring it out.
     
  13. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Thanks, but I put the previous set back on and it still does it. It isn't as loud with those as with the TI flats, so I think it was there all along and I just didn't notice it.
     
  14. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    You could try using a small piece of foam under the strings right up against the bridge, just touching the strings. You don't want to deaden the string too much, just damp out that sound. You don't want a dead thud.

    It's a very old studio bassists trick to get a better sound on tape. It might work in this case.
     
  15. aquateen

    aquateen

    Apr 14, 2005
    maryland
    the sound you describe is generally what happens when the pickups are too close to the strings. can you lower the pups any further? have you tried raising the action? another possibility is to bring it to your tech and let him work on it.
     
  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    i've done both. The space between the pickups and the strings is twice what I have on any of my other 17 basses.
     

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