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What makes a floppy B....well, floppy?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eastcoasteddie, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I keep reading threads about how floppy one B string is on one 34" bass, and how "pretty good" another B string is on another 34" bass, etc.
    So what is it that makes one floppy and another not-so-floppy....they are both 34" scale basses, right? The string length from nut to bridge should be 34" (thereabout, not taking intonation adjustment into consideration). The B on bass-A should be as floppy or as "pretty good" as on bass-B.
    Could it be as simple as changing from a .125 B to a .130 to end the floppiness? A thicker string will need to be wound tighter, in-turn be no-so-floppy.
    (This is meant to kind of be a tongue-in-cheek post....not really a serious question)
    I use a .130 B on 34" Basses and never see the B as "floppy". I feel that a 34" B has a nicer growl to it than a 35".
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Neck stiffness, strings and set-up mostly.
    I would also say that some B strings "sound floppy" even though they aren't physically loose, this is a whole different story.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  3. Neck stiffness is part of it. I think, electronics is a big part in sound but not so much feel. I also think bridge design has part. For example with a lot of bridges the string actually twists when putting on new strings. If you've ever owned a warwick or a bass with the hipshot quick release style bridge. What I've always done with those basses is wind the new string up then before tuning it up completely I relieve that twisting. With my stingray I compensate for it a little but maybe the tuners also come into play because it doesn't twists as much. If you want to do a very simple basic experiment. Take a rubber band and stretch it between to points and flick it so it vibrates. Twist it up and try it again and it doesn't vibrate the same. It's "dead", all the harmonic overtones of a note come from all the little curves of the string as it vibrates that's what causes a tone to be nice and thick or thin and dead. With low b those extra frequencies are even more important than other strings because the fundamental frequency of the low b is so low it typically gets EQed out of most PA systems and a lot of bass cabs don't really produce it.
  4. If you have a flacid one.........

    Get a taperwound set of strings, the narrower winding (taper) at the bridge allows a better break point at the saddle, increasing the fundamental tone by allowing the string to resonate more along its speaking length, if you have a thicker B (.120+) this can make a floppy or weak B string as the windings over the bridge stop the contact.

    Not my image, but taken from these forums :)
  5. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    This is a big part I think. I didn't realize just how much the strings can twist until a year or two ago when I read about this. Since then, I wind the string, then pull it out of the bridge and let it straighten, then finish winding. It's made a huge difference in eliminating some of that pinched or dead tone. It's not like it always did it, but some strings (and the larger, lower strings like b and e) seemed to be more problematic.

    I also agree that electronics make a difference, and pickup location. The low B on my thumb feels the same (or very similar) to the low B on the P-nut, yet it sounds of much clearer and tighter. The streamer stage I also sounded very clear and tight, but did get a little less so when I favored the neck pickup, but the pickups are closer to the bridge than on the pnut.
    bholder and Nephilymbass like this.
  6. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    Flopitis .
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    "Flaccid Wound". :roflmao:

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