Why does my bass make the A string sound weird?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BassPlayer900, Apr 29, 2012.


  1. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    My A string on my Fender Jazz bass sounds like it is under a chorus effect!

    When I first got my Jazz bass, I bought it new, and it was strung with the stock strings (gauges .45 .65 .80 .100). Eventually, I had it strung up with Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinkys (.45 .65 .85 .105) and the A string sounded as if I was running my bass with a little bit of chorus, but I have absolutely no chorus effects! Just a small practice amp!

    But I do not think it was just that set of strings. I strung up the bass with Rotosound RS66LD strings (.45 .65 .80 .105) recently, and it does not sound quite as chorusy as the Cobalts but it does have a sort of chorus effect going on. It actually sounds more like a piano to my ears.

    What is it on my bass that causes this? I never changed the hardware or the pickups (although I have raised/lowered the neck pickup before).
     
  2. Jazzbass2010

    Jazzbass2010

    Dec 14, 2010
    Cornwall ont
    Sometimes if the pickups are to close to the strings you can get some wierd over tones chorus effects . I would try raising just the A string or maybe just lowering the pick up a bit . My 62 ri Jazz bass was trial @ error .I found setting it up to stock settings following the fender guide saved me many headaches .
     
    BlueP and stefaniw80401 like this.
  3. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011
    Could be this, or your bass just likes that frequency range. One of my P's likes the G....it will overwhelm the rest of the strings.
     
  4. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Okay, thanks! Where can I find Fender's guide?
     
  5. Jazzbass2010

    Jazzbass2010

    Dec 14, 2010
    Cornwall ont
    PICKUPS

    Setting pickups too high can cause a number of unusual occurrences. Depress strings at last fret. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and fourth strings to top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the fourth-string neck pickup position and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position. Follow the measurement guidelines from the chart below as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull from the pickup.

    Note: Larger string gauges need wider vibrational allowances. If you have a five-string bass or are using heavier-gauge strings, your measurements must be increased accordingly.





    Bass Side

    Treble Side



    Vintage style

    8/64" (3.6 mm)

    6/64" (2.4 mm)



    Noiseless™ Series

    8/64" (3.6 mm)

    6/64" (2.4 mm)



    Standard "J" or "P"

    7/64" (2.8 mm)

    5/64" (2 mm)



    Special Design Humbuckers

    7/64" (2.8 mm)

    5/64" (2 mm)
     
    stefaniw80401 likes this.
  6. Duke21

    Duke21

    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Most likely it is the way the A string is coiled on the tuner peg. Make sure your string is pushed downward by the peg so it creates more downward pressure on the nut.
     
  7. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Thanks! One last question: which side is the bass side, and which side is the treble side? (wow I'm a noob :bag:)
     
  8. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'll have to check that out after I adjust my pickups. Thanks!
     
  9. Jazzbass2010

    Jazzbass2010

    Dec 14, 2010
    Cornwall ont
    Bass side is your E string Treble side G string . I tried it on both my 62 ri @ 08 jazz bass works amazing . Theres nothing wrong with asking . I learned the hard way @ i wont mention how many wiring jobs i messed up with out asking .:D
     
  10. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Thanks! I'll adjust the pickups tomorrow and see how it goes.
     
  11. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Also make sure your A string sits all the way down in the nut slot. If it is a tight fit and it is not sitting at the bottom you can have a luthier file it a little. Also when stringing up sometimes the string can twist when you wrap it around the peg. Loosen the string all the way slack and let the ball end spin if it needs to. The wind it back up.

    See if you get the chorus effect acoustically or if it just sounds like that through the pickups.

    Hope that helps too.
     
  12. cstar

    cstar

    Dec 21, 2011
    I am fairly sure that you're string just isn't sitting well in the slot.

    When strings don't quite sit in their slots, the contact isn't that great and your nut doesn't really do it's job. The nut is supposed to end the scale length; basically, you're string SHOULD NOT vibrate (at least not noticeably anyway) between the nut and the tuning pegs. If the string isn't sitting in the slot (which often happens when you increase your string gauge) then the string vibrates at and past the nut and will produce the sound your talking about. It's an obnoxious overtoney buzz kind of sound, exactly like you're describing.

    If you plan on sticking with this gauge of strings, then I would suggest you let the tension off the A string and use to to gently carve out the nut slot, just like a file. If you have a graphite or plastic nut it will only take a few passes with the string. Be careful not to overdo it- better to check a few times than to go to far and need a new nut. But, that's not the end of the world if it happens.

    Cool trick: You can hold the bass up to the light while you are carving out the nut... when you stop seeing light beneath your string, while it's in the slot, then it will be sitting snug in the slot- the way it needs to in order to stop that buzz.

    Hope this helps!

    ASIDE: Maybe this is all in my head, but it seems like the A string slot is always the one that needs the most adjustment when you up the string gauge... I have been experimenting with gauges lately and I always need to do the most adjustment to the A slot when I up the gauge. Anyone else have the same experience?
     
  13. I would also suspect the nut slot. When going to a larger string, usually the nut slot will need to be widened a little.
     
  14. Duke21

    Duke21

    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Yes, if the chorus effect is unplugged then it is the nut slot/ string angle at the nut slot, if the effect is only when plugged then it is the pup height.
     
  15. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Alright, so I played it acoustically and I didn't really hear a chorusy sound. Then, I adjusted the pickup. There is still some chorus effect when played through the amp! Just a little. So I guess the .85 A string messed up the nut? Or else I just ended up stringing the .80 A string wrong?
     
  16. each time I get a chorus effect to a string, it means one thing to me: twisted string. Loosen the string, let the end-ball rotate to its natural position and retighten. In the worst case, try a new string
     
  17. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Okay, I'll give this a try. Thanks!
     
  18. BassPlayer900

    BassPlayer900

    Oct 19, 2011
    Well I messed with the ball end and now the string is no longer chorusy. It is a bit ringy, but it doesn't have that chorus sound anymore.
     
  19. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    +1. Very common on Fender-style headstocks.
     
  20. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    It's the pickups too close. On my Carvin when I played up high above the 12th fret every note warbled as if it were out of tune. I tried intonating the bridge adjusters to no avail. Took it to my tech, and he knew exactly what was wrong. He showed me right there by lowering the pickups a smidge till the warble stopped. Amazing!
     
    Lesfunk likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 24, 2021

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