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wolf tones in A string thumb position

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by greitzer, Apr 11, 2009.


  1. I recently tried six or seven new carved basses from a local shop in my area, all from the same maker (they are Chinese made, with fingerboard work and bridges and setup by the local shop, which has a very good reputation in the string world).

    In nearly every respect, these are very nice basses, but all of them had very warbly wolf tones on the A string in thumb position, particularly the octave A itself, from around A up to C or C sharp.

    The A note played on the D string (not in thumb position) also was a tad warbly but not that bad.

    The shop guy told me they may be able to reduce it a bit through soundpost adjustments, but he seemed to feel this was pretty normal. My own bass (a much cheaper bass) also has the warbly wolf tone in the same area.

    I'm trying to decide whether to buy this bass (I took one home for a week or so to try it out) or not. Any thoughts on this? There must be some basses out there that don't have this problem. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    You can try a wolf eliminator and see if that helps (this could mess with the sound a bit). Both of my basses have wolfs, one on A and the other Ab. Changing to a Marvin wire TP moved the wolf from Ab to A on that bass. Some claim the Marvin tames wolfs. Didn't in my experience. It seems that TP weight has an influence on wolfs, though.
     
  3. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    Tailpiece weith does have an influence. Or the way the tailpiece resonates in relation to how the rest of the bass resonates. I had a very strong wolf on G. Strings affect the wolf a bit, wolf eliminaters even more so, but you lose some resonace and evenness.
    What really helped was another Tailpiece. I have a big and heavy bass, so I thought, maybe a heavy tailpiece might be the right thing to do, so I got a used Thomastik tailpiece, which is made of steel and has four fine tuners, which makes it even heavier. The result is a loss of volume, but the wolf is almost gone away and much narrower. The instrument is now as even over the range as it never was before.
     
  4. Thanks to both of you for your responses. I've tried wolftone eliminators before, and I agree they work to a degree but do seem to dampen things a bit. Not sure about changing the tailpiece, though it sounds like that might help. The tailpiece on this thing is a beauty.

    I'm also thinking that other strings besides Spiros might tame the wolf beast a bit. With a darker and/or lower tension strings, the wolf might not be as noticeable. That's what I've found on my bass, anyway. Well, we'll see if I keep this bass or not. I've got a week or so to contemplate. In all other respects, I really like it.
     
  5. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    My teacher told me he got rid of his wolf, by changing the massiv steel endpin to a carbon endpin, which helped him.
    With strings, the worst combination I had was G/D Oliv, A Eudoxa, E Spiro Weich. The sound was great of course, but somehow the instrument didn't like it at all. The darkness or brightness of strings don't affect wolfs, but the matching of tension between strings and the overall tension does have an effect.
     
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    As I posted in another thread, I tamed a wolf somewhat with a heavier endpin. You just have to experiment...
     

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