Lowest string on bass sustainless

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by The Spanish Inquisition, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. The Spanish Inquisition

    The Spanish Inquisition Unexpected

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    Hey everybody, I recently got myself a 4 string jazz bass, and since I mostly play in drop B, I immediately put it in that tuning with a 5 string set without the highest string. What I noticed, however, was that the lowest string (which was a .125) was sustainless and lifeless. I blamed it on it being a dead string and replaced it with a new one. This one sounded dead too unfortunately. Does anyone have the same problem with thicker strings on your bass?

    It isn't the electronics or the body, because a normal 4 string set is sustaining just fine. The string itself just doesn't sustain for a long time.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Did you widen the nut slots?
     
  3. The Spanish Inquisition

    The Spanish Inquisition Unexpected

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    Oops, I forgot to mention that the sustain is there, but only on the open notes, but I can't edit the message above anymore.

    The sustain is killed on the 3rd, 4th and 5th fret, so the fret slots can't be the problem.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Is the neck straight? Is there any buzzing? How much clearance is between the strings and the pickups? If the string touches anything, it will dampen the sound. If the pickups are strongly magnetic and too close to the string, that could also be a cause of the damping factor. Which strings are you using? The .125 B should be fine, but the other strings might be significantly more tensioned at drop-B than the previous strings were at whatever tuning they were tuned to, which could pull the neck up toward the strings, introducing a little up-bow.

    I can't say exactly why you're experiencing these problems, and you might have already looked into these things, but maybe more information would help figure it out.

    I also do recommend reslotting the nut, assuming you went from standard gauges to these, even if it's not the problem - assuming your choice of tuning is more-or-less permanent. The instrument should perform better in general with the properly-sized slots.

    Do you have any photos? Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
     
  5. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I'd make sure the neck relief is correct, otherwise those lower frets will choke out. Probably a good idea to widen the nut slot anyway as well :yesway: it may also be worth it to use a single stainless string for the 125, that way it'll naturally be a little brighter and match the timbre of the other 3 strings more closely.

    I have my Jazz bass set up in drop B with a 145 on the bottom, so I know it can be a struggle getting it to sound and act "normal" compared to the rest of the strings :lol:
     
  6. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    I would ditch that .125 for a .130 at least for a B

    Also you can use the same strings to cut the nut
     
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  7. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    That is usually a sign that you need to loosen the truss rod and/or raise the strings at the bridge.
     
  8. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    I’ve run through a fair share of 5-string basses, and some of them just seem to inherently struggle with the low B. If you’re aiming for a straight neck and low action, you may want to have the frets professionally leveled. That would give the low B string as good a chance as possible to oscillate without rattling against frets that could sap the sustain.
     
  9. The Spanish Inquisition

    The Spanish Inquisition Unexpected

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    Hey all, thanks for the tips. What I find strange, is that in E standard the bass is fine, and it sustains until infinity. And as for the frets needing to be levelled, it doesn't buzz anywhere. Can frets choke out strings without any buzz?
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not highly likely, but it is possible. Do you have any clips or photos or anything like that?
     
  11. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    In E the setup is correct. It was setup to be in this tuning, however, when you put different strings on , with such a dramatic change in tuning, it needs set up for that tuning. You need to file the nut, adjust the truss rod, adjust the bridge, etc.... for that dramatic of a change in tuning.

    I recently did the same in reverse. I had a bass tuned BEAD for years, and recently put it back in EADG. It took a whole day of messing with it to get it singing again. Now it is badass though. :mf666:
     
  12. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    No one can hear the bass anyway so I wouldnt worry too much about it. I'd just pick up a 5!
     

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