Make the 5th string sound like the others?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by BlackFalcon17, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

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    Basically the title. I'm using an Ibanez GSR205 tuned Bb F Bb Eb G with .45-.130 Daddario's (.130 is replaced with a .135). The bottom string doesn't have the sustain/clarity that I think it should. I've gotten the action to be pretty good on all the other strings, it's only this one that's a problem. I haven't played many basses, so I don't know if this is just common with 5s in this price range or if there's something else I can do. Maybe the string is being choked at the nut? I don't know.

    Here's a clip so you can hear what I mean. I'm just picking the bottom three strings up to the 5th fret (DI, then amp). Any insight would be helpful.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/l0gd0mzeohzy249/Bass test.wav?dl=0
     
  2. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, it's super common.

    That thickness of string combined with low tuning is always going to be darker, less punchy, and have a lot less clarity. It's why fanned fret basses exist so that they can have a longer scale length on the lowest tuned strings.

    The Dingwall NG2 is the only bass I've played where the low B sounded equal to the others. For all other "normal" 5 strings I've played, it's a game of compromise.

    I will say that your bass DI sound is still really good actually. That B is nowhere near as bad as I've heard before.
     
  3. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

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    Well damn. It's always bothered me that the low string sounded off compared to the others. As much as I'd like to get that Dingwall sound, there's no way I can justify buying one. The only FF bass I can see myself spending some cash on is the Brice Defiant from Rondo, but I'm not too sure on their quality.

    It's good to know that it doesn't sound too bad to someone else's ears. It's just a pain sometimes to figure out how to translate guitar riffs that are played higher up on the board without it sounding weird.
     
  4. ohmanthisiscool

    ohmanthisiscool SS.org Irregular

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    I learned a trick yesterday that someone said could help get rid of "dead" sounding strings, especially on newly strung basses. The trick is to crimp the end of the string BEFORE you place it into the tuning peg to wind it. It makes sense to me that because the wound strings are a core with wrappings that the inner string could stretch creating a gap between the core and the wrapping, resulting in a dead sounding string. Just a simple "try it and see what happens" that'll cost you a new string and not a new bass hahaha.
     
  5. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Is the B taperwound? If not buy a single D'Addario taperwound .135 to try, they are brighter with more sustain.
    B issues are common because the scale length of a bass forces a very large gauge which is stiff. 34" was chosen by Fender for low E and acoustic upright contrabasses are far longer than 34" for low E.

    Your issue is more noticeable because you are drop tuned, so you either have to use a larger gauge and/or there is more tension difference between the Bb and the F.
    You could try making the tension more similar by trying a taperwound .145 for Bb (you'll need to file the nut slot slightly wider), but buy a taperwound .135 too in case you don't like the .145.

    Standard bass sets have the B looser than the higher strings, your tuning is making that tension imbalance even larger. It might help to reduce the gauges of your middle 3 strings F Bb Eb by .005 to compensate for them being tuned up a semitone.
     
  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Indeed. I like to counteract this with the D'addario balance tension 107 4 string set, coupled with their single taperwound 145. This is a perfectly balanced set for standard tuning, no longer loose on the bottom. If you're drop tuning it that's no longer the case of course, but it's an improvement.
     
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  7. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

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    It is not, I'll try one next time I'm restringing (these are only a few months old).

    Hmm, I'll keep this in mind, although I do play stuff in standard every other week or so. I'm assuming it's still feel pretty solid, though, since it's only a difference of .005.
     
  8. Esp Griffyn

    Esp Griffyn Play more music

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    This is one of those fallacies that is oft-repeated and becomes the common viewpoint simply because everyone says it so much. A good low string doesn't have to be a compromise at all, however it is dependent on certain factors, such as scale length, electronics, construction materials and methods, even the pedals and amps you use. Sure, if you really want to start tuning super low then it's getting into the realms of necessity to have a longer scale bass, but outside of the chunga chunga metal world that's not really an issue.
     
  9. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Seems like compromise compared to the other strings.

    Change your scale length, pickups, pedals, amps and you can make the thickest string bright and clear - but the higher strings will be even brighter too...
     
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