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Clear B string


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16 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

I recorded my B string

Good work there! It's good to see actual ev outputs charted.
It is counter-intuitive to me that the 2nd is of greater amplitude than 1st, If I overlay (in my head) 2 pure sinewaves an octave apart, then part of the time they are additive, so there are peaks where the 2nd's perceived and measured amplitude exceeds the fundamental. Is this what is going on here?

Re strings, I noted somewhere above (sorry don't recall who said it) Fender went 34" as a compromise with a bottom E. No pre-sight of low B. My own experience with 5s has been mixed but often the B has been 'sloppy' and I've felt it needed more tension. There's a table here also (above somewhere) for equal tension Es and Bs (based on diameter ) but surely the tension depends only on core diameter and tensile strength, the wrap is there to add the appropriate mass. I am using a 100 E at the moment which actually feels a little tighter than some 105s I've used before.
Sorry, bit all over the place here, but string diameter is not a reliable indicator of tension, is it? - the maker will determine tension by deciding core diameter and tensile properties. 

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1 hour ago, Soledad said:

It is counter-intuitive to me that the 2nd is of greater amplitude than 1st, If I overlay (in my head) 2 pure sinewaves an octave apart, then part of the time they are additive, so there are peaks where the 2nd's perceived and measured amplitude exceeds the fundamental. Is this what is going on here?

That happens - if you look at the actual waveform, it is clearly a 31hz signal (if you measure it the main peaks are 32ms apart) but the peaks are 2nd (plus others) harmonics. It would be counter intuitive looking at the waveform to say it was anything other than a 31Hz signal. On the oscilloscope it is the same signal but with more of the curve that hasn't been filtered out by audio recording equipment. 

 

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The best B strings I have are not on the instruments you might expect;

NS Design NS-CR5 electric upright

10 String Rosewood Chapman stick

Both, however, are well-designed and well-constructed, and are of longer than average scale length;

42 inches and 36 inches respectively.

Edited by Lfalex v1.1
DYAC!
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If a speaker is not capable of reproducing 31 hz, you simply won't hear the actual fundamental. You may well hear something that is pleasing and, as stated above, good cab designers can do a lot with porting, etc so harmonics and overtones can give a good impression of a note, but you won't necvessarily be hearing 31 hz. An instrument may produce frequencies that you can measure/record on a 'scope, but the amplification must be able to reproduce it for you to be hearing it (even if you believe you do - see other comments about harmonics/overtones).

The fact that Lakland 5s have a better sounding B than Fenders (something I've noticed when trying them) is likely due to their 35", rather than 34" scale length. It enables the string to be at a higher tension. See the comments from Lfalex above about the upright and Stick, which tend to support this.

Edited by Dan Dare
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IME you don't want to be hearing the fundamental of very low notes anyway, they sap too much energy away from the frequencies you do want to hear, which is why devices like the Thumpinator which attenuates everything under 35Hz are proving popular.

Also IME adding 1 extra inch to the scale length of a bass does little to improve the low B. Its all down to neck construction and the neck joint. Laklands tend to be better made than Fenders which is why the B string sounds better. If you are after a better B simply through scale length alone you need to go to 36" or longer, although again the manufacturers making extra long scale basses tend to be low volume hand crafted, rather than mass-produced which means they will be better made anyway.

Edited by BigRedX
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13 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

The fact that Lakland 5s have a better sounding B than Fenders (something I've noticed when trying them) is likely due to their 35", rather than 34" scale length. It enables the string to be at a higher tension. See the comments from Lfalex above about the upright and Stick, which tend to support this.

Going from 34" to 35" increases the tension by 2.9% (direct proportional relationship).

Going from 135 to 145 increases the diameter by 7.5% so the mass per unit length (and therefore tension) increases by 3.6%.

Going from 135 to 140 increases the diameter by 3.7%, so tension increases by 1.2%.

So the (perhaps surprising) observation is that increasing standard scale length by 1" is equivalent to going up by nearer 2 than 1 string gauge in terms of tension.

 

However, a 30" short-scale base is full 12% shorter than standard bass. Mine has a 95 instead of, say, a 105 standard set, only 5% less mass per unit length so net (very roughly) 7% less tension. Yet the bottom E doesn't sound crap or unbalanced. Tension can't be the whole story.

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@Stub Mandrel When it comes to string gauge and tension either your maths is flawed or you are not taking into account the construction of the string (solid core and several top windings on the thicker strings like low B). Looking at the D'Addario string tension charts a 34" 130 gauge low B will have a tension of 30.78lbs. Increasing the gauge to 135 will increase the tension to 33.32lbs which I make as a 8% increase.

Also as I have said previously IME neck construction and the neck joint make the biggest contribution to getting a good low B. The longer you make the neck the more likely it is to flex and dissipate string energy leading to a bad sounding low B, hence the proliferation of cheap 35" scale 5-string basses which don't sound as good as a well made 34" scale 5-string bass. This is also why your maths doesn't work for short scale basses as the shorter neck is going to tend to be more rigid.

Also it doesn't take string compliance into account, i.e. factors other than the tension which affect how stiff a string feels. Like string construction, as well as string break angles at the nut and bridge.

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Talking about strings, exposed cores are always sounding better, piano like and that's the way piano strings are constructed.

Just doing maths is not enough, there are other parameters to take into account like : strings alloy, type of core, exposed or tapered core, neck construction, presence of reinforcement in the neck, type of wood, use of carbon, tuning of the wood (classical luthier always do it), neck through, bolt-on neck, type of glue, head angle, type of nut, type of fret, correct fitting of frets, type of pickups (single coils are the best because there's only one string caption point), power of the magnets (the more power, the more attraction, the less free vibration, and even falsing the harmonics), alloy of the saddles, alloy of the bridge, locking saddles, break angle of the strings, mounting of the strings, size of the body, balance of the instrument (if you are fighting with a neck diving, you will absorb energy), playing position (if you hold firmly the rear of the instrument against you, you'll absord energy), ... That makes a lot of parameters, aside from maths !

And after that comes the amplification. :crazy:

  • Haha 1
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3 hours ago, BigRedX said:

@Stub Mandrel When it comes to string gauge and tension either your maths is flawed or you are not taking into account the construction of the string (solid core and several top windings on the thicker strings like low B). Looking at the D'Addario string tension charts a 34" 130 gauge low B will have a tension of 30.78lbs. Increasing the gauge to 135 will increase the tension to 33.32lbs which I make as a 8% increase.

That's interesting.

All things being equal, the frequency is proportional to density per unit length (proportional to cross sectional area). Now the 135 might have less 'airspace' in it making it denser or more likely the construction also affects it in other ways.

Looking at google, most sources only parrot that frequency is proportional to tension and density/unit. A few add that the material and temperature matter, and none mention construction (which must have some effect).

Speed of propagation of waves is also affected by stiffness. Although changing cosntruction won't affect the young's modulus differences in the ratio between core diameter and wrap diameter (and wrap pretension) are likely to affect stiffness. Presumably the 135 is less stiff so it needs a bit more tension to compensate for this?

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3 hours ago, Hellzero said:

Talking about strings, exposed cores are always sounding better, piano like and that's the way piano strings are constructed.

Exposed cores can mess with intonation.

Both sets of double ball end strings here are are full wrap at the nut end but go down to single wrap at the bridge end on the E and B. This can be compensated for by adjusting the intonation. If the single wrap end was fitted at the nut end, it would spoil the intonation between open and first fret.

 

Just a thought has anyone, anywhere, ever fitted a new set of strings to a piano? I'm sure our piano's strings pre-date the invention of the keyboard...

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Going from 34" to 35" increases the tension by 2.9% (direct proportional relationship).

Going from 135 to 145 increases the diameter by 7.5% so the mass per unit length (and therefore tension) increases by 3.6%.

Going from 135 to 140 increases the diameter by 3.7%, so tension increases by 1.2%.

So the (perhaps surprising) observation is that increasing standard scale length by 1" is equivalent to going up by nearer 2 than 1 string gauge in terms of tension.

Mass per unit length will be roughly proportional to the cross-sectional area of the string, which is derived from the square of the diameter. So 135 -> 145 is a roughly 15% increase, 135 -> 140 is about 7.5%.

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1 hour ago, tauzero said:

Mass per unit length will be roughly proportional to the cross-sectional area of the string, which is derived from the square of the diameter. So 135 -> 145 is a roughly 15% increase, 135 -> 140 is about 7.5%.

<falls on sword>

Gah! I took square root not square. I blame microsoft calculator....

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Not string related, but there is a reason that so many 5 string basses are 35” scale. 

It specifically related to the string tension on the low B. I have owned stingray 5’s and I have a pretty heavy attack. Personally I found the B pretty decent, certainly compared to other 34” scale 5 strings I have played. 

35” scale does make the low B much better!

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58 minutes ago, Damonjames said:

35” scale does make the low B much better!

I don't disagree.

Of the 5 string basses I have owned, 5 were 34" (SR5, Wal mk2 and mk3, Sadowsky and Fender) and 3 were 35" (Mike Lull and Lakland x 2). I don't "dig in" and don't have an answer why IME some of the best 5 string basses are 34" and some are 35".

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On 12/03/2019 at 15:29, Stub Mandrel said:

Exposed cores can mess with intonation.

Both sets of double ball end strings here are are full wrap at the nut end but go down to single wrap at the bridge end on the E and B. This can be compensated for by adjusting the intonation. If the single wrap end was fitted at the nut end, it would spoil the intonation between open and first fret.

 

Just a thought has anyone, anywhere, ever fitted a new set of strings to a piano? I'm sure our piano's strings pre-date the invention of the keyboard...

Setting the intonation is MANDATORY when putting new strings. Since when exposed cores are messing with the intonation when the instrument is set-up for thee strings. It's about time to read what you write : truckloads of non sense. Did you ever build an instrument or even know what makes the difference between a crap one and a good one ?

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On 12/03/2019 at 14:29, Stub Mandrel said:

Just a thought has anyone, anywhere, ever fitted a new set of strings to a piano? I'm sure our piano's strings pre-date the invention of the keyboard...

Not a full set, no but I have replaced a few and done a few tunings. Trickier than it seems. But yes, most pianos have the strings put on when they are made and last for ever with them.

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4 hours ago, Hellzero said:

Setting the intonation is MANDATORY when putting new strings. Since when exposed cores are messing with the intonation when the instrument is set-up for thee strings. It's about time to read what you write : truckloads of non sense. Did you ever build an instrument or even know what makes the difference between a crap one and a good one ?

Sorry I breathed.  I'd foolishly been assuming there weren't any bad attitudes on this forum.

Yes, it is sensible to reset the intonation when you fit new strings, but I would guess a large proportion of beginners don't.  Not mandatory as there are instruments where you can't or it's a compromise (e.g. old style tele (paired strings) or the 'staggered' bridge on mandolin/banjo where I you only move it as a unit):

image.thumb.png.571e0a8d9ed088b3bef96f0e0175bd15.png

I'll explain because you read what I wrote but I obviously didn't make it clear, double ball end strings are full wrap at one end and partial wrap (not exposed core) at the other. They have to be fitted the right way round because if the partial wrap is at the nut end the intonation between open and first fret is out, plus it would probably buzz like nobodies business. Anyone who has never put strings on a conventional bass probably doesn't know that. Fitted the right way round the intonation has to be adjusted to compensate for the effect/length of the reduced wrap as much as for any difference between sets of strings.

image.thumb.png.5f47c8eb5d597b83a793769b0e3fcb61.png

Yes, I have built a few instruments (see below) and modded others. Making a little one at the moment. Does that count?

DSCN1881.thumb.JPG.5e1866feb17d880069eb163f574a7d5a.JPG

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6 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I'll explain because you read what I wrote but I obviously didn't make it clear, double ball end strings are full wrap at one end and partial wrap (not exposed core) at the other. They have to be fitted the right way round because if the partial wrap is at the nut end the intonation between open and first fret is out, plus it would probably buzz like nobodies business. Anyone who has never put strings on a conventional bass probably doesn't know that. Fitted the right way round the intonation has to be adjusted to compensate for the effect/length of the reduced wrap as much as for any difference between sets of strings.

IIRC, all the DBE strings I've encountered have had smaller eyelets at the nut end than the bridge end.

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7 hours ago, tauzero said:

IIRC, all the DBE strings I've encountered have had smaller eyelets at the nut end than the bridge end.

You know... I've never noticed that! 😖

But the point stands that heavier DBE strings usually have a reducing wrap at the bridge end unlike most (if not all?) standard strings.

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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Some ordinary strings have reduced wrap for the bridge

I've got Dean Markley strings on my Yamaha at the moment, I've not seen tapered strings before and was surprised how much they reduced to

 

20190317_132359.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all of the tips on strings etc. I did get the Warwick strings with a tapered B and do the neck bolt re-tightening and I am happy with the resulting tone of the B string. I had to adjust the bridge for intonation so will stick with those strings for a while. No calculations were required! 

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  • 11 months later...

When I said a reducing (taper) wrap affected intonation they said I was mad!

Today I saw this:

http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2020/03/17/bass-strings-hit-the-high-notes/

Quote

In a breakthrough which could revolutionise bass playing, Dr Jonathan Kemp of the University of St Andrews’ School of Physics and Astronomy, along with the University’s Music Centre, has developed a design of bass string that can extend the useful range of the instrument.

In a paper published in the journal SN Applied Sciences, Dr Kemp found that bass guitar strings have significant inharmonicity when fretted higher up the neck and that strings with tapered designs (with low mass per unit length near the bridge) have even more elevated inharmonicity:

The research found that raising the mass near the bridge produces a string with close to zero inharmonicity for low mode numbers (as predicted by modelling) and this is found to reduce pitch glide in addition to having benefits for musical harmony that can be seen in action in a video featuring Gus Stirrat of the award winning band Fat Suit.

UOD.jpg

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