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Open bass notes sound chorusy


CLR
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So my bass has this annoying extra frequency that sounds almost like a chorus effect, which I can hear when I pluck the strings (though it's more noticeable in the lower strings, especially open notes). It's not anything to do with electronics because it's just as noticeable when it's unplugged. Any suggestions on where the issue might lie? Thanks 

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4 hours ago, gary mac said:

Could be the nut or that the pickups are too close to the strings.

I was thinking it could be the nut but not exactly sure what exactly would be the issue, if the slots are too small or big I don't know which direction to go. Do the pickups effect the sound even when it's unplugged?

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2 hours ago, CLR said:

I was thinking it could be the nut but not exactly sure what exactly would be the issue, if the slots are too small or big I don't know which direction to go. Do the pickups effect the sound even when it's unplugged?

The pickups being too close can cause problems even when unplugged. You could try lowering them and see if there is any improvement. If the problem isn't cured, just return them to how they were.:)

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3 hours ago, gary mac said:

The pickups being too close can cause problems even when unplugged. You could try lowering them and see if there is any improvement. If the problem isn't cured, just return them to how they were.:)

Yes, the magnets may be ‘pulling’ on the strings if they are set too close to each other. Old strings may start reacting due to age. I’m not sure if the nut could cause this but .... anything can happen on instruments. The chorus effect sounds like the note off the string you pluck is resonating against another sympathetic note off another string so yes, try damping each and all other strings while plucking the one main string....... 

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9 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Hi CLR and welcome, have you tried different strings to eliminate anything else 

Hi, thanks! This bass has been through a variety of strings (brands and gauges) throughout the past few years, all with the same issue. Trying to jog my memory to when the issue started, because it wasn't always like this, I believe it could have been when I opted for some pretty heavy gauges, at the time not knowing the nut slots should be filed to accommodate the size. I've since brought the gauge down to a standard 45-100 and the issue is still there, so I wonder if the heavier gauges damaged the nut in any way. 

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3 hours ago, mybass said:

Yes, the magnets may be ‘pulling’ on the strings if they are set too close to each other. Old strings may start reacting due to age. I’m not sure if the nut could cause this but .... anything can happen on instruments. The chorus effect sounds like the note off the string you pluck is resonating against another sympathetic note off another string so yes, try damping each and all other strings while plucking the one main string....... 

I've tried lowering the pickups and the issue is the same, and the pickup height is about 4mm below the string, which I'm assuming isn't too low? Tried muting the other strings and behind the nut but it's still occurring. I've ordered a replacement nut because I'm starting to think the nut has been damaged from having a really heavy string gauge on it a few years ago. 

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4 hours ago, itu said:

Open string ringing may also tell something about the stringing: is the angle at the nut big enough?

Been trying to figure this out myself, how big should the angle at the nut be? I've seen basses with the strings looking sunken into the nut, 50/50 in and out and some where it just looks like it's sitting on the the nut and I'm not sure which one would be suitable. Or does the depth really matter, is it more about the width of the nut slot?

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A few things Come to my mind. The breaking angle at the nut. Try to press the string between the post and the nut to see if solves. 

The string winding also can cause some resonance especially when Overlapping. 

Truss rod. If by any means the truss rod is completely loosen it can also vibrate 

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27 minutes ago, CLR said:

Or does the depth really matter, is it more about the width of the nut slot?

No. Check this video at around 1.50 - 3.30. There you see how to restring and how to reach the reasonable breaking angle at the nut.

 

Edited by itu
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Could be vibration in the bridge, check there are no loose springs, maybe something was left loose when you adjusted the intonation for the heavy set of strings.

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15 hours ago, CLR said:

the pickup height is about 4mm below the string, which I'm assuming isn't too low?

That's possibly the issue if they are pickups with strong magnets.

What happens is that the pickup 'retransmits' the signal from the plucked string into the others and this can produce a surprisingly noticeable effect (I've had it before, always cure by dropping the pickups 1 or 2 mm).

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I'm going to cast my vote for a nut issue, which in 97% sure it will be. If the slot is too wide, the string can rattle in there, causing your issue. I doubt it would be the pickup height unless they're practically touching the strings.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 02/01/2021 at 23:21, A.G.E.N.T.E. said:

A few things Come to my mind. The breaking angle at the nut. Try to press the string between the post and the nut to see if solves. 

Did you try this, @CLR ?

I agree with @A.G.E.N.T.E. and @tommorichards that it is most likely to be the nut that needs a small tweak or the break angle need increasing by fitting a string tree or winding the strings further down the tuner post.

On 02/01/2021 at 23:13, CLR said:

Or does the depth really matter, is it more about the width of the nut slot?

It's often not either of those.  The nut slot is supposed to be angled a small amount downwards from the fretboard side of the slot to the headboard side so that it is just a sharpish edge that the string is sitting on right at the start of the fretboard.  If the slot is too level, the string can vibrate - 'sitar' - in the slot.  A quick press of the buzzing string immediately behind the nut as @A.G.E.N.T.E. suggests will - if it is this that is the problem - immediately stop the vibration. 

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On 08/01/2021 at 02:00, tommorichards said:

I'm going to cast my vote for a nut issue, which in 97% sure it will be. If the slot is too wide, the string can rattle in there, causing your issue. I doubt it would be the pickup height unless they're practically touching the strings.

As a result of this thread I did an experiment with my jazz, which has relatively mild 'vintage' pickups not particularly close to the strings and has never exhibited the 'chorusing' effect*.

If I fret an Eb on the A string and pluck it I can hear faint sympathetic beating with the E-string, which disappears when I mute the e-string.

To me this proves that even without the pickups being too close to the strings there is always some cross-talk to unmuted strings.

The answer is two-fold - strings not so close as to make any effects under normal circumstances and good muting technique.

 

*The effect was quite intrusive on my Jag SS after I added neodymium magnets to the neck pickup, until I backed them off.

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I had a similar problem on a Jazz bass a few years ago ----Found out after a lot of messing that one of the machine heads had a very slightly loose rivet at the finger key on the shaft --

Soon fixed with a  couple of gentle taps with hammers! ( or you could use a drop of superglue! )

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