#1
Well, most of you probably know I play a Traben Phoenix 5 String, but I might as well have a 4 string because I never use the low B. Why? Because it's quite inaudible.

I decided it's probably about time i did something about it, and as far as i'm aware, increasing the string tension is the best way to go about it. I've never really been willing to mess about with my bass, so can anyone give me exact instructions on how to go about increasing string tension to make the B more audible?

Also, what are the other effects of increased string tension? Does it affect the overall sound, etc?
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#2
The only way you can increase string tension is to get a thicker B string (or tune up...). Think about it - to get a certain note of a certain pitch at a certain string length, the tension of the string is proportional to it's thickness and length. Since your bass is of a certain scale, I assume 34", the only way you can increase tension is by getting a thicker string, increasing the scale length (infeasible with frets), or raising the pitch (so it won't be a B anymore).

Keep in mind that a B string vibrates at 30Hz, meaning it's inherently 'giggly' - and that giggle will never go away, regardless of string tension. The .175 F# string on a Dark Lord is plenty tight, but it giggles to an almost hilarious degree.

The volume of the B string should not be lower, especially on an active bass like yours. It sounds like you might have a pickup problem, if your B is too quiet, even after going up to .135.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#3
Quote by thefitz
The only way you can increase string tension is to get a thicker B string (or tune up...). Think about it - to get a certain note of a certain pitch at a certain string length, the tension of the string is proportional to it's thickness and length. Since your bass is of a certain scale, I assume 34", the only way you can increase tension is by getting a thicker string, increasing the scale length (infeasible with frets), or raising the pitch (so it won't be a B anymore).

Keep in mind that a B string vibrates at 30Hz, meaning it's inherently 'giggly' - and that giggle will never go away, regardless of string tension. The .175 F# string on a Dark Lord is plenty tight, but it giggles to an almost hilarious degree.

The volume of the B string should not be lower, especially on an active bass like yours. It sounds like you might have a pickup problem, if your B is too quiet, even after going up to .135.


35" scale. I'm looking to get some new strings soon, as well as get myself wired up to an actual output (Amp is in northern ireland/broke) and i'm a skint student so i'm thinking a soundcard for DI to my computer and then using software or w/e to get tone. Maybe it is just the fact I have being unplugged for so long and the current strings are fast approaching lifeless.

P.S.
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#4
Low B string tension on a 35" scale bass is pretty much the best you can possibly do unless you go Dingwall. Look into super-long scale D'Addario EPS 165-5, and if that doesn't do it, there's nothing else. I think you're feeling the 30Hz flop instead of an actually un-tense string. Try pulling the string up and away from the body and compare it to the other strings.

BTW what strings/gauge are you using?
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#5
The strings are erm.. it's been quite a while since I changed them, but i'm pretty sure they are GHS Bass Boomers 5ML-DYB - .045 .065 .080 .100 .126
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#7
Quote by Metalcredge
The strings are erm.. it's been quite a while since I changed them, but i'm pretty sure they are GHS Bass Boomers 5ML-DYB - .045 .065 .080 .100 .126

I'd look into some nice Warwick Black Label strings, specifically the ones with the .135 gauge B string. That should beef things up a little.
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#9
I'm going to have to check those out. The one time I tried D'addario strings, they died in less than 8 days. It was single-handedly the worst set of strings I've ever bought.
Quote by PatMcRotch
The term grammer nazi is from the camps in the lolocaust made by Adrofl Hitlol...


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#10
Quote by Your41Plague12
I'm going to have to check those out. The one time I tried D'addario strings, they died in less than 8 days. It was single-handedly the worst set of strings I've ever bought.

Aye, those are the strings I was talking about.

I used them when I was a pick player because the "normal gauge" was too thin. They were fine for me, nice and cheap.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#11
Well, I just ordered some. I'll probably take the Bass to the local guitar shop to get them on when they arrive, because i have not quite mastered that either.

Edit: Let's hope they sound sweet with the fingerstyle.
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#12
They're stainless - they'll sound great anystyle. However, you might find them a bit "sticky" at first - you'll come to love it.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#13
Quote by thefitz
They're stainless - they'll sound great anystyle. However, you might find them a bit "sticky" at first - you'll come to love it.


I've experienced the stickiness of new strings before. It's strangely satisfying to some extent!

Thanks for the infooo everyone, and fitz!
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#14
Hey also look into better cables. i compared my old cables to my new monsters and there was a volume difference on the low B string when played open. check to see if you play 5th fret on the B string and open E if they're about the same volume then. or is it quiet all the way up the frets?
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#15
AFAIK Ernie Ball use a 135 on their Bongo 5s for the low B, which leads to a very right B string on 34" scale. So I guess heavy gauge strings are the way to go, unless you decide to sell your bass and get something with a longer scale length. But even then, you still need heavy gauge strings, just not as heavy.
#16
Quote by thedonutman
AFAIK Ernie Ball use a 135 on their Bongo 5s for the low B, which leads to a very right B string on 34" scale. So I guess heavy gauge strings are the way to go, unless you decide to sell your bass and get something with a longer scale length. But even then, you still need heavy gauge strings, just not as heavy.


Longer than 35"? I don't think i'm quite prepared to go any further than that, Lol.
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#17
QUite surprised that no-one has suggested is simply because your amp can't handle the frequency of a low B, my ashdown wasn't great at it, but now my low B thunders through on my GK rig.
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#18
Quote by Forcemaster
QUite surprised that no-one has suggested is simply because your amp can't handle the frequency of a low B, my ashdown wasn't great at it, but now my low B thunders through on my GK rig.


Beat me to it, if your amp aint up to it you'r wasting your time.
One thing that only a super hero like me can sugest is to raise the action (and obviously re-set the intonation) this should have the efect od raising tension when the 'B' string is fretted due to having to travel further to fret it.
Being a lazy weak old git I like a very low action so I have lots of speaker and amp power.
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#19
I hate to disagree with the wise old man of the forum but if you've got higher tension with the same strings by raising the action, your intonation is out.
#20
Quote by smb
I hate to disagree with the wise old man of the forum but if you've got higher tension with the same strings by raising the action, your intonation is out.


Did you not see where I said in brackets re-set the intonation? you would obviously move the bridge back.
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#21
Quote by John Swift
Did you not see where I said in brackets re-set the intonation? you would obviously move the bridge back.

But what I think smb's saying is that if you raise the action AND that results in a higher tension, your intonation is out. If you have higher action AND your intonation is CORRECT, you'll have the same string tension as before - again, because pitch, string thickness, and string length determine tension.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#22
Quote by thefitz
But what I think smb's saying is that if you raise the action AND that results in a higher tension, your intonation is out. If you have higher action AND your intonation is CORRECT, you'll have the same string tension as before - again, because pitch, string thickness, and string length determine tension.


The higher the action when the bass is in tune and with correct intonation means more travel to the fret therefor more tension; just the same as a bow string in fact.
You create a tighter sound with a higher action but in the process you normaly lose some sustain.
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#23
Hmm, I guess the intonation with higher action compensates for the increase in force needed to fret the notes. Taking a stab in the dark - raising action would require you to SHORTEN the said string? Since there's more travel for the pitch to be correct the length of the string should be less - or at least that's what makes sense to me.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#24
Ahh... i'll just let you continue to argue about it!

To those who said about my amp not being able to handle it, It is a crap amp but it is in Northern Ireland and i'm in Middlesbrough, so it's not involved here really.
Currently attempting to learn: The Dissentience by Protest The Hero in it's entirety.
#25
Quote by Metalcredge
Ahh... i'll just let you continue to argue about it!

To those who said about my amp not being able to handle it, It is a crap amp but it is in Northern Ireland and i'm in Middlesbrough, so it's not involved here really.


In which case that's probably the bulk of the problem really, lower frequencies just tend not to be heard as much.
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#26
The positioning of frets will be wrong if you raise the action by enough that you are required to have a higher tension using the same set of strings. Raising the action won't change the distance between the nut and the twelfth fret. If you're using the same set of strings, the same tuning and have higher tension, your intonation is wrong. I can't be bothered to draw diagrams right now, but I will if need be because this is a mathematical fact.

It could be you mean "greater force needed to fret the note" rather than "higher tension in the string". The first is correct, the second isn't.
#27
Quote by thefitz
Hmm, I guess the intonation with higher action compensates for the increase in force needed to fret the notes. Taking a stab in the dark - raising action would require you to SHORTEN the said string? Since there's more travel for the pitch to be correct the length of the string should be less - or at least that's what makes sense to me.

Raising the action would require you to move the saddle back (away from the 12th fret), if you raise the action on a guitar where the intonation was correct it will then be sharp at the 12th fret you will need to move the saddle away from the 12th fret.
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#28
Quote by smb
The positioning of frets will be wrong if you raise the action by enough that you are required to have a higher tension using the same set of strings. Raising the action won't change the distance between the nut and the twelfth fret. If you're using the same set of strings, the same tuning and have higher tension, your intonation is wrong. I can't be bothered to draw diagrams right now, but I will if need be because this is a mathematical fact.

It could be you mean "greater force needed to fret the note" rather than "higher tension in the string". The first is correct, the second isn't.


Raising the action will always require intonation adjustment, a higher action will always require more actual force to fret it.
It must increase the tension due to the greater distance travelled from string to fret.
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#29
Okay, say I have a 34" (864 mm) scale bass. String tension is usually about 50lb per string (22.7 kg). Even if I raise the action by an inch (25.4 mm) and even if I don't correct the intonation (which would make the difference smaller) it makes less than one percent difference to the tension. Noticing the difference (apart from the high action) would be as likely as being able to tell which out of two bags of money had the extra penny.
#30
Quote by smb
Okay, say I have a 34" (864 mm) scale bass. String tension is usually about 50lb per string (22.7 kg). Even if I raise the action by an inch (25.4 mm) and even if I don't correct the intonation (which would make the difference smaller) it makes less than one percent difference to the tension. Noticing the difference (apart from the high action) would be as likely as being able to tell which out of two bags of money had the extra penny.

Correcting the intonation is moving the bridge saddles backwards or forewards not raising or lowering the string height.
Seriously are you fully aware how to set up action and intonation?
Once you have set the string height you adjust the bridge saddles backwards or forewards to set the intonation.
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Ashdown Little Giant 1000
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#31
You claimed you could increase the tension in the strings by raising the action. I ran the numbers and found that this is not the case.

I can demonstrate the intonation problem if needs be, but it's quite long-winded maths. Please don't attempt to patronise me or make me look stupid without fully reading what I wrote, which I believe makes it quite clear I was addressing your claim that raising the action somehow increases string tension. It does not.
#32
I'm with smb on this one. If you look at all the changes to scale length and how much tension you need to apply to the string to bring the open note up to pitch, action changes are effectively canceled out, or so my rough estimates suggest.

Even if I have messed up (fairly likely), I still doubt it will be a significant difference. A higher string guage (0.135 most likely) would be much more effective.
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#33
Quote by smb
Even if I raise the action by an inch (25.4 mm) and even if I don't correct the intonation (which would make the difference smaller)


How can correcting the intonation lower the raised string height?
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Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
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450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
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#35
Quote by smb
It doesn't lower the raised string height but it does reduce the scale length slightly.



Raising the action sharpens the note at the 12th fret, therefore you lengthen the string by moving the bridge saddle back not forewards, this maintains the intonation at the 12th fret, the distance 12th fret to nut remains the same although the 12th fret to bridge distance is greater actualy increasing the overall string length nut to bridge.
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Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
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