P Bass sounds like a wire fence

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by thatguyoverthere, Dec 29, 2017.


  1. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    If you’re familiar with wire fences, when you hit them with a stick they make a “thwack” sound (which I believe is how sci-fi movies make their laser sound effects). I have a US Standard P bass with ordinary D’Addario roundwounds which bewilderingly sounds like this. Anyone else found the same? What did you do to eliminate it? Change to flatwounds? Different pickup? Drastic EQing? Distort the crap out of it so nobody notices?

    I’m mostly chasing the bass sounds of Colin Greenwood from Radiohead, Jimi Goodwin of Doves, and others with that kind of deep, thick tone. Not a wire fence.
     
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Yep. Neck feels like half a baseball bat too. I have given away probably 5 P basses in my life.
     
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  3. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    Dangit you ain’t helping... I’ve been borrowing a Rick 4001 for the last few months and am badly tempted to offload my P and buy my own.
     
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  4. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    You definitely should. My 4001 is awesome. Stick to the 4001 though. Or at least make sure if you go for a 4003 you put it through it's paces first.
     
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  5. Leep Dog

    Leep Dog Supporting Member

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    My P sounds kind of strange by itself but with the band cranking away it sounds awesome and brings the thunder.
     
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  6. ldizzle

    ldizzle Supporting Member

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    Some of the transients are what make it amazing in a mix. But, I agree- if it's more up your alley, get a 4003.
    Maybe foam after the nut to the tuner keys- roll the tone halfway... I prefer rounds on mine and Duncan quarter pounders. Kinda gets that vintage thing with more punch. I push a little hair overdrive to poke out a bit as well as some compression.

    Just like guitar... always tonescape with a band if possible.
     
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  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    on every string?

    usually when you get that weird phasey "unsolid" sound it's a bad string. a big part of it is stringing up the bass without letting the string get too twisted, that keeps them from sounding bad like this. the trick is as you wind the string onto the post, just before it starts to get tight you slip the ball back out of the hole a little so it can spin and let the string un-twist itself.
     
  8. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    Now THAT is interesting. The strings are about four years old now, but they were installed by someone else (and I think they're just cheap XLs). I've just ordered some La Bella flats to see what kind of difference that makes too. Thanks for the tip!

    As much as I'm enjoying the Rick, it seems like consistently my favourite bass players are all using Precisions, and getting a great sound out of them. So I'm not prepared to give up on my lowly P just yet...

    Anybody else found ways around this? I've found the effect is particularly strong on the D and G strings, and stronger still when playing fingerstyle over the pickup.
     
  9. sprag

    sprag Member

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    4 year old roundwounds on any bass is usually not a highly sought after tone (a few people probably like it of course) your new strings and a setup should get you sorted. If problems persist please call TGP in the morning
     
  10. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    I was of the impression decades old strings was a sought after sound. But I'll see what these flats do and report back. Thanks Doc...
     
  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    First of all a 4 year old set of round wounds would very likely be shot. They may last a bit longer than guitar strings but not that long. Most players will change rounds at least once a year and far more often if the bass is gigged often. So that may explain the "thwack".

    You've already move on to what I would have suggested anyway. PBasses love flat wounds and a set of La Bellas are as prototypical of a flat wound sound as it gets. I play La Belle Deep Talkin' Flats on my PBass. If it had a name that name would be "Thud" because that's what flats on a PBass sound like.

    Glorious deep fundamental punchy as all hell thud. The sound of Motown (Jamerson) and Memphis Stax. (Dunn) :D

    The bonus is flats will last virtually forever so while they're a bit more expensive initially in the long run they're less expensive. If the La Bellas prove to be to much "thud" for you I'd suggest GHS Pressurewounds. They're a very mellow round wound with a pressurewound outer wrap that cuts string noise and still gets you much of a round wounds clarity and harmonics. I favor those on a Jazz Bass but they also work well on a PBass.

    Hope this helps a bit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  12. Simto

    Simto Member

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    Flats on a P bass

     
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  13. optimusprime

    optimusprime Member

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    Sounds like a bad or twisted string. When you install new strings, take the time use a string winder and wind the strings on the post manually. Dont stick the string in the post and twist it on and then tune it. Also, just before your string becomes to tight, let go of the string and make sure its positioned over the nut and bridge saddle naturally without any binding.

    Sounds like alot of fuss, but its worth it.
     
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  14. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    Considering someone else restrung it for me four years ago, it kinda worries me that I’ve been playing without realising how bad it sounded... I’ll definitely keep this in mind when putting the flats on.
     
  15. sprag

    sprag Member

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    Flats yes, rounds no. My only bass with flats younger than 4 years old is a bass I haven't had for 4 years. When I played rounds 6 months was about my limit
     
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  16. Mighty Melvin

    Mighty Melvin Member

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    Like me.

    I hate hate hate the bucket-full-of-coathangers sound that seems so common in guitars that I pick up.
    .
     
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  17. americananalog

    americananalog Member

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    I'm not sure if this is the same thing, but sometimes my low E string sounds like a ring modulator.
    It's a 1983 MIJ P-bass with flats. I'm tired of messing with it and thinking about getting rid of it.
     
  18. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Member

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    Not that I have any real knowledge about what might be causing it, but I heard that pickups that are too close to the strings can cause a chorus like effect, though I heard nothing about ring modulators.

    Anyway, trying to adjust the pickup height might be worth a shot.

    Also would be stupid to get rid of the whole bass if it otherwise plays nicely, as it is with most certainty an electronics problem, and if nothing else help most likely will be solved by swapping the pickup.
     
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  19. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    For some context, I’ve been playing regular gigs with a P bass for about a year now, and the sound guy always struggled with fitting it into the mix, saying it always sounded too “punk” (that weird wire fence sound). I switched to my friend’s Rick (strung with flats) and the sound guy immediately preferred the tone - it fitted right into the mix without additional EQ. So my goal was to find a way to bring my P bass to a state where it could do what the Rick did in terms of mix placement.

    So I put on La Bella flats yesterday. Man, these are deep strings. What a great sound. Less harmonics, more fundamental. That weird wire fence whipping sound is still there, but much more subtle. I’m guessing it’s just a characteristic of the bass itself, since the Rick doesn’t do it.
     
  20. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Sounds like the setup. Does it make buzzing sounds acoustically when you dig in? You may need to modify the relief and/or action to get rid of that rattling. Also, make sure none of the screws or hardware is loose. Pros can do a setup for you quite quickly.
     

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