Re: Bb sustain problem

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Posted by Dave Rawlings on November 13, 2001 at 12:46:12:

In Reply to: Bb sustain problem posted by MC Bass on November 13, 2001 at 09:00:13:

: I have a Fender American Standard P-Bass also a Fernandes PJ Bass, both 4 string basses.
: On both of these basses when I play the Bb (B Flat) note on the E string 6th fret, the sustain does not seem to be as long as the other notes.
: If I play Bb on the A string 1st fret, I do not have this problem.
: This does not happen on my hollow body Danelectro 4 string nor my neck through 5 string basses.
: Is this a common problem with bolt on 4 string basses?
: Does changing the nut to brass help? I ask because on the basses which I don't have this problem, they have brass nuts.
: Any input would be appreciated.
: Thanks and God Bless,
: Martin

There's probably nothing wrong with any of your basses; I have the same problem. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a bolt-on, neck-through, a 4, 5 or 6-string. Or even if it is hollow (as in my Carvin AC-50F). It has more to do with physics. At certain lengths, some strings do not resonate very well. With me, it dosn't matter whether the strings are old or brand new. Playing a B or Bb on the E string is nowhere as sustained as on the A string. The combination of length and mass of the A string makes a better sustained note than the combination of length and mass of the E string. I have found however, that the longer the scale is, the better the note on the E string. I built a fanned fret (fretless) 6-string with a scale length for the E string at about 36-1/2" and the B sounded much better than on a 4-string. I think it's something we may just have to put up with. There may be certain basses that do sing well on the E string, but it may be a combination of electronics and woods.

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