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Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
#3053448 07/09/20 08:53 PM
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Paul K Offline OP
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Ladies and Gentlemen;

So ya'll are the only people I know who might give a hoot about this.

I'm in a band that tuned to Eb, and found that tuning to D helped the singer a whole lot (his band, his songs). I have a bass that I dedicated to Eb as it had heavier strings and truss rod adjusts from a wheel at the base of the neck, so easier to make changes to. Works well, but with the lighter tension I need to pluck a bit closer to the bridge on this J pickup design. Thumb anchor was a problem, so I made a little rail, kinda like Gary Willis puts between the pickups on his signature Ibanez. Double sided tape and a little black sharpie and it looks pro.

And plucking that much closer to the bridge really makes a difference. So much so that I may have to revisit the low B string concept. I detested the Low B tone years ago and so went with a high C string. So all you fivers out there ---so...uh... all three of you left on this list.... When you go to the Fiver, do you make this plucking location adjustment? What's your insight?

Cheers
Paul K


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053457 07/09/20 10:00 PM
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Well, if it would be going down to low B but you are tuning the next string to D, wouldn't it be a low A?

I have a fretless tuned BEAD. I use my thumb and first 3 fingers, depending. So I don't have a rest anywhere. The end of the neck works and so does the end of the P pickup but I try to avoid anchoring, it's seems too tense to me.

I'm using the Rotosound Tru Bass 88 strings, they don't sound as dead as most flatwounds but are smooth so great for fretless. The low B sounds huge. The action has to be higher since the string mass makes the vibration curve larger.

I guess if you can get the low B to sound out loud and full then you won't tend to pluck it as hard? Mostly my basses are for recording, I'd take my EADG bass out for gigging.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
KuruPrionz #3053460 07/09/20 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Well, if it would be going down to low B but you are tuning the next string to D, wouldn't it be a low A?

.

Well....I'm talking about returning to regular BEADG tuning instead of DGCFBb. I don't want to get too crazy....
And indeed, this bass is fretless. I've never tried a set of Tru Bass 88's. This bass has GHS Brite Flats on them. Same idea, probably. I have a different bass EADGC with tape wounds; they're very finger friendly.

So plucking: You're plucking about where you do on the BEAD as you do on your EADG? For the lower tuning I find I'm plucking closer to the bridge because I get a better, tighter attack that just suites my ears better than when the same bass was tuned EADGC.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053462 07/09/20 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul K
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Well, if it would be going down to low B but you are tuning the next string to D, wouldn't it be a low A?

.

Well....I'm talking about returning to regular BEADG tuning instead of DGCFBb. I don't want to get too crazy....
And indeed, this bass is fretless. I've never tried a set of Tru Bass 88's. This bass has GHS Brite Flats on them. Same idea, probably. I have a different bass EADGC with tape wounds; they're very finger friendly.

So plucking: You're plucking about where you do on the BEAD as you do on your EADG? For the lower tuning I find I'm plucking closer to the bridge because I get a better, tighter attack that just suites my ears better than when the same bass was tuned EADGC.


OK, makes sense. FWIW, I've been a guitar/bass tech for 40+ years and I've tried a LOT of different bass strings (got paid to put them on and dial in the bass).
I haven't tried the GHS Brite Flats, I'd like to. The Rotosound Tru Bass are my favorite strings but I wanted a roundwound sound to so the fretted EADG bass has D'Addario Nickelwound rounds on it. Those seem like pretty good strings too.

Are the GHS still stiffer like flatwound strings or more flexible like roundwounds? The Tru Bass 88 strings are very flexible, between that and the way they sound I'd guess they are roundwound with black nylon coating.

I pluck strings anywhere from about 2 inches away from the bridge to over the end of the neck - B string included. I change my attack, softer near the neck and harder near the bridge. There is a huge range of tones there and for recording I like using them. Live, I often use a pick and palm mute, completely different thing for me - more sort of a Carol Kaye-ish technique (not that I can play like Carol Kaye!!!!).


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053483 07/10/20 12:42 AM
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The GHS Brite Flats play like a roundwound, but without the Zing. Not nearly as stiff as a flat. The GHS Brite flats are comparable to other ground-wound or half-wound strings that I've played. But keep in mind that since I generally don't change strings until one breaks, I don't get the chance to do realistic A/B comparisons. And when I do change strings I have usually forgot what the gauge was of the old ones.

Indeed, with the detuned strings, I did find that I couldn't dig in at the 'normal' spot like I could when they were tuned normally. Looking forward to this Sat night's gig to try it out live.....hope it's not COVID canceled.

I have also used a pick and mute on certain songs, but when playing live I ALWAYS forget to have a pick handy for when that tune comes up....always.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053494 07/10/20 01:44 AM
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Thanks for the info on the Brite Flats. I don't change my strings very often either, love that about bass. The strings on my gigging guitar last about 3-4 months, then they are shot.
I actually prefer the tone of older bass strings, they mellow out a bit.

I've found all B strings to be a bit "floppy". I try to pluck them so that they vibrate "across" the fretboard instead towards and back from it, that helps.

I also find I don't really get the tone of the fundamental note on a low B (or really from D down to B) unless I pluck near the neck. Then I get that solid, fat tone like the rest of the strings.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053589 07/10/20 05:16 PM
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For me, moving to a five with a low-B was like falling off a bicycle. Could never get the hang of drop D tuning and other stuff.

Normally, I anchor ON the B string except when I'm PLAYING the B string, in which case I usually rest my thumb somewhere on the pickup(s). When I reach for the B, I do normally move my plucking hand back toward the bridge a little bit.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053907 07/13/20 01:32 AM
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Thumb anchor thing worked well at last night's gig. Nobody noticed anything different, but..... I did. Punch and attack back to where I wanted it.


Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3053927 07/13/20 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul K
Thumb anchor thing worked well at last night's gig. Nobody noticed anything different, but..... I did. Punch and attack back to where I wanted it.

And that is all that matters!

I can tell you how I play bass but I can't tell anybody else that they must do what I do.
I wouldn't anyway, I like to hear a variety of bass styles and sounds.


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Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
KuruPrionz #3054023 07/13/20 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I can tell you how I play bass but I can't tell anybody else that they must do what I do.

In my case, I caution strongly against it -- do neither as I say nor as I do.


"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
Re: Thumb Anchor Thingy as it relates to Low B
Paul K #3054964 07/20/20 01:26 PM
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Late to the party (as usual), but I see what you mean about the change in tension from drop-tuning having an effect on your attack/picking location. My only fretless is a 4-string, and my current band loves to do things in drop-D. When I was using the fretless and doing that, the low D had quite a wobble. Definitely had to take that into consideration; but it's one of those things that you do intuitively, and now that someone asks abut it you don't really know exactly how to describe what you do...

That said, a lot of times when I'm playing fretless, I'm trying to emulate an upright, so I pick closer to the neck anyway. But when trying to play like Tony Levin, I pick all over, including nearer the bridge. (Where's that confounded bridge?)

And for what it's worth, I usually use D'Addario half-rounds on my fretless Jazz.

Glad you were able to think things through and get a working solution, Paul.


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