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Thru body stringing and/or heavier bridge- helps low B?


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I just bought a "kit bass" from a pawn shop for $160.00... way less than it wuld have cost me to buy the body and neck alone new. It's a back routed alder Jazz Bass- style body with a 34" maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The headstock is 4+1, flat (like a Fender, no headstock angle) and has "Tradition" on it. Probably Eastern made. Great construction, not a scratch on it. Because I've never heard of Tradition, I figured on upgrading the pickups, electronics and hardware when I bought it, but now I want to bring the B string up just a bit in volume. It's not a big problem- it sounds fine as it is, and very close to the other four strings but if I can get just a touch more from it, I'd be even happier. My main questions are:

 

1. Would a heavier bridge or a bridge with thru-body stringing help?

 

2. Are pickups really that much of an issue in this case? I know they'll make the entire bass sound better, but will they bring up the B string volume specifically?

 

Thanks in advance.

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i don't know how this myth got started. if you get your instrument set up properly you should not have any floppy b string problems. i have never once played a bass that wasn't 34" scale and never had a floppy b string.

 

of your two options, i would opt for the heavier bridges. you may not find strings long enough if you go for through body.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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The merits of thru-body are controversial. I've never tired it, myself.

 

I think a heavy bridge makes a pretty big difference. It gives that sustain and growl I love in a good low B. IME the sustain is vital; for some reason those low notes don't live as well when they're all thuddy like a P-bass or an upright. I heartily reccomend the Gotoh or brass Hipshot.

 

Pickups are a big deal, too. Position over the magnet & such... I just moved my bridge over 1/8" and suddenly the B string is REALLY alive!

 

Good luck, and congrats on the score.

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Through body stringing is the latest fad.

 

There are plenty of 5 and 6 string basses with good sounding B strings that do not have this feature.

 

It is not "something you need to do" in my opinion although Ed Friedland thinks it has helped his basses. And Ed Friedland is a pretty wise dude.

 

My personal opinion about changing to a heavier bridge is that it will change the attack and sustain characteristics of the bass. This is not necessarily a good thing.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

My personal opinion about changing to a heavier bridge is that it will change the attack and sustain characteristics of the bass.

How do the characteristics change (as a rule- I know no two basses are totally alike)? Faster attack, more sustain? I'd like that.

 

BTW, visited your site- great PRS5. The old ones are much nicer, with the same attention to detail that they still give their guitars. Now their basses are just bolt-neck 4-strings. Pity.

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Originally posted by Bastid E:

...of your two options, i would opt for the heavier bridges. you may not find strings long enough if you go for through body.

Will that really be a problem? I live 50 miles from Atlanta, and didn't expect to have any problems finding strigs for it. But for now, I may just get a bridge with both options and install one ferrule, so I can go thru body if I want.
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Originally posted by Jeff Addicott:

The merits of thru-body are controversial. I've never tired it, myself.

 

I think a heavy bridge makes a pretty big difference. It gives that sustain and growl I love in a good low B. IME the sustain is vital; for some reason those low notes don't live as well when they're all thuddy like a P-bass or an upright. I heartily reccomend the Gotoh or brass Hipshot.

 

Pickups are a big deal, too. Position over the magnet & such... I just moved my bridge over 1/8" and suddenly the B string is REALLY alive!

 

Good luck, and congrats on the score.

Thanks. I've been looking at the Gotoh and a Carvin, too.

 

What's the controversy? I can't see how it would hurt the tone to go thru body, unless the orginal tone is identical to a vintage P or J.

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the thing with strings and neck through...

 

i've tried to put sets of strings on a fender style peghead and found that last sting just long enough to get on properly without cutting. add an inch and a half to two inches of space you have to cover and all of a sudden that string isn't long enough.

 

as for changing the tonal personality of the instrument by adding a heavier bridge, it's a kit right? you have no idea how it sounds yet so you're not attached to anything. my advice is go for the bridge, but why not slap it together as is first? the b string ought to be fine as is and you only need to spend the extra loot if absolutely necessary.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Originally posted by Bastid E:

the thing with strings and neck through...

 

i've tried to put sets of strings on a fender style peghead and found that last sting just long enough to get on properly without cutting. add an inch and a half to two inches of space you have to cover and all of a sudden that string isn't long enough.

 

as for changing the tonal personality of the instrument by adding a heavier bridge, it's a kit right? you have no idea how it sounds yet so you're not attached to anything. my advice is go for the bridge, but why not slap it together as is first? the b string ought to be fine as is and you only need to spend the extra loot if absolutely necessary.

Gotcha. It's actually not a kit- I bought the bass assembled and in like new shape. I played it at the pawn shop where I bought it, and again at a local music store. I'm just getting back into playing electric after a three-year sabbatical (I kept playing upright, but I sold all my larger amps/cabs, so all I have left is the small combo I use with my upright). That's how I know the B volume is a tad low. I used the "kit" term because I expected to have to replace the pickups and electronics. There are lots of Fender-type instruments out there with well-made bodies and necks but most could use an upgrade in electronics/shielding/strings. I've modded many an Asian P or J copy and owned just two real Fenders- one '72 Jazz and an 80s Precision. Neither bass sounded or played any better than my upgraded knockoffs. But I've never modded a five-string- that's why I posted this thread about the B. But to answer your string length question, I was going to send only the B thru body (Pensa did this with some of their 34" five string J styles). The E,A,D & G would anchor at the rear of the bridge.
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Can't name the maker, but I have seen basses where the B, E and maybe the A strings were the only ones set up to string through the body. That allows the D & G to reach their tuners since they are anchored to the bridge.
- Matt W.
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It seems to me that if you're worried about string reach, you can pull out a tape measure and start measuring distance from bridge to tuning peg, thickness of bass, etc. If you have a few preferred string types, you can find out how long they are.

 

Something like the Hipshot A bridge allows for the option of string-thru-body set-up. You can run all 5 strings, just the B, or any subset you'd like thru a bridge like that.

 

If you're really only interested in the B, you should be fine running thru the body w/ a 4+1 peghead configuration.

 

However, like Bastid pointed out, you may not need to run the B thru the body, especially if you're careful w/ your set-up. My StingRay 5 is 34" scale and the B-string is just dandy! :thu:

 

Have fun with the mods if/when you take that route. :cool:

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Bass construction is the #1 factor in achieving a good sounding B string, i.e. neck-thrus have a typical advantage over bolt-ons because they permit less sympathetic vibration of the neck. Scale length is nowhere near as important as good, solid construction. A bridge upgrade may help on a cheap bass, but probably not as much as just using heavier guage strings.
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Hi there. I am currently the owner of two almost matching 5 string basses, identical but for one thing-the bridge.

One bass has the typical stamped metal Fender type bridge, and one has a meaty after market Kahler non-trem bridge, with a substantial base plate and individual string paths/saddles. The Kahler makes all the difference.

This is an awesome bridge. Heavy, adds lots of tone, much bigger and bolder B string, looks pretty good (decidedly non-Fender, though) easy to adjust, nicely made.

It is not especially cheap ($70.00-$110.00 US) but it is the best that I have found, used, or seen. It's really that good. I have owned this bridge for about 12 years, and have never been disappointed with its fit or function.

 

You can find them at the Warmoth guitars web site.

 

www.warmoth.com

 

then click on hardware, then click on bass bridges.

 

They have a wide selection of bridges here, you can compare to your heart's content.

 

I also think the string through thing is a fairly novel idea, but I think it can be a good thing for some body woods (i.e. maple.) Generally though, it is not needed, as any perceived resonance issues can be addressed through finishes and hardware.

 

This has been an unpaid commercial for Kahler, and/or Warmoth, apparently. :D

 

Again, I must stress that this is the Non-Tremelo Kahler bridge, as the tremelo model is a joke, IMO.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I ordered my 5 string Kinal with thru-body string setup. Mike Kinal feels this helps the punch and sustain. It's alder, with a Hipshot A bridge, 34.5" scale, and DR high-beams. The low-riders come in extra-long to make this reach.

 

I'm about to do my first string change, and I want to try something different. I've noticed that not too many strings are available with extra-long lengths.

 

When I get the new ones on, I'll let you know what difference the thru-body makes...

 

FWIW I'm seriously thinking TI Powerbass.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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