Treble strings sounding "thuddy"

CanserDYI

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Hey guys, I'm having a small issue on my guitar that I'm wondering if there even really is a "fix". Ive been playing my baritone a lot lately, came in B standard but I have it tuned down to F standard, but have mainly been playing down low, so I started playing more open chords on it and noticed the top two plain strings are just really "thuddy" if that makes sense. There's no twang or buzz, and every fret makes the same sound, so it's not exclusive to the nut.

This is my first experience with an actual baritone tuned this low, I'm used to 8 strings having wound strings tuned to these pitches and then having two plain strings tuned to Bb and Eb. Is it possibly the plain strings being tuned that low (.019 and .014 tuned C3 and F3 is just making it really dark?) Is it possibly the saddles? They are the rolled tele saddles that don't have a hard breaking point. Possible culprit? I can post clips if needed but it just kinda sounds like someone isnt pushing the note down hard enough to sustain, but allowing it to make it's fundamental? Which I've been playing 20+ years, I know how to fret a note, so gonna rule out my fingers in this case. I'm just curious if this is just a side effect of thicker plain strings being tuned relatively low.
 

Crungy

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I don't remember having that issue on the baritone I had but it was a different type of guitar and different bridge (Chapman ML bari)

Have you tried different strings or does this happen with any strings?
 

CanserDYI

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I don't remember having that issue on the baritone I had but it was a different type of guitar and different bridge (Chapman ML bari)

Have you tried different strings or does this happen with any strings?
I noticed it on the first set of strings and figured eh, whatever, factory strings. Played mostly down low, restrung and still is happening.
 

tedtan

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Maybe it needs heavier or lighter strings to get the tone you want. Also, maybe try a different brand of strings while you're at it.

How does it sound if you tune it back to B? Still thuddy, or clearer? If it's still thuddy, it could be the bridge, the neck attachment, or maybe just a "dead" sounding wood/guitar issue.
 

CanserDYI

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... could it be a SET UP issue? like a very light and almost insignificant fret buzz that disguises itself as something else?... maybe a bit of back bow no the neck, uneven frets?
The only reason I don't think so is because of it's uniformness across the neck, it's not better in spots and worse in others, they all have the same timbre, which makes me think it's a saddle issue or I'm just not enjoying the way a .019 string sounds at that tension :shrug: I'm not sure yet haha. Might switch these saddles for compensated saddles that have a sharper breaking point.
 

col

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Maybe a slightly high fret that gives a harmonic touch to the high strings? Does it do the sound on every fret up to the last one?

Really hard to tell without sound samples.
 

CanserDYI

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Maybe a slightly high fret that gives a harmonic touch to the high strings? Does it do the sound on every fret up to the last one?

Really hard to tell without sound samples.
I'll post the sound samples when I get home, every sample I played just seemed to sound fine frankly, but while I'm playing it it just feels so plucky and lot less sustain than the wound strings.

It reminds me almost of a nylon guitar string sound, but more metallic obviously.
 

bostjan

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How is the tension?

I'd go with lighter strings, and, if that doesn't work or if you don't want to, take the plain string saddles up several hundred microns/a few thousandths of an inch. If the tone improves on the upper frets but not on the lower ones, you might need to add a tiny bit of relief into the neck too.

If you're describing what I'm thinking about, I've had similar problems with my really long scale baritones, but it's difficult to communicate weird tonal stuff with words, so I could be totally barking up the wrong tree. :lol:
 

CanserDYI

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So question, I know the longer the scale, the "bigger" the vibrating area of the string is, making it feel like less tension than similar tensions on shorter scales, and that higher tension is usually needed on lower tunings with long scales to feel the same as aforementioned shorter scales. Can the opposite mindset be applied to treble strings? Since you usually want more tension on wound strings than plain strings, would I want less tension than I would ask for on a normal guitar? I typically ask for 14-16 pounds for my "bass" strings, 17-21 pounds for my "standard" wound strings, and then 15-17 pounds for my treble plain strings. Would the long scale make me want to drop that down a tad?
 

bostjan

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So question, I know the longer the scale, the "bigger" the vibrating area of the string is, making it feel like less tension than similar tensions on shorter scales, and that higher tension is usually needed on lower tunings with long scales to feel the same as aforementioned shorter scales. Can the opposite mindset be applied to treble strings? Since you usually want more tension on wound strings than plain strings, would I want less tension than I would ask for on a normal guitar? I typically ask for 14-16 pounds for my "bass" strings, 17-21 pounds for my "standard" wound strings, and then 15-17 pounds for my treble plain strings. Would the long scale make me want to drop that down a tad?
I guess that's a matter of personal taste. With the same tensions, though, a longer string will have less stiffness, so it's envelope of deflection is larger, and it's more likely to rattle into something than a shorter string. It might be bouncing ever so lightly off of a fret, a pole piece, the edge of a not-perfectly-parallel pickup, or whatever. If you lighten the string gauge, you might subconsciously pick lighter, making the envelope smaller, and reducing the amount of rattling off of stray objects without having to adjust the string height or neck relief (although the lighter strings might counterbalance the neck less and force you to adjust the neck relief anyway).
 

ixlramp

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Can the opposite mindset be applied to treble strings? Since you usually want more tension on wound strings than plain strings, would I want less tension than I would ask for on a normal guitar?
No :) I think it does not work like that.
For a particular gauge string (either a large or small gauge), if the scale length increases the tension must increase a little to maintain the 'feel' (perceived tension).

However ...
As you seemed to mention, larger gauges have more mass and therefore tend to flop around more, so they tend to require more tension. Therefore also, smaller gauges do not require as much tension, so there is more possibility to reduce their tension. You could perhaps try lower tension plains.

Related to that ... although a plain .014 is nicely flexible, a plain .019 is very stiff (by 'flexible' and 'stiff' i am not referring to tension) which will affect tone and sustain and increase inharmonicity and pitch instability. I cannot stand any plain larger than .016 or .017.
I suggest replacing that with a wound .020 or .022 (similar tension), the tone will be so much better.

Unfortunately many string companies tend to sell sets containing large plain strings, i think this is done to keep heavy sets 'feeling familiar' to players by retaining as many plains as possible, even when doing so is a bad idea in multiple ways.
(Plains also have a much larger pitch response to string bends, which i guess some players want to retain). (Plains are also cheap, so this is a way to undercut competition in price).
 

eaeolian

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Back the pickups off just a hair. The lower tuning is probably giving the strings more arc. You might want to give a touch more relief, too.
 

CanserDYI

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Thank you for the advice and knowledge as always @ixlramp, frankly I gave up with tuning that low yesterday, I gave myself a little compromise and put some lighter strings on it and tuned up to drop G/A standard versus Drop Eb/F standard. Sounds much better, still sounds really deep and baritone but no more plucky sound. I think you're right though, I think I just didn't like the plain strings at that tension/gauge. Just not for me, maybe one day I'll try all wound Bass VI style.
 

7stringDemon

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This is why i always use a wound G string when tuning any lower than D. Any plain string bigger than an 18 sounda exactly like you describes, plonky and lifeless. It makes sense too, the plain strings are essentially a solid rod of steel. The thicker it gets, the harder it is to move it.

I dont get how they can still sell string sets with those awful things in them, it doesnt even make sense. If we use a 26 wound for the D string in a set of 10s, why would we all of a sudden want it to be a 26 plain on for the same note, in what is essentially a 7 string pack of 10s, but with the high string removed?

I suppose 90% of guitarists just dont notice. Most of the guitarists i know dont even know that strings come in sizes :lol:
 


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