MIJ Fender Jazz Bass muddy E string, is it the nut?

Andrew H

New member
My Jazz Bass is a MIJ 62 Reissue, 3 tone sunburst, with original Fender finger rest, pickup and bridge cover, and made in 1995, bought from Ishibashi U-box, November last year, which I really love to death.

The problem now is the E string sounds like its 'grumbling' and too boomy and not punchy like the A, D and G strings, I already changed the strings about 3 times since I got the bass, but for the first 3 days after changing, it's really punchy and chimey but after 1 week, the E becomes muddy so fast, very annoying.. and I can't slap properly when it starts becoming like that, as if the string become stiff and not bright

I read other forums and they suggest that my pickup's bass side may be too close to the strings, but mine are fine. and the string height looks ok. They also said the E string probably not seated well on the nut,

When I check, the nut looks fine, except I can see some residual glue mark and and the place where the E sits, got a bit of worn out plastic bits coming out,

I still have my other guitar serviced by Beez, and I havent ask him about my bass yet
,So is it really got problem with the nut? as in not cut properly perhaps?
It could be a number of things as you already mentioned.
It could be that the string is not sitting well in the nut or the bridge saddle, but check a few other things first as the below are more common causes;
Check that the tuneing head is not loose and moving about (with normal string tension)
Check if your string is too twisted at the bridge saddle. You can loosen the string just enough to be
able to pull the end of it slightly away from the bridge, if it's twisted it will unwind itself.
You mentioned your pickup high is fine, but might as well make sure; if the string sounds muddy unplugged, then it's definitely not te pickup height.
If you can't find the cause, take it to a luthier.
Good luck, hope you find out the reason soon.
Oh and let us know when you do.
The nut has no effect on the tone other than when u play an open string.

Do you play the low E a lot more than the other strings? From what you're describing, the string is going dead fast. Wiping down the strings after you play helps.

Btw what strings are you using?
Wiping the strings somehow only give it only a few minutes of life before it turns back dead. The problem is I just change after 1 week and only played it for about 3-4 times, wiped the strings with a dry cloth and also keep the bass inside the bag with a pack of dehumidifier

, and the strings currently D'Addario, previously was Ernie Ball and the original strings it came with from Japan, I always check the strings if they still have some power left by playing the RHCP higher ground slapping intro or Marcus Miller's run for cover intro

I noticed that the brand new MIJ Fender Aerodyne Jazz Basses at TYMC at Peninsula, don't have this dead strings problem, and super punchy and better output, but the MIJ Marcus Miller Jazz Bass at Swee Lee has the strings problem just like mine, and it's so hard just to awaken the tone, like a stubborn donkey

Even the MIM 60's RI and Standard Jazz basses have a better sound than my MIJ, which is a little embarrassing for me...
Could it be just my bass didn't have a good setup, Beez is currently checking out what's the problem,
strings get duller for slapping when they get worn in, nature of the beast. gotta deal w it

Really? I have strings that have been worn in for years but still sounding sparkling bright when slapped. As long as you maintain it right.

Andrew, you realise most of the instruments sitting on Swee Lee's floor have been around for quite a while, and they don't usually get string changes. So if the MM has been there for 5yrs, the strings have been tarnishing for 5yrs, nothing to do with the model of the bass.
The MM Jazz bass at Swee Lee, has a T serial number, so I'm sure that it's not more than 2 years old, but I believe it has a lot of potential, just like my bass. The tone I was looking for is to get that 'Piano' like sound, as in the sound you hear when you press the lower keys on the piano, I only get that tone if I just replaced the strings,

So, if not the nut or the model of the bass, what exactly is the recommended way to maintain my bass, including wiping the strings, keeping it zipped up in the gigbag with a dehumidifier pack? plus, last time I used to keep it displayed in my air-con room, was this a big no-no?
2 years of sitting around in the showroom is more than enough for the strings to go dead.

Personally this is what I do to keep my strings sounding fresh. I have 2 sets of strings per bass that I own. Along with a round tupperware (which u can get for $2 from Daiso). I fill the tupperware with mineral/meth spirits, which you can get from Homefix or any DIY/hardware store.

Whenever my strings go dead, I take em off, and soak em in the m spirits. Rotating between sets. They come out sounding like brand new.

Some people have variations of this method, including boiling (which could introduce rust). I've tried several different ways, and found this to be the most efficient and hassle free.

BTW, when you mean "piano" tone. I'm assuming you mean lots of clarity. Have you tried stainless steel strings like DR Hi Beams?

Air con room storage is abit of a double edged sword in Singapore due to our high humidity. Although air con reduces the humidity, when you turn it off, the metal parts of your instrument accumulate condensation. Makes no sense to keep the air con running 24/7 just for this anyway.

Anyhow, with string soaking, I just leave my instruments out in the open, no need to keep them in bags.

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When I found that the Ernie ball strings on my bass, were really dead, I changed back to the original strings that came with it from Japan, not sure what brand but the ends were wrapped with red silk cloth.

Before I changed back to those strings, I did put them in a basin of hot water and left it for like 10 minutes and I can see all the dirt coming out in the water, and it really did gave back most of its life back when try them on again, but they didn't show signs of rust when I take a closer look after 1 week.

I've been doing this for 7 times so far, but so far its becoming less and less effective and I realise I can't keep doing it forever, but I always keep these strings as an emergency set. The Ernie ball strings doesn't seem to revive even when I boiled them, very weird.

You're right about that air-con with condensation issue, ever since I heard about it, I always keep it zipped in the gigbag, same for my guitars. I actually prefer to display them like yours, since they're my prized possessions, even cooler if they are hanged on the walls.

My playing style is mostly pop and rock, but I like to do some slapping in between, I guess I'll take your word on the DR Hi-beams, hopefully it's a good change from D'addario and Ernie Ball.

But what's the mineral oil called, to store the strings? are they expensive?

Bass strings are made up of multiple layers of wrap wire. When u boil them, there may still be water that's trapped between the windings. Causing the string to rust from the inside.

It's mineral spirits, or meth spirits. Not oil. It's basically alcohol with 0 water content. It's bout $2+ for bout 1 litre from homefix.

Remember, water and metal do not mix. Avoid boiling.

maintaining it right can only the delay the process. If you play the strings for hours each day, wipe it each time soak it in denatured alchohol it will still get dull eventually. Not to say you cant slap on it, it just wont be as 'zingy'. im sure u get wad i mean

as for Andrew, fretless6 is right. I think you have potentially wrecked your strings by boiling them. Get from hardware shop denatured alcohol and pour them into a jar and you can soak them as much as you want. You might wanna consider DR Hi beams, they have a naturally scooped sound thats good for slapping
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'Zingy' is the correct word, I'm always concerned on keeping that piano key-like clarity, because when I was very young, the first bass guitar sounds I heard sounded like the piano's low key. and in my opinion, I think that's the important part to get a good slap sound.

I do use 95% denatured alcohol in my school's lab experiments to clean and disinfect the work benches before starting any experiments and before leaving the lab. I noticed it's very powerful and dries up in a few seconds on my hands. Didn't have time to go to the DIY shop today but I manage to stop by at Watsons and did found some 95% Denatured alcohol but was only 120ml and cost like $4 per bottle.

I also heard using Isopropyl alcohol is a bad idea since it contains 20-30% water, is the DIY shop's denatured alcohol 95% also? Oh yea and I did saw some DR fat beams by Marcus Miller at Davis last time, is that a good one too?
95% denatured is fine. Just avoid rubbing alcohol which you can get at pharmacies. 20-30% water will likely cause rust from soaking as well.

Fat Beams are supposed to sound slightly more bassy than the hi beams. IMO, all DR round core strings sound awesome. They have a slightly more flexible feel compared to your standard hex core strings, e.g. D'addarios. For all the brightness that the Hi beams have, I still find them more dynamic and punchy than other strings.
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