Muted E String... help?

I’m wondering if someone with an Ibanez SR500E or similar bass with Bartolini pickups could help me out a bit.

I have an Ibanez SR500EPB that came with Bartolini BH2 pickups. I’m trying to figure out if what I’m hearing is just the way that bass/combination sounds, or if something is wrong with MY bass/combination. The E string is very low, very throaty, and very… thumpy. It’s like someone’s thrown a hair tie just under the headstock, but only on that one string, or has one of those muting things you can put on your bass to make it sound all old school. The other strings are throaty, but they seem to have a lot more high-end than does the E string. It seems to be universal, across both pickups.

Even if I EQ down the bass (at the amp or on the bass) and up the mids and treble, the E string doesn’t seem to have the same mid/high end response as do the other strings. Here are the things I have already done in working on this problem:

  • New strings.
  • Set action.
  • Checked and corrected intonation.
  • Set pickup height (and tried all levels of low, high, and medium).
  • Checked all electronics to insure there were no bad connections.

So, I’m kinda hoping that someone with either an Ibanez SR500E or similar bass with Bartolini BH2-like pickups would just record the open strings played in sequence and allowed to sustain out, and then maybe, like, an 0/3/5/7 run real quick. That way I can compare it against what I’m hearing. I would record what I’m hearing and post that, but I don’t have any quality way of recording at this time.

Anyway, I’d be very appreciative.

Thanks in advance.

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You can take a look at my Come As You Are cover to see if that helps. It’s passive tone with no EQ (tuned to D standard though). If it doesn’t help then I can do a recording tomorrow with the stuff you asked.

But yes, the BH2 has a pretty dark tone. Definitely much darker than all the PJs I’ve had so far.


I have the SR875 with the BH2 pickups. I really enjoy their tone, but they are not bright at all. I could see why a person wouldn’t enjoy the tone. Many options for upgrades, but the longer i play them, the more they grow on me.


From what I can tell based on your cover, the E tuned to D has very similar qualities to what I’m hearing in my stuff. I would love to hear just some open Es tuned to E, compared against some of the other open strings. So if you wouldn’t mind recording that little extra, I’d be in your debt.

The cover sounded great, for whatever that’s worth. Eventually I’ll get some recording gear of my own and do the same.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s that I’m trying to insure that what I’m hearing is how it’s supposed to be, and that I don’t have yet another problem with this bass. Especially with regards to the E string, which seems to be abnormally thump-y when compared to the other strings.


Ok, this won’t be the best, but I managed to get a recording using the iPhone Voice Memos app. This is just… from E to G and then back again… open/2nd fret/4th fret. Then some playing around on E. If this is even remotely clear enough, and it uploads, tell me what you think. Please.

…ok, it’s not uploading here. Let me see if I can get it hosted somewhere.

Ok, that works. Is it me, or does the E string just sound more dead, thump-y, and less bright than the others?

Oh, this is running passive, tone and all amp EQ settings at noon.

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I was recording anyway, so here it is.

(But you still owe me a beer for making me re-tune to E standard. :slight_smile:)


Challenge accepted. :smiley:

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I listened to your recording, but considering how different your setup was, I don’t think it would be fair to directly compare it to mine. Also without video it’s a bit hard to tell which string you were plucking and when.

Having said that, the 3 lowest notes did sound a bit different from the rest. A bit more dark or dull or muffled or I don’t know. (English is not my first language.) Were you playing 3 notes per string?


Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I was playing three notes per string: open, 2nd fret, 4th fret. I’m glad someone else hears it, that means it’s not just me.

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I think I figured it out.

It makes the same muted, thump-y sound on the E string unplugged as it does plugged in. And if I fret the first fret, it still does it, which rules out the nut. So it has to be the bridge, it must not cleanly delineating the end of the string.

I tried adjusting and cleaning it tonight, and while I was able to get it a wee bit better, it’s still nowhere near "right’. I think tomorrow I’m going to swap the saddles on the E and G strings. My thoughts being that if it carries through to the G string I’m right, and there might be a chance it won’t since the G string saddle is fine and if the current E string saddle is worn down or something, hopefully the G string will be able to handle it.

If not… I’m going to have to buy a new bridge. =/


OMFG, I fixed it!

Turns out it was the bridge saddle for the E string. Swapped it with the saddle for the G string, bass sounds awesome.

Think I’m going to get a new bridge anyway.


Or buy a new bass? :wink:


HAH! My CFO would eviscerate me. She’s about had it with bass for a while.

I was originally playing on a 2009 Ibanez SR300 she bought me as a gift. When I started doing B2B, I decided it was time to expand my bass horizons. I’d always wanted a Carvin, and found an LB20 really inexpensive on OfferUp. So I bought it, but it was in rough shape. I’ve cleaned it up, gotten it back in playable shape, but it’s still not right. It needs a new nut, I think, as no matter how high I set the action, or adjust the truss rod, I always get buzz on the 1st fret of the G string. Especially when playing the higher frets.

I found an SR500EPB on Reverb (the one mentioned in this thread), and fell in love with it. So I bought it. It arrived in… good shape, but it had some issues as described above. I’ve worked on it, tried to sell it, I’ve worked on it some more. I think it’s good now, though, with the bridge saddles swapped around and a set of 45-100s on it. I have, however, ordered a replacement bridge from Ibanez, just because.

While I was trying to get the SR500EPB fixed or sold, I came across another Carvin on Reverb. A B4, their bolt-on neck model, in really nice condition. I fell in love with it and bought it. I absolutely love this bass, like really really. However, it has some weird electrical issue I have to troubleshoot where it buzzes when I’m touching the strings.

So I’ve spent an amazing amount of money and time on bass lately, and until the last couple of nights I haven’t had one - aside of my trusty SR300 - that actually… WORKED as it should. Spending any more money on bass is going to get my ass in a wringer for sure, LOL. And I’m probably going to have to get rid of a bass or two to recoup some of the money I spent.

I’m sure once the bridge gets here I’ll actually be keeping the SR500EPB - I really like its looks and feel - and the Carvin B4. Assuming I get the electrical problem fixed up. Maybe the SR300, just because of our history. But I’m pretty sure the LB20 will have to go.