One user in Europe reported ‘muddiness’ in low bass strings on his Megatar. He was not using the standard strings that we supply, but strings of some different construction, and gauges unknown. He asks what can cause tonal changes and especially ‘muddiness’ in low bass strings.
Several things can cause tonal changes in the lowest strings, including –
If the string saddle is far back, due to intonation, it can cause the (stiff) low strings to round the front edge of the saddle poorly, which means that the string is not lying solid on the front part of the bridge, and can (in some cases) create a subtle muddiness (because the string length is changing very slightly as the string vibrates). Rare but can occur.
The action, height, can produce muddiness occasionally. Experimenting with higher or lower action by adjusting the height of the saddle may make a difference. (Be sure to adjust truss first to get flat fretboard if it has moved; see Megatar Owner’s Guide for correct trussrod adjustment procedure. Anyone can download a free copy in the documents section of the Megatar main website.)
Your playing, your touch, can make a difference, though it’s hard to specify.
Your particular amp or effects chain can make a difference. Try others at the guitar store to see if that’s it. Try removing all effects. Most likely problem effects would include chorus, and certain kinds of reverb. ‘Helpful’ effects would include the ‘aural exciter’ type of effect. And when your EQ kills all the highs, the ear cannot track low notes well, and can in some cases be perceived as muddiness.
If you’re tuning to something other than standard notes, then you may not get the best tone because the gauges and tension may not be optimum. If using a non-standard tuning, you may have to use non-standard gauges, to change the tension, to get the best sound. Careful experiment is the only way to find out.
Of course, do realize that all tapping instruments have a different sound than a plucked bass. If you ‘pluck’ your bass with a pick right next to the bridge saddle, you are triggering the string very similar to what tapping does. And this will not have the same soft pop as a bass plucked with vigor near the fretboard.
Other brands/kinds/gauges of strings — we’ve not experimented with other types. When designing, we wanted to use the most commonly available type of string, so that players could easily find strings that would work well. For this reason it’s difficult to say how other types of strings will work, and so cannot report much about that. If using other types of strings, you are the pioneer, and so you’ll need to experiment and compare.