Buzz on A string after widening nut
I introduced a problem in my 4-string Jazz bass when I installed a set of Rotosound 88s and had to enlarge the
nut slot to fit the larger strings. The A string buzzes similar to what fret buzz sounds like, but if I fret
the string the buzz goes away, I am 99% certain the buzz is from a problem at the nut. I am not sure if it is
that the nut is cut too low or if it has to do with the break angle.
I am wondering if you can enlighten me on the effects of the wrong break angle and what should I be looking
I have plenty of length on the string as I always err on the side to too long, but I will look at my wrapping more closely, it is possibly too high.
Before I filed the slot to enlarge it, I put graphite on the bottom of the slot with a pencil and I made sure I
did not file all of the pencil mark away, I don't think I lowered the slot much if any, I get more than a
credit card under the first fret when I fret it between the 2nd & 3rd fret. I have the same clearance on the A
string as in the low E which does not buzz at all.
If I push lightly on the string behind the nut the buzzing goes away, this makes me thing too low nut slot
since by doing this I am technically increasing the clearance. I also did "resolve" the issue by placing a
piece of paper under the string at the nut folder twice. This also would indicate a nut cut too low, but I am
I replaced the nut on the bass a few weeks ago with a Graph Tech TUSQ XL, the old one from fender was quite
beaten up and sustain stunk on the bass, after replacing the nut sustain improved tremendously with the old
Chromes I was using and I had not buzzing issues.
The nut slot is not too wide, this particular string is 100 and I used a 105 nut file, I don't think sloppiness
is a problem here, but it is possible.
I would greatly appreciate any feedback; I am pretty handy with tools and have been doing my own setups on
guitars and bass for a long time, but this one has me stumped.
BTW: I like the sound of the Rotosound 88s a lot, I think they are staying on this bass for a while.
Follow up: I searched again and found some threads about this problem; my apologies for the repeated post. I don't see a way to delete it, if you think it should be, please do that for me?
If you can stick a credit card under 1st fret while fretting third, your nut slots are still very high.
Oops! I meant to say business card.I can loosely slip a card between the fret and the strings.
Just buy one of those stealth A string retainers that fender sells on their website. ..that should fix it. You usually can get fairly close to that low if you leave alot of excess string and wrap it as many times as you can around the post until the string is pushed down to the base of the post. Good luck. ..were all counting on you. ...
It's probably rattling sideways, not on the frets.
Put some superglue or epoxy on the sides. (shield fretboard with painter's tape etc)
one thing ive been doing that was posted here by walterw is take a swipe with the file for the d string on the a string nut slot. kind of creates a channel for the string to seat in. thats cleared up rattle for me.
He may need to fill the slot completely with epoxy or the old epoxy + baking soda blend, pick a narrower file, and try again. If he can get just the exact amount of glue on the side walls of the nut slot to cure this, I'm going to start sending him my basses for repairs. ;)
Or it's off to the pro for a new nut.
Lots of good ideas, thanks.
I like the idea of using the thinner file to round off the bottom of the slot, the .105 file I have from StewMac is not quite a full half-circle on the bottom.
The idea that the slot is too wide makes sense, that may explain why a piece of paper placed under the string in the slot resolves the issue, it's probably closing up the gap. The .105 is probably too large for the .100 string, but their next lowest is .85 which is too narrow. I guess I could enlarged the slot by hand.
I'll also look at my post wrapping technique, it definitely could use some help.
If worse comes to worse I can always get a new nut and pop it in.
I use baking soda & crazy glue. Fill the slot with baking soda, hold your finger over it and blow off the excess, then add 1-2 drops of CA. This creates a substance that's almost as hard as the nut itself. Very carefully re-file the slot to the proper size.
I'll bet an adult beverage it's the break angle. I have five 4 string basses set up for BEAD, .130-.070". I can change any of them to EADG, .105-.050", with no problem. The bottom of the nut slots are round and angled toward the headstock and there's no way a string at tension will vibrate sideways. Take your pencil and mark the bottom of the slot again and take a few swipes with the file angled toward the headstock to set the break angle, leaving about .016" of the pencil mark at the fret board side of the nut to set the witness point. If it doesn't work and you have to fill or replace the nut, nothing is lost.
Invest in the proper tools and learn proper set-up techniques! A set of feeler gauges and a capo don't cost much!! That will take most of the guesswork out.
Good luck getting rid of Mr. Buzz. We all feel that pain from time to time.
It simply isn't.
I would start with a little gel super glue in the slot. Let it cure overnight, before returning the string to the slot. You may need to lightly refile it with the correct file. 105 is generally the file for the E string
Fill 'er in, let 'er dry, and try again.
I think I have this one licked, thanks for all the replies, I learned a lot in 1 day. I now know to pay more attention to the nut (including the one playing the bass) break angle, how to best wrap the string around the post, etc. Up to now most of the setups I had done were to guitars and they seem to be easier in this department.
First price goes to uOpt, I looked at all the strings and the A had definitely more side to side slack. I tried inserting a piece of paper only on one side of the string and that seemed to take care of the problem.It seems like I would have to fill the sides of the slot to take care of this, but wanting to use the bass Thursday night and this weekend and not having a lot of free time to mess with this I tried other approaches.
Paying attention to how I wound the string around the post took care of most of the rattle; I made sure the string almost came to the bottom of the post, this gave me a nice angle. I still had a bit of rattle.
Honorable mention goes to Narud, I used the D file to cut the groove slightly deeper and this seemed to take care of the rattle altogether. I may end up filling the nut soon, but for now I think the rattling is pretty much done. I'll probably order a replacement nut just to have in case I decide to go back to lighter strings.
I would like to learn more about break-angle, I understand the concept, but would like to learn how much is enough, too little or too much and the effects. I'll do some searching here, but if you can chime in and offer some info I will greatly appreciate it.
For tools I am pretty much set, I have a whole range, feeler gauges, files,etc. The set from StewMac for bass jumps from .85 to .105, I wish they had a .95.
TheRotosound 88s apparently have lower tension than the Chromes, I had to relax the truss-rod to avoid some string buzzing and it looks like I'll have to raise the action a bit a the briDge to get cleaner tone, but I am looking forward to using them to see how I like them.
Again, thanks a lot for all your input.
I wonder what others aim for when setting this up?
I do have a good set(s) of feeler gauges, I guess I should start using those instead of business cards ;)
Again, that's just me, not a universal recommendation.
The reason I first suspected a wide slot is because I once used a 105 file for a 100 string and the slot ended up too wide. In that case, I am not convinced the file was accurate. My solution was to take a 90 file and put a little force to the outside as I ran the file in the slot. That did the trick, and ever since then I've gone with either an exact width file, or one slightly narrower, for my nut slots.
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