Fret buzz at the 5th fret. what needs adjusting?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dave_bass5, Apr 5, 2009.


  1. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    May 28, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK.
    Ive had Chromes on my P5 for the past few months and action wise ive more or less got it nice and low, specs very close to the Mr Gearhead set up guide.
    Last week i put Some Elixirs on and since then im getting a bit of fret buzz on the E string at the 5th fret.
    Ive got the relief as i had it before but i cant seem to get the E string lower than the A string without this buzz.
    Im not sure what to adjust now. I was thinking of giving the neck a bit more relief but will that then mean my action will be even higher?
    Or i could just raise the action of all the strings but the A, D and G seem just right at the moment so i dont really want them any higher. Will taking relief out of the neck and then raising the action help or doesnt it work like that?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. EagleMoon

    EagleMoon

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    If it's only buzzing at the one place you might have a high fret.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    May 6, 2004
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    Toronto Canada
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    Why would you put the E string lower than the A string? Almost everyone suggests that it should be a bit higher.
  4. steveksux

    steveksux

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    Mar 23, 2005
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    Detroit area, Troy, MI
    Your neck and/or saddle height.
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  6. EagleMoon

    EagleMoon

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    Not on a Fender. Usually you arch the saddles with a similar curve as the fingerboard.
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto

    Yes, but the clearance between the string and the fret should be greater on the E string than the A string. At the very least they should be equal - regardless of the brand.
  8. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    London, UK.
    I must admit ive never seen any references to having the E at least as high as the A. Maybe ive been looking in the wrong places. Can you direct me to a set up that states this?
    I've always had the saddles set to follow the radius of the finger board.
    As i said, my set up with the Chromes was great so while it could be a raised fret (and i admit it sounds like it could be) i'd just like to tweak as much as possible before i spend any money on it.
    I should also add i play with a pick and i guess and this seems to make matter worse. With just my fingers its not a problem.
  9. ashtray9

    ashtray9

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    Aug 1, 2002
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    Tempe Arizona
    For curiosity's sake, can you give action measurements for all four strings at the 12th fret?
  10. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    I can but im at work now (and in the UK) so it wont be for about another 8 hours from now. Also these measurements are a work in progress so its not something ive settled on just yet.
    I can tell you the E string is between 2.5mm and 3mm at the 17th fret last time i looked.

    Ive been thinking that maybe i dont really have a problem with the bass. maybe its me being hyper sensitive to the quite drastic string change.
    Certainly i gigged with it on sat and it sounded fine although i felt the action was a bit all over the place. It took me a while to settle the chromes in and i guess with the Elixirs being a lot brighter im hearing things i didnt before and shouldnt really worry about it.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    One example is in Dan Erlewine's book "Guitar Player Repair Guide". He is speaking about guitars at this point, but it applies equally to basses -

    "Saddles are shaped so that the strings gradually rise higher on the bass side"

    This is not so say that you don't follow the fretboard radius. But so long as you are measuring string height from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, you will be following the radius even if you are graduating the height.
  12. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    Ok thanks.
    Im not saying its wrong but thats the first time ive every seen that written. And thats not even a bass guide that ive seen quoted anywhere before.
    It does make sense though as i guess it brings the lower strings slightly closer to the finger tips. Thats sort of what i have at the moment but it feels uncomfortable and its the first time ive ever had it like this.

    I'm actually 99% sure im going to put the chromes back on tonight anyway as even though i thought i didn't like them as much as rounds after listening back to some recent gig recordings and comparing them to the last one i think i prefer the tone i get with Chromes.
    And the set up i had was spot on.
  13. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    Ive just measured a few things and it looks like my relief is 1/16 at the 8th fret.
    Action is 2.8mm at the 12th on the E string, around 2.5mm on the G and the A and D are slightly higher. B is about 3m but it will come down a bit.
    Ive put my Chromes back on and while i do still have that slight buzz i think its a lot less noticeable due the the dullness and lack of sustain of the Chromes.

    So, back to square one. Action is good without all that roundwound rattle.
  14. murphy

    murphy

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    May 5, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I have the same problem on one of my basses.
    Still trying to set it up to eliminate the rattle with pick.

    UGH!!!!
  15. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    I guess a fret stoning would get rid of it but to be honest im much happier now with the chromes back on so for me its not an issue.

    Ive also been playing a lot using headphones and that doesnt help. At the gig i didnt hear any of the fret buzz even though it was there.
  16. murphy

    murphy

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    How do you stone a fret ?
  17. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5 Supporting Member

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    No experience myself but i found this on line.

    "What's fret buzz?
    Fret buzz is the sound of a string 'choking' on the fret as it vibrates. If fret buzz appears at just one point on the neck it means that the fret is raised above the other frets and needs levelling. A simple tap with a light hammer may remove the buzz. If no fret is obviously high (this can be checked with a straight edge), then the entire board must be stoned.

    A badly-cut nut may cause fret buzz at the first fret, causing an open string to buzz. In this case the nut will have to be replaced. Incorrect truss rod adjustment may also cause fret buzz between the fifth and seventh frets. This is due to too little neck relief. To fix this, tune the guitar to concert pitch and use a ruler to measure the gap between the low E and the top of the sixth fret. You should see a gap of around 0.010 and 0.013. If not, loosen the truss rod to increase the amount of neck relief."
  18. murphy

    murphy

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    Toronto, Canada
    Interesting
    Thanks
  19. Hullaballoo

    Hullaballoo

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    1/16th is a lot of relief (assuming you've measured it with the string held down at the first fret and last fret. Although it might not make any difference, how about gettting the neck straighter (ie less relief - just the proverbial bussiness card or even less), and put the string height up at the bridge. I've found an almost-straight neck gives me the lowest action, even though most of the books disagree.
    You can also check for a high fret by finding something with a perfectly straight edge that will span just the three frets (with the 6th in the middle) and see if you can rock it over the suspected high fret. It shouldn't rock at all.

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