Hard-to-find rattle - open E on Danelectro

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Oct 30, 2013.


  1. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    My Danelectro Longhorn Pro has been 100% problem free for years, admittedly mainly as a backup instrument. But all of a sudden the bass now has a distinctive rattle on the open E since a couple of weeks.

    My first action was to replace the strings as they were old (but not "dead"). This had no effect what so ever. The new strings (EBS Stainless Steel) sound very nice everywhere, except the open E.

    Fretting an F or higher will sound perfect. 12:th fret E is also flawless. Fretting "behind" the nut (to rise tension and pitch as well as height of the open string) will not cure the rattle.

    Bending the neck back or forward - as in "relief" - will have a small effect on the rattle but not cure it.

    I have also replaced the nut but the new one did not cure it.
    Detuning the bass will still cause the open E string to rattle even if it is now a D or C#. The then new, fretted 41Hz does not rattle so it seems more related to open string than pitch.
    Tuning to F will reduce the rattle a bit.
    Fretting first position on the A string (to put pressure on the fret) while playing the E will not cure the rattle.

    Any ideas? They are all VERY welcome. :D

    The only thing I can think of right now is if the first string (unknown brand) had a defective core and that I somehow managed to damage the core in the new string as I cut it to length. :confused:
  2. ASATMAN

    ASATMAN Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Could be a vibrating height adjustment pickup spring? Especially if they [or it] is under little or no tension. Also check string saddle springs.
  3. mrb327

    mrb327 Just say No to Tort Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Colorado
    If you don't have a 3rd E string to check your theory, I would play the open E and then start putting your thumb on anything else that might rattle. Bridge saddles, tuners, other strings.

    I would even fret the #1 fret, but do so on the A or D string just to see if the fret is loose, so you don't touch the E after it starts rattling
  4. lundborg

    lundborg

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Loose truss rod perhaps?

    Tightening the TR nut some might help (especially if it's come all loose).
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  6. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks!
    More data:
    Bridge and saddles are OK. No rattling or wiggling.
    P/U rattles a bit all the time but the sound is not transmitted to the amp, just audible acoustically.
    E string rattles acustically and is also veray audible through the amp.
    As I said, fretting first position on Another string does not help = not a fret issue?

    I fear it COULD be the truss rod but I do not want to accept that thought (yet). String gauge and relief works very well for me as they are. Truss rod problems might "ruin" the bass for me, if I will be forced to set it differently.
  7. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Check the clearance of the open E string over the first fret. That side of the fret may have popped up, or the groove in the nut could have worn down enough that the string is rattling against the fret.
  8. RED J

    RED J Play what you want how you want & quit arggerin ! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I had the same issue on one bass and finally had to give up. I tried every conceivable fix, nothing worked. Finally trying another neck and it went away. All I could figure is that ther was something internal that resonated and not adjustable. I hope you do better than I did. there are Dano necks available from Allparts last time I knew.
  9. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Location:
    Denver, CO.
    My first thought was the pickup spring/s but it seems you may have eliminated that.

    So I'd next ask if the nut slot on the E is too low and also what the break angle at the saddle looks like (if it is a rosewood saddle otherwise it's probably not the issue).

    Last if it is none of those look at the truss rod nut.
    Stick the right sized hex hey in there and just see if you can rock it back and forth gently.
    If it's loose as all get out tighten it until it just sticks but isn't putting any actual pressure on the neck.
  10. vickde

    vickde Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I had a bass do that to me once when the paddle portion of the tuner had come slightly loose.
  11. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks guys!

    As I said, I changed the nut and the problem persists. Absolutely no visible clearance issue and (as I also said) pushing down the string between nut and tuner (and thereby forcing it upwards on the neck side of the nut) makes no difference.
    Truss rod adjustment requires the neck to be removed from the body so there is no immediate confirmation during adjustment.
    The tuners are also rattle free as far as I can see - no improvement when pushing/pulling/turning as I play open E.
  12. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Kent, United Kingdom
    Fret levelling perhaps needed?
  13. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    It's a Dano. It's part of the charm. :)
  14. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Disclosures:
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I would also bet it's a rattling truss rod. An eighth of a turn either way might just fix it.
  15. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Have a steep enough break angle over the nut on the E?
    Using your thumb, put some pressure on the E between the nut and tuner while playing the open E- I like as many wraps as possible on the tuner to help the break angle, and never have a rattle from that.
    Also, as others have said, could be truss rod rattle-
    but a little pressure on the neck while playing open E should change it, then you'd know.
    Or- loosen the E and put a thin (.010) or so shim under the E in the nut slot- could be a little low.
  16. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Just for future reference:
    I have used the bass as a backup only but it was still annoying. As I ordered some other gear, I added a set of short scale D'Addario EXL (IIRC), as many had recommended them for the Danos.
    Wow, not only did this (fourth, as I have had another set of used spare strings on, with no improvement) set fix the rattle, they also brought something extra to this bass.
    Better string-to-string balance, more complex mids and sweeter highs!
    This 40 - 100 set is however the thinnest variant I am comfortable with, or the difference from my other basses is to dramatic.

    All well that ends well?

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