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Low-action fans: how much fret buzz can you stand?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CrashAlpha, Dec 3, 2012.


  1. CrashAlpha

    CrashAlpha

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal
    Just curious: how fussy are people who like low-action basses - from nut to heel - about a bit of fret buzz?

    If the sound doesn't appear when playing with the band or affect the tone through the amp, how fussy are you about eliminating every single hint of buzz from every single fret?

    And if you do tolerate buzz, how about during recording?
     
  2. RyanJD

    RyanJD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    I have one bass that gets plenty of fret buzz but I like it that way because I use it only for certain genres...or playing RHCP tunes. :smug:
    The action on my other two are just high enough to create no buzz.
     
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Depends what genre I am playing, if I am in a rock band setting I like a little clank. Listen to all your favourites play live, almost everybody has a little clank, at least mine do and it was a great reassurance when I heard them do it.
     
  4. RyanJD

    RyanJD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    Yeah exactly.
    I'm pretty sure I've heard Geddy Lee make use of it, in addition to others.
     
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  6. onosson

    onosson

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I read a quote from a studio engineer once, something to the effect that all great bass tracks are very noisy and percussive when soloed. I don't let fret buzz worry me at all, unless it's actually bad enough to prevent the string from freely vibrating.
     
  7. El-Bob

    El-Bob

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere in the maritimes.
    My main bass is set pretty low. With good technique it's easy to get a clean sound, but when I dig in I get a wicked sizzly grind on the top end and high mids... awesome. :)

    Edit: Thought I should add this. The bass is a Warwick Streamer $$, and I followed Warwick's setup videos on their youtube page to get it to their exact specs, then lowered the whole bridge evenly until I got that nice grind.
     
  8. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Location:
    Durham NC
    I hate buzzing of any kind when playing here at home by myself, but in a band, it doesn't bug me. Fits in with the ambiance of the band. :)

    Just last night, I took a new bass to practice, and it was buzzing like a mo-fo. I thought I had it dialed in okay, but I was wrong. And it's not even a metal band or anything.
     
  9. matdras

    matdras Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    +1 Yum
     
  10. Fliptrique

    Fliptrique

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Szczecin, Poland
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    Some buzz is ok (works great with distortion!), notes loosing their sustain and low-end punch are not ok.

    My four string has what i consider a crazy-low setup (below 1mm at the 12 fret on the G string), the five string is a bit higher due to the fact that I mostly play it with a pick.

    Said that - I can play clean and get enough dynamic range just by using a light touch.
     
  11. Vintage Guy

    Vintage Guy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Newark,De.
    I used to be really anal about perfect noiseless setup on all my bass's. However to do that there is an issue sometimes with higher than normal action. Now I set them up to play comfortable,and if there is a little buzz,so be it. I play hard,so it's tough for me to get a bass that doesn't buzz and clank.
     
  12. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Location:
    Upland, California
    Ive also got a little bit of buzz when I dig in, sometimes if I can't get enough fat resonance out of my 'C' note on the 3rd fret A string, then I'll use the 'C' that's on the 8th fret E string.
     
  13. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Fret buzz used to make or break a bass for me. Couldn't stand it. Basically, if I had it set up to the optimal performance for me and it still buzed, it was out the door. Now I'm a little less fussy and can stand a little buzz here or there but nothing excessive...especially in the lower registers.
     
  14. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    My basses are setup so there is no fret buzz with a “very light” touch and a little buzz if played hard.
     
  15. TechJunky

    TechJunky Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    Southeast TX
    I keep my action low so it's nice and easy to play. When I play unplugged, sometimes I think there's a bit too much buzz, when I also play a lot harder to try to hear it obviously. Once I plug in, my touch lightens up considerably, and the buzz is mostly eliminated. Sometimes I want a bit of buzz/aggressive tone, so I just dig in a bit more, and when I want a nice clean tone, I lighten my touch and increase the volume. Problem solved.
     
  16. Ken J

    Ken J Coginchaug New Horizons Band/Skinning Cats Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Middlefield, CT
    Im as low as I can go.
    I got rid of my frets.
     
  17. adivin

    adivin Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    My basses are now set up where I get no buzz when playing finger style, but I do when using a pick.
     
  18. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    As long as the note does not fret out I'm cool, low action+round wound= buzz no way around it.
     
  19. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Part of the reason I use flats is because I can't stand extra finger noise and fret buzz. I'm a big fan of TI's and those can be a little more buzzy than other flats but I think that is more a result of the guage than anything else. There are lots of variables at play besides action, such as attack and string type.
     
  20. NecroticImbecil

    NecroticImbecil

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Location:
    under your bed
    As long as no fret buzzes more than the others, I WANT fret buzz. I like it to sound like a slight distortion.
     
  21. FunkRenegade

    FunkRenegade

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Controlled fret buzz is ok for me. Every note choking out is not cool.
     

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