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Need help with fret buzz!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ian Valdivia, Mar 9, 2014.


  1. Ian Valdivia

    Ian Valdivia

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    So I just bought a used sterling ray34 from guitar center that sounded great on all the frets except the first 3. The fret buzz occurs on all 4 strings. And it's not the kind of fret buzz that only occurs if you pluck hard. I can literally hear no tone out of those first 3 frets no matter how gentle I play.

    I was wondering if this calls for a truss rod adjustment or adjusting the action from the bridge with those little hex keys. If I do need to adjust the truss rod, which direction do I turn the truss rod? Keep in mind I want to keep the action low, just get rid of the buzz on the first few frets.
     
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    Sounds like a typical case for a proper trussrod adjustment. You could try loosening the trussrod a tad (counterclockwise) and see if that helps.
     
  3. Ian Valdivia

    Ian Valdivia

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Thanks for the quick answer man! I'll give it a shot
     
  4. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Burlington, Vt.
    just to add you may want to adjust the saddles down a tad after depending on the action that results.
     
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  6. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Sounds more like worn out frets to me. The first three may be worn down so that the strings are hitting the 4th when you try to play lower than that.
     
  7. elBandito

    elBandito

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Rotten Apple
    Check if the neck is back-bowed.
     
  8. Joedog

    Joedog

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Pensacola FL
    Nut slots could be cut (or worn) a little too low as well? But try the adjustments above first. If that doesn't work out, you might want to take it to a tech. If it is worn frets or nut, I'd go back to GC and see what they would do for you (free or cheap). I've got pretty worn frets on one bass, but no problems w/buzz. Since all 4 of your strings buzz, hopefully a tweak of the TR will do the trick? I had a buzz from a nut slot too low, but that was just 1 string. Let us know! Good luck.
     
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    No, Joedog - if the problem exists on the first 3 frets, the problem isn't the nut height. Once you fret a note the nut is no longer in play - except for back-buzz which won't happen that close to the nut.
     
  10. elBandito

    elBandito

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Rotten Apple
    Hi. Out of boredom, I've been trying to induce back-buzz on a warwick, by dropping the nut(just a nut3) way low, but I don't seem to get any unusual buzzing. I find it to be a good tool to replicate and understand common setup problems. Under what conditions does back-buzz occur?

    Since everything is adjustable on this bass, I should be able to pinpoint and replicate the problem. If back-buzz is caused by nut height, I should be able to make it back-buzz by lowering the nut, and make it go away by raising it. no?

     
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    When you fret a note in the middle of the fingerboard up to around the 10th fret, the strings may just touch some frets between where you are fretting and the nut. Sympathetic vibrations there then cause the strings to bus against the frets. If you want to reproduce the problem, you need to set the nut height so the strings just touch the frets when fretting at the ninth or tenth. This assumes that there is only a little relief in the neck, the way you would want it for low action.
     
  12. Ian Valdivia

    Ian Valdivia

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I did exactly what I was told by Turnaround and the problem is now solved, thanks a million man. The only thing that bothers me is that the string tension increased a bit. But then again these strings are slightly above the string gauge for this bass so I'm guessing that's part of the problem.
     

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