New strings - new fret buzz - newbie questions

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by michaelandrew, Aug 23, 2013.


  1. michaelandrew

    michaelandrew The bass player is always right. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I have a Squier VM Jazz that I was running D'Addario light gauge (.045 .065 .080 .100) semi-flats on with no problems. I recently switched to D'Addario medium gauge (.050 .065 .085 .105) nylon tapewounds (black for esthetics). What I didn't realize was how much less tension there would be with the tapewounds, about 5-10 lb/string. I now have a nasty fret buzz on the A and D at about the 4th fret.

    I assume that the lower tension cause less arc in the neck hence lower action and the buzz. I like the tapewounds otherwise and want to stay with them for a while.

    I'll try raising the action a little - it's fairly low and I'd don't mind raising it. If that doesn't work I assume I'll need to adjust the truss rod - which I've never done before.

    Questions: Is this a common experience? Am I approaching it correctly? I've read the instructions but are there any tips out there for adjusting the truss rod if needed?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. unclebass

    unclebass

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Location:
    Southwest Louisiana
    I just restrung my 5er from 45,65,85,105,125 down to 30,50,70,90,125. After I tuned each string up to pitch, they were almost laying on the fret board. Had to release tension on truss rod a little to allow for lower tension strings. Tension went from approximately 220lbs down to just over 140lbs. That is a big drop. I still haven't been able to get it set the way I like it, had to raise action much higher than before to make playable. Will likely be able to lower action once I adjust my technique to the lighter strings.
    Look on youtube for "how to set up your bass guitar". I believe there is a 4 part series by John Caruthers(I think that is his name) It is very informative and gets you to the basic settings, you can make minor adjustments from there to suit your taste
  3. WiflB

    WiflB

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Suffolk
    I find that changing strings often changes messes up the action. If changing the action doesn't work, or creates a very unsatisfying result then I would recommend carefully adjusting the truss rod - there is ample info online to help with this.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird Supporter Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Yes it is simple physics, less tension means the neck relief will drop and you'll fret out. So yes it is common and highly likely to happen in your circumstances. The truss rod setting is the issue but you'll need to do more than just tweak the rod.

    You need to run a full setup routine. Check the nut for proper string seating, then set relief, then action, then intonation. In that order.
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  6. michaelandrew

    michaelandrew The bass player is always right. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the replies - that's exactly what happened - I took a quarter turn out of the truss rod and raised the A and D slightly at the bridge. Only a small change needed to adjust the intonation and all seems well.

    I was really surprised by the big difference in tension - now that I think about it, even though they're "heavier" gauge strings a lot of that's nylon, so less mass means lower tension to get the same pitch. Next time I'll check first; a learning experience.

    I thought Nylon wound strings might be too mellow but I find them brighter than the semi-flats. I like it and they look spiffy:D.

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