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A string buzz issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by VifferMike, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. VifferMike

    VifferMike Registered Four Banger

    Dec 10, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I just bought a great-condition 1990 Fender Jazz Plus bass here on TB, and the bass plays great except for an issue I'm having with buzz on an open A string:

    After I received the bass, I thoroughly cleaned it and re-strung it with D'Addario XL Nickel Wounds in 45-65-80-100 gauges. After tuning her up, the A string exhibits a nasty buzz against either the first or second fret (pretty sure it's the first) with anything heavier than a light pluck. The odd thing is if I mute the A string at the headstock with even very light pressure - not even enough pressure to fret the string if it were over the neck - the buzz disappears and the string plays fine.

    I'm thinking that I've either got a bad string (noticed several small spots of corrosion on the strings when I opened the pack) or the gauge is too light for the nut (bone) and the setup (rather low). The frets are in great shape for a 23-year-old bass, and I know that the bass was set up for its old strings (looked to be Elixir Black Beauties; not sure of the gauges) fairly recently.

    I'd appreciate any insight into the issue, and suggestions as to what I should try first to eliminate the problem ... ?
  2. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    That's a very common issue that usually has a very simple fix. When stringing the A, you have to make every effort to keep the windings on the bottom of the tuning peg. You need to maximize the downward force at the nut.
  3. VifferMike

    VifferMike Registered Four Banger

    Dec 10, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Aaaah; that explains a lot ... thanks!
  4. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Right up there next to, "There's no such thing as a drop-in, preslotted nut".
  5. RoadToad


    May 18, 2013
    I had the same experience with a brand new fender fretless jazz bass. It turned out to be that the A string was too narrow for it's nut slot by only .001 inch! That's all it took to make the buzz. I was able to correct it by inserting a small piece of plastic coated playing card next to the string in it nut slot. No loss of sustain, nice clean sound, no buzzing...now on to some practice.
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    I just never trim my A strings so the wraps always force it down to the deck of the head. If you insist on trimming, just make sure that the bend out of the barrel is low in the slot. If you made the bend too high up you can always remove the string and snip the end so when you re- insert it in the barrel center hole it sits lower.