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ABG: Is this a string problem? Lift off noise...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MtnSong, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. MtnSong


    Jan 25, 2012
    Clancy, Montana
    I sure hope someone can help me: I just purchased a new Michael Kelly Custom Club 5 String (the ABG is a bit more acceptable in a bluegrass band, than my Washburn T12....) When this guitar is plugged into an amp, (e.g., Fender Rumble 75, et al), we hear "finger lift-off noise" which is generated from the string and fret right after a note is played and the fretting finger lifts up to go to another note. I have tried different amps, eq's, changing playing style, different players, etc. (The instrument came with D"Addario ABG strings, FYI) When jamming with a lot of folks this sound is overlooked, but in intimate playing with my bluegrass friends or when we have tried to record a session it is simply unusable.

    I am trying to find help, answers, etc., there were no guitar folks to talk to where I bought it, and there is NO one to talk to in Clancy, MT, and only two other ABG players in Helena, MT (closest "big" city in Montana) that I know of, one plays a fretless Dragonfly (who claims that was why he went fretless was to get around the noise), the other plays a huge old Guild and it has no such problem.

    Anyway, ANY thoughts you have to help would be greatly appreciated. I have started the RMA process, but, if there is anyway to make this problem go away, I would rather keep the Custom Club.


    Rick Wine
  2. valenore


    Jul 22, 2005
    There is probably a lot better advice on this than what I am about to give, but here is what I have tried before:

    1.) Adjust treble. Cutting treble gain will help reduce string noise (it is generally higher frequency). This obviously changes your overall sound though.

    2.) Lower pickups. To me a lower pickup gets less of the unwanted string noise. This can change your tone a little and will decrease the volume, but you can compensate for that on your amp.

    3.) Flatwound strings: This will do more to eliminate string noise than anything else, but it also gives a completely different sound.
  3. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    As mentioned already, flatwound strings go a very long way to reducing all finger string noise. Let me guess.. your bass currently has gold colored Phosphor Bronze strings on it?

    And as also mentioned, cutting the treble/high mids on both the instrument preamp and on your amp can help a lot as well.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains

    If they are in fact the phosphor bronze strings, they are usually very bright sounding. Couple that with an acoustic and it just amplifies any finger noise. If you aren't muting the strings with your hands, or really throwing your fingers off the board to move to the next note I can definitely see some finger noise happening.
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Because your acoustic has a piezo pickup under the bridge, it's more sensitive to higher frequencies (like that of sliding your fingers around). Technique and EQ adjustment are the only things you can do with phosphor bronze strings to eliminate that noise. Elixir makes a set of bass strings you should try. I have their nanowebs on my acoustic guitar, and finger noise is almost inaudible because of it.
  6. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Yep, kill the treble, and get you a set of D'Addario Chromes (flatwounds) on that ABG quick!

    Chromes will fit in with Bluegrass much better than squeaky phos-bronze strings anyway.
  7. Flat wounds for sure. I removed the frets on my abg. It sounds about 59867346573 times better. No more clickity clack.
  8. Versatek6

    Versatek6 Fretless is like Trombone Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    I recently got a used ABG (Ferrington) that had tapewound strings. Hugely in love with the sound! Prior owner ruined two, so it has a new set of Rotosound tapes; they need to be played in to get as much thump and woodiness as the old set, but I tnink they are the way to go. IMHO, of course.

    Bassstringsonline.com did right by me. Super guy to do business with. Price brraks for registered TB members, too.

    Good luck!
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    As mentioned above, cutbthe treble and if there is presence on the preamp, cut tht too. LaBella or D'Addario tapes are my faves for piezo equipped basses though I am using TIJF's on a Boulder Creek fretless and they seem to work relly well.

    I also changed the pickup in a tacoma Thunderchief to a K&K pure and like that a lot though it did away with the on board controls. Tonally it is pretty sweet.
  10. MtnSong


    Jan 25, 2012
    Clancy, Montana
    THANKS ! ! To all who responded, I very much appreciate it. I have worked on the EQ to reduce the brightness, and this has helped. What REALLY helped, so far, though, is to really get each fretting finger to the NEAR top of the fret, then when I lift a finger off of a note, the string vibration is muted by my finger and not at the top edge of the fret. I DO want to try some string options as mentioned above, though. I heard a flatwound on another friend's bass and it was SO smooth and mellow, problem is: I do not think I can put those on an acoustic bass, i.e., Michael Kelly Custom Club - I think I would tear the bridge off. So, I will shop for flats that are made for ABG.

    You all have been MOST helpful, thanks very much!
  11. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Not sure what you'll find in flats made for an ABG, but please report back if you find anything.

    I will say, Thomastik Jazz Flats may be expensive, but they are very low tension, lower than any phos-bronze ABG string that I'm aware of. They should be perfectly safe.

    And I've had this set of Chromes on my Hondo H1000 for several years now, still holding up perfectly. :cool:


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