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Am i hitting the strings too hard?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Xxquincyxx5, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014
    Hey, i recently received a new bass for my 14th birthday ( Ibanez SR370) i went on holiday for 2 weeks and didn't bring my older bass guitar with me, now as i got back from Holiday i've been playing Rocksmith 2014 and when i play a song (mostly quick songs like Savior by Rise Against) I notice that when i hit the notes using the two finger technique, i sometimes hear a clacking sound as if the string i'm playing is hitting another fret when vibrating. This mostly happens with the E and A strings but also happen on the D and G strings.

    Soooooooo... My question is: Am i hitting the strings too hard or is there something wrong with this bass? Thanks in Advance :)
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sounds like you're playing too hard for the current setup. You can change your technique or the setup.
  3. bludog

    bludog Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    Sounds like you just need to get the action (height of the strings) adjusted. Bring it to a shop and have a tech raise the action just slightly, in fact ask them to give it a whole setup (intonation, action, maybe new strings if you want). Describe your issue with the fret buzzing and they should have no problem make the adjustment. Should not be too expensive either.

    Of course, if you absolutely love the action as is then you may need to just back off the intensity... although I think you should opt for the new setup.
  4. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014
    Sorry,, what do you mean by the setup?
  5. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014
    Ooh okaay.. I'll go to a music shop.. I was just wondering if it was my technique or not.. thanks!
  6. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It's pretty much just a generic term meaning how you've adjusted all the things that interact directly with the strings (fretboard, bridge, neck, etc).

    The "action" refers to how far the strings are from the fretboard without your hand doing anything to the strings or pressing them down. It's affected by the height of the saddles on the bridge (those things the strings rest on) and how the neck is curved overall. Using the truss rod to bend the neck upward means the strings get closer to the board, even when fretting a note. Bending it backwards puts distance between the strings and fretboard even when fretting a note. The nut slot (grooves the strings go through before getting to the tuners) also affects this stuff as well.

    Understand that SOME fret contact isn't a terrible and dealbreaking thing with bass, it's just if you hear the buzz continue past the initial attack of the note. Think like when you hear someone slapping a string, there is some fret clack but it doesn't stay around past the peak of the note. It's not a bad idea to be mindful of your plucking technique though...let the amp do its job and don't try to make up for lack of volume by playing harder. It's much easier to become quieter than to become louder by adjusting your playing. :bassist:
  7. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014

    Aaah okaay, i thought what people ment by setup was the setup of the amplifier or something like that, i'll be checking out a store though because i believe that the Action needs to be adjusted, maybe ask some advice from the people working at the music shop since they'll hear me play and find out if it's actually me. Thanks for explaining all this to me!
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Having a shop do a setup on a new bass, or just on any bass from time to time, is a good idea. One minor quibble; VanillahThundah said "action" is the distance of the strings from the fretboard, which is the single biggest variable in it, but technically it actually means the force needed to press the string to the fretboard; high action = lots of force needed, low action = little force needed. The point being that you can also raise or lower the "action" by getting heavier or lighter-tension strings. But the most common way to change the action is to change the string height, so that's how people most often use the term.

    Anyway, like VT said - the fret buzz is due to your hitting hard and your action being low. If you're going to keep playing that hard, a higher action is a good idea. You may also work on playing with a lighter touch and letting your amp do more of the work (in other words, turn up). Sometimes I find myself digging in really hard and I realize it's because I'm trying to hear myself over the guitarist - so I just turn up and play lighter. Also, some people LIKE a little buzz or clank and incorporate it into their tone - Billy Sheehan, for instance, deliberately sets his basses up to get a little, controlled, clank.
  9. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014
    Aha, i still have a lot of things to learn about bass guitars, thanks for taking the time to give me some info, it's really useful! I guess i'm going to get the action raised, i feel quite comfortable the way i'm playing currently, it's just the fret buzzes that annoy me a bit.

    I'm really sorry if i'm bothering you with this question, but what are the differences between different strings? (Please don't involve too complicated words, i tried searching up what the differences are and i don't understand anything what the websites are trying to tell me) :p
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    No problem. I highly recommend going to your local guitar store and talking to the tech there about your bass, you'll learn a lot. Ideally, ask if you can watch him do a setup.

    As far as strings go, there's a whole subsection of the forum devoted to them, so browse around there for more detail. In brief, there are two common types, roundwound and flatwound. Basically, each consists of a central core wire with another wire wound around it; if the outer wire is round, the string will feel rougher and the sound will have more treble "growl" to it. That's the most popular kind. If the outer wire is flat (like tape), the string will feel smooth and the sound will have a warmer "thump" to it. There are also various thicknesses, heavy to light, and the string companies each have their own particular voodoo they do to them to get particular qualities.
  11. Xxquincyxx5


    Jan 8, 2014
    Ahaa okaay, i'll check out a music store tomorrow straight after school!

    Thanks for all the great help, i'll ask the tech there about the strings vibrating against frets, probably buy a pack of strings and ask him about other accessories they sell.

    I'm going to return to rocksmith 2014 now :bassist: :cool:
  12. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
  13. Seriously folks, embrace the clank. It's the sign of a good attack that will add definition to your tone in the worst mixes and make hearing yourself easier. And when you get really good at it, you can use the clank to assess how hard you are attacking the strings, and you can back off the intensity for those lighter parts of the set where you should be doing things like breathing, maintaining Feel, and waiting for your singer to come back in.

  14. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Oy; buying strings from a local store is a money-pit, but if you're talking Ernie Ball Super Slinkys then maybe you're not so far off. Check out JustStrings.com and Basstringsonline.com for options.

    But your concerns about clank - in some instances, clank is a sign of an underbowed neck (in other words, the truss rod is too tight and the neck is under too much tension away from the body). This produces fret clank when fingering notes and playing gently.

    In other cases, clank is a beautiful artifact of playing a well set-up bass aggressively. By that I mean that the relief in the neck is good enough to avoid incidental clank, but your playing style can induce good clank. Play for a while and don't worry too much about sound. Master some degree of fingerboard understanding. You're 14; I'm 50. Would I be 14 again! Don't sweat it; from the sound of things, you don't have a problem with your bass, you just need to get used to what various basses sound like in different situations.