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Am I too picky?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bardolph, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I am the owner of a 55-01 skyline and I really love its sound, but lately I've been irritated by some buzzing on the higher frets and even the not so high frets (fret 5 on D string). My action is not really that low, my neck has the very slight amount of bow it needs and I've even done a leveling job on the frets with a large file. Am I just being too picky about the buzzing or is there possibly some brand of strings that doesn't buzz as much?

    Another thing- I have played other people's basses and some of them have lower action than I do with even less buzz, even this one MIM jazz bass I played.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Some strings do seem to cause problems for some basses and may be an issue here but my first thought is a questionable setup. The file part sounds a tad on the scary side. Reminescent of a Pedullae I once observed. Possibly in error but I'm guessing a proper setup may make the difference - and quite possibly bring about some remorse in the file department. One thing's for certain, if you used a LARGE file, dressing the frets should be in order.
  3. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Sorry, I said that in a bad way. My dad was the one that did the leveling the job, and he's been doing it for years and years. He's a music store owner and he does very high quality work, so the fret job is not the problem. It's just that I don't understand how other people's basses can play that much better than mine does.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Good to hear about the fret job. Lower fret buzz is usually backing off the truss rod or a nut adjustment, upper frets is usually a bridge adjustment and truss rod as indicated. Depending on what you're calling low, if the strings aren't that low and you're still getting buzz, something probably is not right in that setup or the neck has a hump at the neck-heel joint.

    I'm not that familiar with Laklands and their rigging but some pups are more sensitive to string slap. Some basses can slap like crazy but you won't hear it through the amp, and that's all that matters. And some strings work on some basses and some don't. Strings vibrate vertically and some vibrate more than others. You might try the same strings that are on another bass you like. Not sure how to put this but I assume your not getting any interference from your pups in terms of height.

    Don't know if this of any help but something doesn't seem right unless the strings are reasonably low: 2-3 mm at the 12th fret.
  5. What brand of strings are you using at the moment?

    You might consider a lighter guage string, or strings with less tension, like Thomastik-Infield strings.

    Just a thought!

  6. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I use D'Addario nickel plated XLs. I like them because they are cheap and last long.
  7. Heavy_E


    Jul 2, 2002
    You might email Dan at Lakland... I have a 55-02 and they had to install anew fret board (under warranty) because the original on was out of spec and they could not file the frets down any lower. The problem could be a manufacturing issue.

    It made a total difference in the sound and playability.

    I also use DR Highbeams on my Lakland.
  8. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    Just as you my Jazz does that with Fender ML flatwounds. It isn't the neck setup nor the bridge. It just buzzes with those strings. I can go back to the Rounds and it becomes the same wonderful playing set the action where you want it bass it always was.

    I do love the sound the flats have on my MIM Jazz but man those flats make me feel like idon't know how to fret a bass.

    I think I like the some basses don't like some strings fact. Make more sense to me than ruining a neck trying to fix something that isn't there with another type string of the same gauge.


  9. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I agree. Since you're father is a qualified tech & he can't seem to get it to sound right I would give Dan an email.

    P.S. Does it buzz while playing thur an amp?
    If not, I would leave it alone.
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Any of the above could be a factor, and just cause it's not a low end bass doesn't it mean it doesn't have a low end construction error. Logically I'd think Thomastiks contradictory to your outcome. I have a wall of basses strung with TI's and they take up some space when you set them in motion. You'd probably want higher tension strings, which is probably correlated in part with the suggestion regarding switching from flats to rounds, as rounds are usually higher tension (though not always for sure). But string construction, materials, and design can all affect vibration and how they work on a given bass.

    To give you an idea, that Pedullae I referred to earlier came with rounds. No problem but I don't like rounds. Put a set of TI's on it and the first time I went to bend a string - sssssssssscrape!. The frets had been filed but not dressed. With rounds you couldn't even tell. I hadn't even noticed the frets till then. Looked like hell but they worked - with rounds.

    But for what it's worth, I'd go with the simplest, cheapest, easiest, fastest alterations to resolve a problem in the future. Filing the frets should have been at the end of that chain next to an actual problem with the fingerboard or neck itself - essentially backtracking a reverse process of building the the neck.
  11. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    First thing I'd check for is loose frets. Very common on all fretted instruments; even if you've dressed the frets correctly, a loose fret will pop back up and make string rattle.

    My dressing tool is a 16" long 3/4" X 2" solid aluminum bar that has been milled to within a thousandth of an inch along its length. I apply sticky sandpaper, usually 220 grit for fret levelling.

    A file is the wrong choice as they are rarely level due to the heat treatment for hardening; tends to bow the file just a bit.

    Good luck.

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