Annoying fret buzz issue...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GFreeman1008, Aug 26, 2020.


  1. GFreeman1008

    GFreeman1008

    Jun 13, 2020
    Maryland
    I need help with a rather annoying fret buzz issue.

    I have a 2019 Fender Player Series Precision Bass. When I initially bought the bass this January, I had an option for a free setup from the store. I went that route, and I opted for D’Addario Chromes. I say all this to say that it has been amazing since then.

    This past weekend, I decided to change strings to a Fender 9050M set. The new strings had noticeably more tension, and I felt it needed a truss rod adjustment. I looked up the Fender bass setup manual and brought each measurement up to the specifications they recommend with the exception that I opted for slightly higher neck relief (I went with 0.014-0.015 inches at the eighth fret instead of the recommended 0.012) and action since I like to really “dig in” and sometimes play with a pick.

    Here is the issue I ran into: The E and A strings sounded great with no buzz. However, the D and G strings had a slight buzz on the frets 3 through 9. So, I raised the action on those strings. This pretty much eradicated the G string buzz, but didn’t really help much with the D string. After raising it comically farther it still had the issue. I opted to put the truss rod back to where it originally was and just raise the action in general on the other strings to try and accommodate the D string. Unfortunately, I’m still experiencing the fret buzz, albeit it is considerably less than before and only between frets 3-7.

    The final important thing I want to mention is the type of fret buzz I’m experiencing. There is no issue within the first second of the string vibrating. However, after that second, it appears that the plane of the strings vibration rotates in such a way to cause it to hit against the frets. Yet again, only the D string is experiencing this.

    What could be causing this issue? I’m open to any and all suggestions on how to remove it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  2. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Legit question, not being rude, how long you been playing?
     
  3. GFreeman1008

    GFreeman1008

    Jun 13, 2020
    Maryland
    That’s definitely not a rude question...it’s just a little off topic. I’m happy to answer, though.

    I have about 5 years of experience specifically on the bass, but I’ve been playing music for close to 20 years. If the question was with respect to me working on my own instruments, I’ve been setting up my own Basses since I started playing. My first two Basses were quite cheap, and I had to settle for slightly high action since I haven’t jumped into fret work yet.

    I hope that answered the question. For the record, though, I’m very interested in any and all answers to my original question.
     
  4. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    not at all, it took me playing stainless steel strings and a lot of years for no buzz anytime, that's me, I worked with people that sometimes over complicate things costing them time and lots of money. Doesn't mean it applies to you, but I've seen it.
     
  5. GFreeman1008

    GFreeman1008

    Jun 13, 2020
    Maryland
    I understand. My technique is certainly on the table of things to consider. However, since this issue is only on one string, I decided to post it as more of a general setup question. While setting up 3/4 of my bass strings with a decent action is nice, I’d like to get that last 25%.

    I’m just interested in hearing if anyone else has encountered the fret buzz like I described where the string only buzzed against the frets after a second or so of ringing.
     
  6. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Ok gotcha.
     
  7. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    Is the D string correctly installed? I'm asking this because on your bass the first two strings are held by a string retainer and that can be one of the causes. Another cause can be a poorly cut nut slot.
     
  8. vaesto

    vaesto

    Jun 21, 2010
    I'll ask the same question: are strings properly installed? Have you heard about "witness points" and have you set them correctly? The buzz you've got might be so-called back-buzz: hammer-on at higher position and check if the string between nut and you fret doesn't buzz. Alternatively, your neck might bend unevenly under greater tension of new string, which makes fret level deviations at certain areas and hence
     
    Vinny_G likes this.
  9. GFreeman1008

    GFreeman1008

    Jun 13, 2020
    Maryland
    I’m hesitant to blame the nut due to the fact that the Chromes I had on the bass had no issues whatsoever. However, the string installation is an interesting thought for a few reasons:

    1. I had never heard of witness points until just now. After reading a thread here on TB about them I’m shocked at how I’ve missed out on such a simple and intuitive concept. I’m going to be applying this on all future string installations and testing it here.

    2. This particular set of Fender 9050s were originally installed on a Squire P bass that was made sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The tuning posts on that bass have quite a bit less diameter compared to the Fender, and the string retainer had slots underneath to guide the strings while the Fender does not. Is this a reasonable possibility for it to not sit correctly? I’m planning on getting a fresh set of these strings in an effort to troubleshoot the issue. I can report back once I do that too.

    Finally, as mentioned in one of the replies above, what I’m most worried about is that the neck isn’t handling the increased tension, putting the frets “out of whack”. What is the best way to determine this is the issue?
     
  10. vaesto

    vaesto

    Jun 21, 2010
    Well, installing strings from other instruments is not good idea for several reasons. E.g.: you may end up with twisted string, or/and witness/breaking points may be at different positions hence you may have various "special" effects like buzzing, chorusing bad intonation and etc. Lets see what fresh set brings now then you've learned "witness point" thing :)
     
  11. GFreeman1008

    GFreeman1008

    Jun 13, 2020
    Maryland
    Well, it appears the strings were the issue. Based on all the responses, my best guess is that the deformation on the strings (i.e. witness points) from the original bass put some measure of “bind” when they were on the new bass. This, in turn, caused the fret buzz. Luckily, it only happened on one string, and I was able to eliminate a lot of other possibilities quickly. Thanks for all the responses. The whole idea of witness points was definitely worth the price of admission. That idea should definitely be more widely disseminated.
     
    vaesto and Vinny_G like this.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 23, 2021

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