Back-buzz playing the 8th fret

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JoeCow, Nov 18, 2017.


  1. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    bass, has suddenly developed a kind of annoying buzz.. well really annoying.. Im not sure 100 percent if this was always here of if I just managed to avoid playing that particular fret and sting all this time lol. this may sound weird, I hope im explaining it right but I started getting major bumble bee sounding buzz when I play the 8th fret (only) on the low E sting (only) but its coming form the 14th fret....

    Because of the way sound travails though the wood of this particular bass I kind of had a harder time then I usually do identifying where the buzz was originating from exactly since if I put my ear closer to the bass to try to pinpoint location I could for example hear it coming from the head-stock or the back of the body or places on the neck SOOOO I eventually cut a peace of paper to small size and stick it, in-between the low E sting and frets (with bass laying flat on work bench.. ) I would hold down the 8th fret and play it and then move the paper to another fret (I did this both on frets before and after the offending area) I eventually reached the 14th fret and moved the paper there, Once again holding down the 8th fret and plucking it, and thats when the bumble bee sound was muffled by the paper muting effect.... To be sure I continued all the way down to the 24th.. but the only one that stopped it was the 14th fret.


    THE SHORT VERSION. I seem to have fret buzz when I hold down the 8th fret ONLY on the low E sting but its originating form the 14th fret.... If that makes any sense.



    bass/setup info ---4 string Sr1400E. My bass had been set up, when I bought it, and I rechecked the measurements just now -----> relief is about .4 mm, action is 2.5 on low E sting, 2.0 on G sting.

    sting change history --- (probably dosn't matter) Original string gauge from the factor was elixirs in .45/.65/.85/.105, But I quickly upend my gauge to .50/.65/.85/105 a week after owning the bass, and all sting changes have been constraint with this previously.. until 3 days ago when I bought some Ernie ball cobalt hybrid slinkys which match the original gauge set as far as sting thickness goes more or less. Its after putting on the new stings (my 4th time changing stings over all on this bass) that I noticed my issue, I looked closely at the stings and noticed several defects, kinks and unraveling winding, asked for my money back but was simply given an exchange and all they had was "regular slink cobalt's" left so I settled with them. But the problem persisted (this set doesn't looked defective either that I can see) so I investigated further until I found out im having fret buzz when playing the 8th fret but originating form the 14th. Previously I had chromes (flat-wounds) and before that elixirs. yea I like to peppermint with different kinds of stings on every new bass until I find the best match.
     
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    So you might have a high fret there or a rise in the neck. Or it just may be that you neeed to loosen your trussrod to increase the relief.

    Tips to analyze:

    Use a long straight edge like a metal yardstick and lay it along the neck on top of the frets and look for any rising humps in the neck.

    Use a straight edge that spans only three frets to look for high frets: place it across three frets (only) at a time and rock it too see if you can find high frets.

    I’ll tell you one thing that is 100% the TRUTH. You should not lie the bass down to analyze fret buzzing or setup action and relief; The bass must be in playing position. Lying down, gravity is acting differently on the neck than if held when being played.
     
    Garret Graves likes this.
  3. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    Thank you for you information and I apologize if my last post was not easy to under-stand I had wirtten it very late at night half asleep. But yea no worries I did the measurements from playing position. I tried capo-ing the first fret and holing it down by were the body joins and I did the relief measurement with a feeler gauge in playing position and I used a 10 MM ruler for the action measurement also at playing position. The only (test) r I did with the bass laying down was the paper test because I didn't have an extra hand to place the paper on the fret, and play the note. doing it from playing position would make the paper fall through, (I guess I didn't think of asking someone for help or using tape at the time lol) and I figured since the buzz is apparent for both positions, it would work.. But just to double check I re-did the paper test in playing position with a friend holding the paper between the frets (couldn't find tape), and the same thing happens, the (very loud) bumble bee sound that only happens when playing the 8th fret (low E string) gets muted once the paper is held on the 14th fret.
     
  4. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    Im guessing im going to have to give a bit more relief yet without going pass 5mm at the 12th fret. and or maybe raise the action past the sanctioned 2.5 mm. Im guessing cobalt stings are a lot more "springy" cause I certainly didn't have this issue before giving them a try, Id be willing to test that theory but I dont want to wast money lol.
     
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Relief is not usually the answer for a problem that occurs on only a single fret. You might be able to alleviate the problem with more relief, but that's akin to killing flies with a shotgun. Address the issue - a problem fret.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
    RSBBass and 3alfa3 like this.
  6. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    update, I noticed the issue was actually not coming from the 14th fret after all after trial and error, and tweaking the relief ever so slightly (wanted relief closer to .45 mm at the 8th to give some leeway in the mid neck without going past .5 mm) Anyways I was unable to reproduce the paper test results, but discovered that when holding multiple frets that the buzz that happens when playing the 8th fret (low e) no longer was happening.. at first I was stumped and didn't think it could have been a nut issue since it wasn't at the first few frets.. but when I capo-d the sucker and touched any of the length of string before the 8th fret while fretting it, it would stop that loud pinging bumble bee crap.. I started a thread about that to ask what It could be but I guess I got ahead of my self cause I just solved the issue.

    SO what I ended up doing that seemed to solve it is I stuck a peace of paper folded many times, into the nut slot, which gave the sting a tiny bit extra high.. returned and low and behold the pinging bumble bee sounding back buzz is now gone when playing the 8th fret. So yea im guessing Ill need to either shim, or replace the nut or do something with powder and superglue.. all that said im a little upset by how fast the slot for the low e on the Graph Tech TUSQ XL
    nut that came with my Sr1400 seemed to wear down. I mean like faster then any nut I've used before. Im not sure if this is common or I just got unlucky. This was supposed to be some kind of self lubing nut as I understood it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Interesting that a peach would give the sting extra high, even though the tusk xl wore the sting down. Um... I think. Oh, I get it - they are typos. So it's a piece of pepper and tusq excels at where down and a fastener are nuts. Yah, I agree.

    :thumbsup:
     
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    If I had Sting on my bass I’d wouldn’t be so critical.

    Speed typing can lead to entertaining typos.

    So our op is saying it was back buzz? Below the fretted note? It’s unclear.
     
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It's the only thing that makes science.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  10. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    Indeed but I cant really spell that well anyways, so It could have been the late hour in which I posted, and the speed or it could have just been me considering my learning disabilities hindered me a lot and my high school pretty much failed me. so I've been used to my type's being entertaining at times. Doesn't really bother me tho I think most can figure out what I mean to say if they want. But yea sad truth, that was after using the spellchecker and triple checking.

    Anyways on topic. What I am saying is that when I fret the 8th fret it buzzes loudly and I mean loudly. When I fret multiple frets behind the 8th fret at the same time the buzz stops. here are images that may help explain what Im saying. Sorry for the angle It was the only way I could get my web cam to take a clear photo of this in the light without having to move everything too much why the bass is standing straight up.. I of course dont hold my bass this way while playing WIN_20171127_16_59_57_Pro.jpg WIN_20171127_16_57_40_Pro.jpg

    If I put a capo on the 8th fret and press previous length of string before the 8th fret it also stops the buzz. I know no other term to call this besides as you called it "back buzz". Also

    1. putting paper in the nut slot makes the buzz go away.
    2. Holding previous length of sting makes it go away.
    3. If I were to adjust the relief enough and ignored everything else that buzz could be transferred to another fret but no matter how much you adjust action or relief buzz dose not go away when playing that sting at some fret but number 1 and 2 still apply.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Yes, that's back buzz. If the relief has been set correctly and the back buzz still occurs, you might need a little more height in the nut slot for that string. But it could also be that the nut slot is a bit wide and the string is rattling in the slot. If you have a good break angle over the nut, the latter is not likely the case. My best guess is that the nut slot is too low.
     
    Bassdirty and Oleg BassPlayer like this.
  12. JoeCow

    JoeCow

    Jul 12, 2017
    Ah okay.. well since my last reply I have:

    1. Stuck three 1 MM shims under the nut and it fixed the issue BUT now the action at the first fret is pretty uncomfortable. Seems to be like 1 mm above the fret wire.. Is that a normal or acceptable first fret action or am I just being picky? I know it was lower just by eyeballing it with my nut as it was originally.. furthermore my SX Ursa 1 chep-o bass has a much smaller action at the 1st fret without any back buzzing at all (its less then .5 mms since the string dosnt even hit the first notch in my MM ruler which is the .5 mm mark).. so Im thinking a higher nut and shimming alone is not the ideal solution alone..

    2. I took shims back out and placed a new brass nut (cheap-o from china looks identical to my original nut minus the nut slots being much higher even-though it said it didn't need any further adjustments on the ebay ad lol) This added up to my strings being the same height as was with my original nut + the three 1 mm shims attache so once again uncomfortable action at the first fret.

    So what would you say is a good action at the first fret for an Ibanez SR or 4 string bass in general? am I being too picky thinking 1mm is too high.

    ---- I also started thinking about what you said about the slots being too wide and the break angle being incorrect... I wonder how this could have happens I didnt do anything all that out of the ordinary aside the brief experiment with flatwounds on an SR.. some bass's sound great with them while others not so much... I didn't care for them on the SR1400 compared to rounds so I switched and tried the ernie ball cobalts and now BAM back buzz... maybe when I had flat-wounds on since they are slightly thicker and heaver dispute the gauge being the same? or maybe its just something with Ernie ball cobalts lol.. since this issue is with both packs of them... id have to put on a different brand to test that but I thought I heard once that Ernie ball sometimes has all kinds of errors in their string measurements... I donno.. I guess Im just looking and hoping for workarounds that wont involve me having to have uncomfortable action to get rid of the "back buzz" when I play the 8th fret. I guess I will need to just get a new nut made at the correct height with the correct slot hights... rather then the china crud I got... Or invent in nut-files cause doing it with a string and sandpaper is not gonna cut it with brass most likely... well I did it once before for my squire guitar's new nut.. but it took a freaking long long time lol... dont know how I had the patients for it and the slots were not very pretty...


    Man I thought fretbuzz on a guitar or bass was annoying back in the day but as I played more and more with different instruments I began to realize its not always as bad as my mind made it and could not be heard though an amp most of the time unless something was really wrong with the frets or relief lol. I never experinced back buzz in the 11 or so years of playing.. but god its the msot annoying type of buzz Ive ever heard....... its SO loud and annoying and "pingy".. If I must have high action at the first to get rid of it so be it.. but Im hoping their is another way..
     
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    So you have confirmed that the problem is back buzz. Check you relief again. Fret at the first fret and around the 17th (where the neck meets the body). Measure the relief at the 6th or 7th fret. 0.4mm should be good. String height at the bridge is irrelevant at this point. Don't measure the relief from the first fret to the last - use the body-joint location.

    Next, fret the string between the second and third fret and check the space between the string and the first fret. There should be a tiny space - much less than the thickness of a piece of paper. But it should not be touching the fret. If it's touching it's too low. The actual measurement on the open string to first fret should be about .55 mm.

    If all of this checks out, then it could be a high fret, a bad string, some unevenness in the neck.
     
    Oleg BassPlayer likes this.
  14. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    I'm experiencing a very similar problem on E string at the 8th fret , the only difference being that back part of the string buzzes not always but only when it resonates to C on the 2nd string one octave higher.

    I checked the nut: put a tiny piece of paper in the notch under the string and it worked, the buzz was gone.

    How can I fix the nut? Should I have it replaced or can I just glue something in there? How do I do it so that it doesn't affect the sound of the open string? It's plastic.

    PS I've just read about filling too deep slots with baking soda and superglue, is it a good solution?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  15. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Although shimming the slot with some paper fixed the buzz the problem is not at the nut. If it were, all the frets would exhibit sympathetic buzzing at all frequencies.

    The problem is a high fret. The answer is to either spot level or re-seat the fret followed by crowning and polishing.

    This is another instance where floating thumb technique is likely to make the problem disappear. However, when a fret is high that is what should be taken care of first.
     
  16. It comes from your speaker when plugged in? If not, i coud live with that
     
  17. FunkyYeti

    FunkyYeti

    Oct 10, 2019
    I changed the strings on my Precision (9.5-inch radius) yesterday from light Chromes (.45-.65-.80-.100) to TIs (.43-.56-.70-.100). I setup the bass according to Fender's measurements and I'm getting back buzz on the 6th, 7th and 8th frets of the E string. The neck relief at the 7th fret (with the 1st and the neck-joint frets depressed) is 0.3 mm. I began increasing the relief little by little without measuring, but it wouldn't go away so I decreased it back to 0.3 mm.

    I know TIs are considered very low tension and I assume it affects neck relief. How do you go about setting up basses strung with TIs? Should I try and increase the relief to 0.4 mm as you suggest here?

    Thanks!

     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    You could try adding more relief, but .3mm should be enough. I would look for a high fret from frets 1 to 5. If the frets are all level then I would suggest that your E string nut slot is cut too low, or there is a kink in the string.

    To check the nut slot, hold the string down between the second and third fret (so that the string is resting on the second fret). Look for a gap between the first fret and the bottom of the string - there should be a gap about the thickness of a piece of paper or less. If there is no gap at all the nut slot is cut too low.
     
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    In my experience, back buzz is caused by a low nut slot. Try putting a paper shim in the slot and see if the issue persists.
     
  20. FunkyYeti

    FunkyYeti

    Oct 10, 2019
    What's a paper shim? Just a piece of paper?
     
  21. 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.

     
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