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Bad Fret Buzz On Higher Frets. Please Help!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by organworthyplayer337, Jul 21, 2017.


  1. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I just bought a bass and when setting it up I realized the bass has bad fret buzz on the higher frets.

    It starts around fret 14/15, and it's almost like a "fretting out" sound. The note doesn't ring out, it gets cut out. And if I drop the saddles even a little, the note doesn't even exist and you'll hear the same note (the note before it cuts out) over and over.
    ^^^ hope that makes sense

    I checked for high frets by using a metal ruler and credit card and there does not seem to be any high frets.

    The action has to be too high (for my liking) for the buzzing not to be there. The saddles can barely make it half way down before it buzzes like crazy again. There is no buzzing on any other frets around the fretboard.

    The truss rod is tight, it can go further but it is tight. Saddles are 90% maxed out in height. There is a shim, but a thin shim.

    TL;DR:
    - Frets 14 - 20 are fretting out and buzzing, no other frets are affected
    -Bridge saddles have to be high in order to remedy the buzzing, raising the action too high for my liking
    -NO high frets
    - What's wrong?

    I did search for higher fret buzzing but need some personal instruction :)

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    A Fender, perchance? Ski ramp?
     
  3. bassplayer2014

    bassplayer2014

    Jun 7, 2014
    Arizona
    To me it sounds like your tight truss rod may need an adjustment to give your neck more relief. Then adjust everything else accordingly.
     
  4. ZenG

    ZenG

    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    That might be your problem. Righty tighty lefty loosey.

    When you loosen up you'll get more forward bow in the neck. When you tighten up it straightens. You can even put your own backbow in it by tightening too much.

    I'm guessing your going to have to loosen off until you get it correct. By then you should be able to lower the strings to desired height.
     
  5. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    So loosen the truss rod off then try to lower the saddles?

    Thanks for the help
     
  6. bassplayer2014

    bassplayer2014

    Jun 7, 2014
    Arizona
    The videos in the TB setup forum and/or setup videos on YouTube are very instructional. Being able to do a good basic setup is very important.
     
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Adding relief might help. I'd also look to see if the neck is shimmed too high at the heel. I wonder if the neck angle is too extreme. Is it a new or used Bass? Bolt on I assume.
     
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.
  8. ZenG

    ZenG

    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    All things being equal, when you loosen off the truss rod you will create forward bow (How much depends on how much you loosen the truss rod. It doesn't take much at all to get the desired setting usually).

    When you've got this right then you can adjust string/saddle height and then intonate.

    It might take a few tries to get everything right where you want it.
     
  9. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Ok, I will try this tomorrow. If that doesn't work, any other guesses?
     
  10. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Usually you want to turn the truss rod a 1/4 turn at a time. Make sure to check the effect under the full tension of whatever tuning you're going to use as the tention affects the neck bow.
     
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.
  11. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I have 5 other basses and I have been able to achieve some pretty good set-ups with them. This is the first time I've come across this situation with the circumstances that surrounds it.
     
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The truss rod has no effect beyond about the 12th or 14th fret. It controls the amount of relief in the centre of the neck, but can do nothing for that area where the neck is connected to the body, and about 4 of 5 frets back from there towards the nut.

    You need to get the entire neck geometry right. Look at the sticky
    ALL BASIC SETUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE
     
    JLS, joebar and JGbassman like this.
  13. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    It's used but was made late 2016. The neck angle doesn't seem too extreme. With or without the shim, the buzz is still there. The shim is about business card thickness.
     
  14. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    For some reason the link doesn't work for me :(
     
  15. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
  16. ZenG

    ZenG

    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    Well strings are different tensions. Higher tension strings have more pull and then there's the particular wood used for the neck and the design of the neck.

    I have basses that take almost nothing to adjust...and then I have one that seems to take a lot of turn to even get the neck to move.

    You may possibly have to shim if none of the above advice works effectively.

    Different necks seem to respond differently to truss rod adjutsments. Some make a "bow".

    Others the string nut end of the neck comes up in a bit of a 'ski jump ' effect.

    Depending on which end of the neck the adjustment nut is can also affect the look of the 'bow' that is formed in my experience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  17. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    It is possible you're experiencing the ski jump phenomenon. Just search ski jump here on TB to see a ton of threads about it
     
  18. Chaosreigns

    Chaosreigns Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Contrary to what most here are saying, you actually want to tighten your truss rod and raise your saddles. This is to prevent the action from being too high (below the 12th fret) after you raise your saddles (to fix 14-20).

    Gary Willis' guide is the most straight forward. Here's the relevant link and info: Adjusting The Neck
    "If after lowering the strings, the notes buzz only above the 12th fret, then there's too much bow in the neck. You'll need to tighten the truss rod."
     
    megafiddle likes this.
  19. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Willis' guide is not favoured at TB. See the Setup sticky for a list of other more accepted guides.
     
    mdogs likes this.
  20. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I think that's the situation I'm in. I tried to tighten the truss rod a little to compensate but the action is still too high because of having to keep the bridge saddles at a certain height.