1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Bridge, nut and board buzz on fretless

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Need Gigs, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. I recently put a coat of Tung Oil on my fingerboard and restrung my fretless bass and now there is a loud buzzing rattling sound present on every note on the A string. The buzz is coming from the nut and bridge on the open note and from the place I press down on the string and the bridge when I play fretted (kinda) notes.
    Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this buzzing?
    Will it be heard through amplification (I can't check this with a broken amp!)?
  2. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    A lot of buzz will go away when the bass is amplified. However, the oil should not have changed much, so it's doubtful that's what causing the buzz issue. Did you try it through an amp yet? Is it still noticeable? Have you inspected the nut carefully? Is there any damage to the A string slot? Same goes for the bridge. Look it over carefully.
  3. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Is your action too low with a backbow in the neck? I've never experienced all the notes on the a string buzz.
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    The oil can actually raise up the material used to make the lines on a fretless. I had that happen once. It can cause serious chaos.
  5. My bass was defretted and had wood veneer (rimu, an NZ native timber) inserted into the fret slots. Should I sand it down or is this likely to damage the veneer or fingerboard?
    Thanks to you and everyone else who has helped me! I really appreciate it. :)
  6. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    every time i changed the strings on my AC5 i needed to do some slight adjustment- mostly a tweak of the truss rod. sounds normal to me...
  7. Is it possible you did not wind the strings down the peg when you put them back on? That could lead to a buzz at the nut.
  8. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Sand it down. Maybe at first try to only sand lightly along the line of the a string. A little bit will probably be enough. Can you feel the fretlines sticking out? If you sand very lightly as if you're only cleaning up the fretboard and sanding out stuff that's sticking out no harm will be done. If the problem is more serious and more material has to be sanded dorwn it's probably better to first do a tb search on leveling a fretless fretboard and make up your mind wether you want to do this yourself.

    Most of the time when I apply tung oil I sand it in anyway. That way I'm giving the fretboard a light levveling and the reuslt is prettier. If your fretlines are reacting to the tung oil that might be a good idea for you too.
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    You could do that. The bass I had issues with didn't have maple inserts. They were some sort of plastic. If you sand it, use a block (with the right radius) and very fine grade sand paper. Take your time. It sounds like the maple didn't absorb the tung oil like the rest of the fingerboard. That can cause it to lay on top of the maple inserts. Can you feel the inserts when you run your hand down the fingerboard? If you can, then it should be evened out (by you or a luthier). You shouldn't be able to feel the fret line inserts at all.
  10. 1. You took the strings OFF
    2. You tung oiled the board.
    3. Now the strings buzz on the board

    #1 is a questionable thing to do unless one has relaxed the truss rod a bit to not cause it to pull the neck over backwards when the string pressure is released. :(
    #2 is OK, just not a product I'd use on a board - but live and let live. :meh:
    #3 is the clue here - the neck got a little ahead (behind?) the job it's supposed to do - which is: compensate for the string tension. :atoz:

    I don't see this being a big problem if one knows HOW to readjust the truss rod when the string tension is returned to the neck.

    What I think via long-distance internet diagnosis is: there is ACTUALLY no damage done and the only dimension that's messed uP is the shape/bow of the neck and all else will come back to where it was before you too the strings off IF the truss rod is correctly readjusted.

  11. freatles


    Jan 9, 2014
    I got all kinds of weird things happening after I changed to flats on my fretless.

    Part of it is you hear more of "the other sounds" compared to roundwounds, I think.

    I am also still in the process of getting the truss rod adjustment just right. At rate of adjusting every 5 days...

    The flat nylon coated rotosound strings seem to be making an unusual resonant buzz by themselves. The bridge nuts (the round cylinders the strings rest on) sometimes buzz on each other. Even the string balls behind the bridge on the bass with GHS flats seem to be buzzing sometimes, easily remedied by changing their position.
  12. Thanks guys, this is all very helpful :)
    Do you think my strings will be damaged if I take them off and rewind them on the tuning posts?
    In hindsight, I really should have posted on here before I rushed into DIY-ing...
  13. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    They shouldn't be. I've done it to my back up strings a bunch Of times they still hold up and sound good. Good luck.
  14. When I see 'rewind' in describing the installation of strings, I worry that someone actually might be winding the strings around the post instead of turning the machines to wind them on.

    Please say it ain't so.
  15. Ha, nope, sorry if my terminology is a bit off.
  16. Fretweld6


    Jan 18, 2014
    A big reason you got weird things that happened by switching to flats is that flat wound strings add about 15% more pull and require adjustments made to your bass set up to compensate,Cheers! :)
  17. Fretweld6


    Jan 18, 2014
    If readjusting the rod wont solve the problem and still only the A string acts up? ....... I'm thinking the fingerboard was way way dry when it was sand finished and now that its got a more appropriate moisture content having been oiled,it may need to be sanded again to be true N even!?!
    You know,there IS a good reason better bass makers leave lumber settle in climate controled rooms for designated minimum times. A bass being as much a precision instrument as any Will be affected by changes in 0.001 inch increments and so everything counts!
  18. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Oil doesn't really add to the moisture content of the wood. The oil molecules are too big to penetrate in the way water does. Oil seals the wood, preventing too much moisture from evaporating.
    As the OP reports a problem with the A string only, it would make sense to investigate this string, its saddle, nut and tuning peg. The bass has been restrung, so a bad string is a possibility. A saddle which, for some reason changed position or height, is also an option.
    To answer the last question: Strings can be taken off and installed again without any damage. I did this many times.
    Good luck finding the cause...
  19. ..... or what is thought of as a buzzing, might be a twisted string.

    Just a thought.
  20. Hmmm, can you untwist a string?