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Bridge saddles too high & fret buzz struggles

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by athfngl, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. athfngl

    athfngl Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2020
    Raleigh, NC
    Hey all, I am trying to troubleshoot a few issues on my Jazz bass with a Hipshot Kickass bridge, and nothing I have tried has worked. Here are my current issues:

    1. To eliminate fret buzz completely, the bridge saddles have to be raised to the point where they no longer sit in the saddle guides. As it's pictured below, I am still getting fret buzz the whole way down the neck. They do ring out, but buzz for a second after plucking at any fret.

    2. Once I raise the saddles enough to eliminate buzz on frets 1-12, the buzz persists on 12-20. Once I have raised the saddles and ALL fret buzz is gone, the D string still has buzz from frets 12-20. It has to be raised significantly higher than the A string. (As it's pictured, I'd have to turn the D saddle screws two turns higher to eliminate buzz compared to the A string).
    Current action at the 20th fret with no strings depressed is between 1.5 and 1.75mm (0.060 to 0.068 inches). Relief at the 8th fret is about one business card.

    Can anyone give me some guidance here? Is there something obvious I'm missing that I can adjust to bring the saddle height down, keep low action, and not have an excess neck relief? I can take as many pictures and measurements as y'all need. Thanks in advance!

    Edit: I am trying to find a straight edge to see if the frets lie even across the board, and if there are any tall ones. But since it happens the whole way down the neck, I'm not inclined to believe there are any.

    IMG_0350.JPG IMG_0351.JPG IMG_0353.JPG
  2. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    Are there any shims in the neck pocket?
  3. athfngl

    athfngl Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2020
    Raleigh, NC
    No shims - I considered trying one but wasn't sure if that would solve or just perpetuate the issue.
  4. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    To get the saddles down, you'll have to either raise the bridge or add a shim at the headstock end of the neck pocket (opposite of "usual").

    How are you measuring relief?
  5. athfngl

    athfngl Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2020
    Raleigh, NC
    Perfect, I'll try out the neck shim first. I replaced the original bridge with the Hipshot because it was taller, but that didn't really seem to resolve any issues. I'm hoping I don't have to raise the bridge itself.

    For relief, I put a capo at the first fret and press where the neck meets body (17th fret I think). I've always set relief to about the thickness of a business card on all my basses, but I don't mind adding a little more here if needed.
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Rule-out the simple stuff:

    *Level out each bridge saddle so it's parallel with the baseplate. They appear to be tilted which can be causative.

    *Check your break angle at the nut. Again, this can be problematic.

    *Re-set your witness points at the machine head post, nut, and saddles.

    You can add some relief if necessary. The fact that the buzz is present t/o the length of the fingerboard and does not resolve with extreme adjustments of the bridge leads me to believe the problem resides elsewhere.

    JKos and 96tbird like this.
  7. athfngl

    athfngl Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2020
    Raleigh, NC
    @JKos and @Zooberwerx thank you both for the help. I stuck a shim in the headstock end of the neck pocket, which brought the saddles WAY down and got rid of the 12-20 buzz. Added a little more relief, threw on new strings, and set my witness points and now it plays like a dream! I really appreciate the advice, thanks!
    JKos, J_Bass and gebass6 like this.
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