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Brubaker choked/dead note issue

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jazzcrime, Oct 23, 2009.


  1. Hey guys I also posted this in setup and repairs but thought someone might know in here as well,

    Just wondering what you would make of this problem?
    I just bought a brand new Brubaker KBX custom 5. It's a beautiful bass however, my issue is to do with a note on the bass that just chokes out due to bottoming it out on the fret in front of it somehow. When I initally picked up the bass I thought maybe it had something to do with the neck, so I gave the truss rod a bit of adjusting and got the neck nice and straight and feeling good (plays great elsewhere on the bass), however this didn't fix the note still choking out. I can't really see anything different about the frets that make it obvious what's wrong. The note that I'm having the problem with is the 15th on the D (F). If I fret the note REALLY hard it kinda plays a little clearer, and if I bend the 15th fret of the G string over to where the D string would normally sit over it chokes out as well. If you follow this link you'll find me demonstrating the problem I'm having:


    Any suggestions on what might be the problem would be appreciated! Going to take it to a luthier as well, but thought maybe somewhere on here might have some knowledge.
     
  2. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    OH/WV
    Ouch! Thats a bummer..

    Have you spoken to Kevin? Hes a great guy, and Im sure he could help you out.
     
  3. the distributor i bought the bass through has talked to him... the bass is brand new so it's a bit concerning. just seeing if anyone here had experience it before, will probably have to take it to a luthier - if not - ship it off back around the world to kevin!
     
  4. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    OH/WV
    Thats a bummer man! Im sure someone here can help you.

    Well, good luck either way!
     
  5. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Seems to me that the 16th fret is just a touch high at that point, so that when you're fretting the 15th, the string doesn't quite clear the 16th, leading to the buzz and choking.

    It's very unlikely to be a neck problem since all the other strings sound clean on that fret. Has the 16th fret lifted at all?

    Anyway, leveling and (if necessary) recrowning the 16th should sort it out. A few minutes work for a decent luthier
     
  6. fret doesn't look as though it has lifted at all. it's very very localised too, the notes on other strings on the same fret work fine. thanks!
     
  7. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    I'd give Brubaker a call. A bass of that caliber should not have that issue.
     
  8. It's probably a high fret. From the looks of your video, it's quite high.
    It's possible for it to be high 'locally,' so that it doesn't affect the other strings.
    But just for the heck of it, try a new string- it could be the string- not likely, but why not try it.
    If it's a high fret, maybe the builder will authorize a local repair, with reimbursement, to avoid shipping.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Could be a high 16th or a low 15th fret.
     
  10. I suggest contacting Kevin. He's a great guy. Also, could this be a bridge issue? ie: adjustment for the height of the string?
     
  11. i'm almost certain it has nothing to do with the bridge.
     
  12. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    I'm betting the fret has moved and is too high. First try raising the string height just a tad on the problem string, if that doesn't help or if the action gets ugly then it's most likely a high fret that needs attention. FYI tightening a truss can make a high fret problem even worse, a neck needs some back bow to work properly.
     
  13. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    Hey Brett,

    I also think the fret is too high, you might want to check with a small 6" (150mm) ruler and lay it on top of the fret to see if the fret is higher (ruler will rock back and forth on the high fret) If it is too high just levelling that one fret will do the job. Its an easy and fast job although Brubakers use stainless steel frets which is harder on the tools than brass nickel frets. Any local guy will be able to do that for you. I could do it for you free of charge if you want to ship it back and forth to Brisbane. That wouldn't be cheap but would be a lot cheaper than shipping to the US.

    (before anyone starts asking me for free repairs, bear in mind Jazzcrime is already one of my customers, I wouldn't fix anything free for anyone else :) )
     
  14. cheers phil! i think it'll just bring it to a local guy monday. i tried to the ruler thing though - and the ruler sat flush across all the frets the whole way along... should that not have happened?
     
  15. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    That's strange, it should have been the problem. Also, if the 15th fret chokes out it means the 16th fret is the one that's too high. Did you check it at the 16th fret with the ruler too? When you check put the ruler in the middle of its length on the 16th fret and try to rock it to see if its flat or not.
     
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Not to be broken record, but straightedge laying flat but choking when fretting the 15th is consistent with the 15th being low. So is the buzz decreasing if you fret the 15th really hard, because that can deflect the string upward past the fret.

    If you lay a straightedge across at that string path, can you slip a sheet of paper between the 15th and the straightedge more easily than with other frets?
     
  17. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses

    To check for a high fret using the rocking method Phil mentioned you should check it with something that will only span 3 frets at a time. At the 16th you'll need something about 2-1/2" long, 6" is too long for the upper octave of the neck and will not show the height difference between the 3 frets in question, at least not very well because if indeed one fret is low, the others frets surrounding it will not keep the straight edge from rocking. By spanning only 3 frets you avoid this :)
     
  18. i tried again... still doesn't seem uneven to me! bloody mystery!
     
  19. Skelf

    Skelf

    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    I had this problem recently and it turned out not to be a fret problem but a small kink in the string. This by luck was above the third fret and caused buzzing the same way a high fret would.
     
  20. This.
     

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