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Buzz at one specific note (8th fret A string)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by wisconsindead, Jan 20, 2017.


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  1. Hey guys,

    My bass is pretty well set up right now, however i get a regular and decently loud fret buzz on the A string F (8th fret). Any idea how I could approach this without having to adjust the saddle height or truss rod? I am assuming the problem is a high fret, so the fret is actually what needs work. This came about after getting a new bridge installed and a new set up.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Determine if the 9th fret is high or the 8th is low. If the latter you may have to level all the frets in mid to upper area. If the former, you need to make sure the 9th fret is properly seated, and hasn't sprung up a bit. If it has, you might try some CA while pressing it it with a properly radiused caul. If it is properly seated, but still high, you can dress it down with a levelling beam, and when the beam just kisses the frets on either side of the 9th, stop, recrown, polish and you're done.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  3. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    What Turnaround said. My two cents are that it is most likely a sprung 9th fret. Also are you sure it is fret buzz? Check if you get any buzz with the F on the D string. It may be something loose and buzzing at that note.
     
  4. Yes it is fret buzz. It's strange, I've never experienced it like this where it is consistently only that one note, usually it's a portion of the fretboard/string.

    No fret sprouting. This is a50 year old bass, that honestly does need a fret dressing. There is clear wear, more so towards the nut. But I've gotten along so far...

    I'm 95% sure it is the F# fret where the string touches. It's tough to determine. How can I go about determining what is high or low? From all of my assessment, all the frets are about level (using a straight edge).
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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  7. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    That looks like a pretty big divot at the 7th fret. I would have it evaluated by a pro for a fret job.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  8. I will note that I changed strings and the problem has persisted. While the frets need a dressing, I still feel that I should be able to alleviate this single fret issue without a full reworking of the fretboard.

    Could you explain how to do this?
     
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Easiest way is with a straight edge that spans just 3 frets. Lay the straightedge across the 6th, 7th and 8th fret and see if it rocks. Then span the 8th, 9th and 10th and see if it rocks there. If it rocks in BOTH those locations, the 8th is low. But if it only rocks when spanning 8, 9 and 10, then the problem is a high fret at 9. But the frets in your photos are really in rough shape. I think it;s time to get the frets dressed, if not replaced.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  10. tbplayer59

    tbplayer59

    Jan 20, 2013
    Buzz doesn't necessarily mean uneven frets. A big divot in a fret would do it too. Vibrating string hits the "sides" of the divot. However, if the divot is on the 7th fret, it would buzz when playing that fret, an E on the A string. But, it's 50 years old. Go ahead and get those frets dressed and you'll be so happy.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  11. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    If only that one spot/one note is giving you trouble, the fret is probably OK.

    I know you don't want to change your action but still, you might try raising the A string.........ever so lightly.............and see if that helps.

    Also, if that truss rod has your neck too straight, that might be causing the A string to buzz on #10.

    Going to a slightly stiffer string might clear up your problem.

    Also, depending on where you pluck...........................if plucking close to the end of the neck...........it can cause the A string to vibrate in a bigger orbit. Try plucking back a little bit at a time and see if it stops buzzing.

    Finally, it is possible you are overly conscience of this F note and you might be hitting it a bit hard?

    OK..........another "finally", is this buzzing when the bass is plug into an amp or when playing it unplugged? I think all of us pluck the strings harder when we are unplugged. Hitting that spot with an overly strong attack might cause the buzz.

    Just some point worth checking into. I'm no expert or nothing.

    Good luck finding the source of your problem.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  12. The location that I pluck doesn't change anything. It also occurs using my fingers or a pick.

    The buzzing is audible when amplified, though it isn't as bad.

    Adjusting action doesn't help.

    It has, apparently, been a really long time since I adjusted the truss rod as when I went to tweak it I found that it is a male piece, not a female piece. So I can't adjust it as i don't have the tools on hand. From just looking down the neck, there appears to be a very slight concave. Pretty straight, but apparently concave.

    I'm kind of at a loss to understanding this.

    I tried this. No rocking of any kind :/

    Thanks for the input guys. I'll have to have my tech look at it. Sigh, I just got it back from a 1.5 month stay at the Luther. Don't wanna hand it off again.
     
  13. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Perhaps you already know this for checking truss rod relief....................fret the E string @ #1 and hold it down and then fret @ the last fret and hold that down. Your E string will be like a "straight line".

    While holding down 1st fret and last fret, look at fret #8 (if a 20 fret neck) and there should be about a business card thickness space between #8 fret and the bottom of the E string.

    Ernie Ball has an excellent way to check neck relief also. Push down at fret #2 and fret #12. There should be a business card space at mid point.

    Strange truss rod adjuster that you have! A male end instead of female. Strange.

    We hope your tech won't keep your bass for so long again.
     
    wisconsindead likes this.
  14. I'm going to give it a shot tonight. Its an old Guild Starfire. Turns 50 this year!
     
  15. I just wanted to note, for the sake of completing this thread, that some truss rod adjustment to increase relief fixed this problem. My frets do need work, but I'm going to put that off for as long as I can get away with it. My relief is currently 11/64" (fretboard wood to underside of E string) at the 12th fret. FWIW.
     

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