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Buzz up and down the A-string, but not on the other strings?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Recently, my bass has developed a buzz on the A-string from about the 3rd fret on up the neck, but no on the other strings. If I play with a light touch there's no buzz - just when I dig in. I raised the saddle - it still buzzes a bit. I used a fret rocker to check for high frets and the frets are all level in relation to each other.

    What gives?
  2. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    bad or twisted string?
  3. Maybe. I've used these strings for about six months with no issues and they're flatwounds, but it could be that the string is showing it's true colors now.
  4. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    When you say "started to develop" the problem, does that mean it was fine at some point prior to this happening? What changed since? Different strings? Setup? Something happened that would explain the new problem. Just have to do some detective work.
  5. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    or maybe it wore out...
  6. I didn't think flats did that!
  7. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    When my bass had that problem, fret 3 was high by 1mm or so. I took it down and it made a huge difference. No offense, but are you positive that they are all level, and that you checked in between every pair of strings?
  8. No offense taken! I haven't checked between every pair of strings because it's only the A-string that's buzzing. What I did was use a fret rocker to check groups of three frets at a time for high frets. I'm considering starting at the 3rd fret and progressively sanding the frets lower to create a progressive fall-away.
  9. I agree with either a fret issue (although affecting only one string would be a first for me), or a bad string (which I have experienced, and the exact symptoms you describe).
  10. Yeah, it's weird that I have one buzzing string, which wasn't buzzing this way last week. It doesn't sound like a fret issue because it's only buzzing on one string.
  11. Bad string is the most likely suspect at this point. Easy enough to change her out and see what happens.

    There is also the possibility of hardware vibrating, such as saddle springs and such. Put your ear up close and check all hardware carefully as you play that A string.
  12. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    just for the record, i have had flatwounds go bad on me. i think it was my fault. i would often share strings between basses, experimenting. i later discovered that twisting the string, or changing the witness points over the saddle or nut, would affect the string and possibly fatigue it.

    sometimes a string may be on the verge, so to speak. perhaps separating internally, under the winding.
  13. I'll get myself some new strings and see where we're at. Thanks!
  14. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    It could be a few lifted frets...which need dressing.
  15. Yeah, but lifted just under the A-string?

    I think the bum string idea is probably the answer. I've installed/removed/installed/removed etc. these strings a bunch to do various adjustments, and it's possible that the A-string got twisted at some point and only just now finally failed. The tone hasn't changed but that buzz is there.
  16. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Is this a Fender or Fender-inspired 4-in line "conventional" headstock? If so, is there enough leader on the string that after it clears the nut it winds all the way down in a single even layer to the bushing without binding? If there is not enough break angle over the nut, the A string will buzz.
  17. I'll have to try that! It might have slipped upward and there's not enough pressure. Thanks! I'm glad I didn't order a new set of strings yet!
  18. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    and/or a re-seating.
  19. Good suggestion, and good advice for everyone. However, this is generally only true for open A. Fretted A isn't usually affected by shallow break angle of the string over the nut.

    Buzzing up and down the entire fretboard would be fret(s), relief/action, loose hardware, or bad string.