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Buzzing on 13th fret on D string

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gregouille23, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Hi there,

    Today I decided to change the strings on my Dingwall ABII for Dingwall nickel strings. Once done, I noticed a buzzing on the Eb on the D string (13th fret). I bought the Dingwall ABII about 1 month ago and until now I had not noticed this fret buzz. However, I am honestly not 100% sure it wasn't there before...

    Anyway, I adjusted the relief and saddle height to what suits me best, as I play with a soft touch. I tried fingerstyle and slapping as well, and there is no buzzing anywhere else but when playing on the D string 13th fret. Very puzzling.

    2 important things to add:
    - the buzzing occurs towards the nut, not the bridge. If I press on the string with other fingers on the frets before (10th, 11th or 12th), buzzing disappears pretty much entirely.
    - if I play this Eb while the bass neck is parallel to the floor, with the fretboard facing down, there is no buzzing (?!)

    It's driving me nuts for a couple of hours already... :D
    Any ideas fellow TBers?


  2. gregouille23 likes this.
  3. If following that in the correct order and taking measurements does not work it would be worth an email to the folks at Dingwall.
  4. Sorry for the 3 separate replies. It could very well be a overly worn nut or if it had already been replaced, incorrectly set up nut.
    gregouille23 likes this.
  5. I adjusted my neck straight, as I always do, since I play with a light touch. I will contact the folks at Dingwall otherwise, but maybe someone on TB has an idea. I do my own setups and like the results when doing so, but I am by no means an expert so I may have overlooked something. I must also add inspecting the 12th and 13th fret I did not noticed anything weird.
  6. No worries, thanks for the replies. I had an issue with an overly worn nut in the past (on another bass) but it created a fret buzz rather close to the nut and on several frets. On the 13th fret it seems unlikely to me. But I am not ruling anything out...
  7. I thought you said the buzzing is happening close to the nut though?
  8. It's happening towards the nut not the bridge. But it seems to be on the fret just before, so the top of the 12th fret.
  9. Oh, now I understand what you mean. I'm probably out of my depth a bit, but the Dingwall forums or an email directly to them would probably be your best bet to really solve it. They're busy over there, but always make an effort to help people out and get things right.
    gregouille23 likes this.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The condition you describe is called back buzz, and it is indeed the string buzzing against the frets on the nut side of where you are fretting. When it happens it's an indication of one or two conditions:

    1. There's not enough relief in the neck. Try setting the relief at the midpoint of the neck to between 10 and 15 thousandth of an inch.
    2. The nut slot for that string has been cut too low. In this case you can either shim the nut, fill and recut the slot, or replace the nut entirely.
  11. Thanks a lot for the reply. I had also tried putting some more relief and the issue remained the same. Maybe I should try to add a bit more. In the meantime, I have found out than fretting the same note but in the middle of the fret (so still 13th fret on the D string) does not produce any buzz. Would that suggest the issue is rather with the 13th fret itself (first fret after my fretting finger towards the bridge)? I am now confused as what I though was a back buzz (thanks for the technical term :)) may now be a fret issue...
  12. ricardol


    Dec 10, 2016
    This back buzz is annoying but it is not captured by the pickup... so relax ;)
    When this buzz happens, do you have any other string pressed? It could indicate a resonance between the back of a pressed string and the actual note you are playing as they could both be a D#...
  13. Hehe, didn't have the chance to play at normal volume yet since I changed the strings so I will take your word for it ;)
    This is not a case of resonance, it's happening only when playing one string. I play up and down the fingerboard when adjusting the action with the saddles: the moment is start buzzing all over the fingerboard, I raise the saddle back a bit, check and then am good to go :)
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you've tried more relief (how much remains the question), then you might have some fret unevenness or a low nut slot on that string.
    SilGarzaJr likes this.
  15. As mentioned before, I am not a specialist by any means, but since fretting in the middle of the fret does not cause the buzzing, doesn't it rather point to an issue with the actual fret (metal piece) itself?
  16. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Good info. Never seen or heard of this issue but your explanation makes perfect sense.
  17. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I had a weird phantom buzz on a Dingwall once and it turned out to be a bad string which was replaced free of charge from the guys at Dingwall
    gregouille23 likes this.
  18. Thanks for chiming in. I have another set so I could try that. Actually I already had to replace the a string from this set as the exposed core was before the nut, around the 2nd fret. It may very well be an issue with the set...
  19. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Plug it in and turn it up. Also, playing with the FB facing the floor is adding neck relief; gravity pull on headstock.
    gregouille23 likes this.
  20. Today, I loosened the truss rod to add a bit more relief, and the buzzing is gone. It was indeed a lack of relief. I then adjusted the saddles for low action, set the intonation and my ABII is now setup perfectly, at least to my taste :)

    Thanks a lot for the suggestions!
    ricardol likes this.

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