buzzing,rattling sound when open e and the first few frets on the e are played

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by motorteipidpa, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. a little over a year ago,i bought a Rogue Fretless bass from musicians friend.shortly after playing it i realized how bad it sounded and i havent played it much in the year that i have it, maybe just a few times. Recently i want to start playing it again and fix the problems that it has,but i really dont know crap about bass setup and maintanence. the main problem is that the low e string makes a rattling or buzzing sound.from what i can tell,the sound is coming from the nut,or something else on the headstock. i dont think its because of the string hitting the fretboard because the notes are clear,you just get that rattling at the head stock to go along with it. it only happens on the open e string all the other strings play fine without the noise wen played open, however the other strings do get a buzzing sound slightly wen playing fretted notes .does anyone have an idea on what this can be? like i said i dont really no much about bass maintenance and setup so it would be great if someone can explain some things for me to try to make the sound go away.the local shop is pretty pricey wen it comes to doing instrument adjustments,so i would like to do it on my own,or have a friend that is more experienced then me do it for me once we find out the problem.wen you get up to the higher frets the sound goes away but on low fingered notes its still there.also on the other 3 strings u hear a slight buzzing wen you are playing a fretted note but they sound fine wen the open strings are played.i would like to get this problem fixed before i go out and get some new strings for it,cuz i wont even want to play it with the new strings if the problem is still there.i wanted to restring it with some flatwounds but not until i get the buzzing to go away.i also need to get it properly intonated because it seems to be slightly,what did i expect from rogue.

    now that i look up at my post, i would like to apologize for this extremely long,all over the place subject wise, post. :) but if u have time to read the whole thing and can help me that would be great:)
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I remember having a similar problem with my first bass (which was also fairly inexpensive). if it's a rattling in the head (not from the strings), i remember it really bugging me, and being a total mystery. i tightened all the screws in the tuners and everywhere else and it was still there. when the bass was plugged in you couldn't hear it, so i just learned to accept it. if YOUR bass has the same disease, i'd suggest accepting it or buying a better bass.

    it could also just need a setup. if you're going to take it to a shop to have it set up anyhow, just do that and tell them to slap the new strings on it while they're at it. if they're gonna charge you more than you can afford, do a search here on "set ups", "truss rod adjustment", "bridge adjustment", etc. it's not too hard to do it yourself, and so long as you follow the rule to only go a quarter of a turn at a time on the truss rod, you'll be safe. it IS possible to snap a truss rod, but i've never seen anyone do it, and as long as you don't go forcing it beyond reason i don't think it's gonna happen.

    at the warwick website they have bass care manuals that will tell you a great deal about neck adjustment.
  3. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA

    I've had a similar problem with my 71' "P" bass... it turned to be a combination of the string vibration rattling the machinehead and the last wind of the string (where it leaves the tuning post into the string guide and up the neck to the bridge), not being bottomed out on the machinehead.

    The former, as Joe pointed up in his post, involved some screw tightening, and replacing the 'gear' screw to make the tuner more solid.
    The latter... well, making sure to keep the string fed downward on the peg and as tight against the bottom of the same without grinding it into the headstock seemed to do the trick.

    Hope this helps you out, michael s.
  4. Besides what's already been mentioned;

    - the nut grooves may be poorly cut

    - the truss rod may be rattling around in there at one end

    Personally, I'd take it to a tech and at least get their diagnosis. It's very tough to do without actually seeing the thing.
  5. Kevin V

    Kevin V

    Mar 12, 2003
    Union, New Jersey
    I had a similar problem about a year back, when I used to play by myself and without a tuner. I always tuned relatively instead of actually tuning it. The low E eventually became so loose that I had this problem. I only solved this when a guitarist let me use his tuner. I felt like a moron! Make sure that this is not your problem.