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Call me crazy, but do you like a little fret buzz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Beav, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    First off, I'm a huge fan of that gritty midfreq. sound. I've been listening to some Marcus Miller live stuff and he has a slight bit of fret buzz and I love the way it sounds it add a little grit to the sound. Someone, please back me on this!
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    In certain kinds of music, a little fretbuzz adds some meat to the sound.
  3. Deaj


    Aug 15, 2004
    Kingston, WA
    I love the effect a little fret buzz has on the tone of 'old school' style basses (Fender, Rickenbacker, etc.) - it adds a warm, midrange grind.
    I don't like it on modern sounding basses (Warwick, Modulus, etc.) as it sounds buzzy to my ears.
  4. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Guilty as charged. I also like some fret buzz, both for my own playing, and also listening to recordings. That's why Leland Sklar's bass sound on James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" has always been one of my favorite recorded bass tones.
    Ahhhh. :D
  5. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    No. Never. I want to hear my playing not something that I associate with a poor setup or bad technique. Just my take.
  6. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    My session player Uncle turned me on to ever-so-slight fret buzz. At first I said "you serious?" then he started jamming on his sterling and it sounded freaking great. Now whatever bass I get I have my luthier set up to "lowest possible action" and it's usually right on the money. I'm pretty sure I've heard a few Miller tracks where he has some buzz going on.
  7. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    Listen to Sublime's "Ebin" you can hear how good it sounds. Sorry for the double post. Man I want to marry Eric Wilson. :eyebrow:


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    only if there is a good fat bottom under it. i hate bass tones that have no bass, kinda defeats the purpose eh? :eyebrow:
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    It's actually neither.

    Any thoughts on Stanley Clarke's technique?


    I've come to embrace this as another tool in my arsenal. What may be missed is that it's not mandatory... you can also play without it. I have basses with excellent setups where if I dig in just a bit harder... there it is:D

    The other thing is that it can sound bad alone and killer in the mix... where it really counts.
  10. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    It bugs the he[ck] out of me wherever I hear it. If I do it on accident or whatnot I consider it a "mistake." I work on having a light touch on the right hand combined with "strong" fretting with the left hand. Just because Stanley Clarke does it, means I have to find it acceptable. I've heard Victor do it on accident as well. Still bugs me. Perhaps it's just neurosis.

    I just prefer clean clear sound.
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    king`s X 'dogman" album - a lot of fretbuzz, but the tone is huge, and wery warm, fills up the low frequencies very well - in fact, in some tunes the guitar is recorded only on one channel, so you can lisen a version without it - just bass, drums and voice :)

    i do like a little bit of fretbuzz in my own playing, but i really prefer to have it only when i dig in...
  12. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I am a huge fan of a little fret noise. To me it's more of an effect like when listening to jazz and the bassist is getting that same sound with an upright when the string hits the fingerboard.
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Brad, I agree 100%. If a bass can't be set up where buzz only happens when I want it, it's not worth having. I have my basses set up very low(too low for a lot of people) but can play without buzz. A couple of them have audible buzz when played unamplified, but it doesn't come through the amp. But when I want that sound, all I have to do is dig in a little and there it is.

    And I also agree that it sounds better in the mix than it does in the bedroom.

    It is just another spice. Just like slap, tap, and chords. If overused, any spice is cumbersome and tasteless. But when used sparingly, and when the song calls for it...
  14. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Brad - great post.

    Jeff - 100% agree.
  15. Yes, fret buzz is pretty good, when my Warwick Rockbass was tuned B E A D with a very high action, I got a bit of fret buzz, and boy did it make the bass growl.
  16. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    A touch of fret buzz certainly aids a good grind & growl sound for rock music..... as long as there is sufficient low end behind it! :bassist:
  17. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Interesting post! If I'm using a pick and going for a hi-fi or piano type tone, I don't want to hear any fret buzz. If I'm playing a warm finger style tone, a little fret buzz does kind of add a little something extra to the sound. I will say though that I typically set basses up with the intent of achieving normal play with no fret buzz.
  18. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah, I like a little fret buzz. It's not bad technique when it's done on purpose. ;) As mentioned before, whatever serves the music.

    When I was learning to play, I was very anti-buzz and the slightest little "bzzzrrp" drove me nuts. That was before I discovered that a lot of the bassists I like had a little buzz to get their aggressive tones. Just another spice.
  19. Think Rush.

    Geddy has tons of fret buzz, but it adds to his overdrive.

    Fretbuzz actually does at quite a lot to overdrives, and distortions.
  20. Akito


    Dec 1, 2003
    I was going to mention Doug Pinnick as well. There is a certain new string rattle that complements the whole buzz sound and I think gives overdriven bass sounds a lot of character. Otherwise it starts to sound like a detuned guitar.
    I read a story about John Entwistle and his Alembics on another site. Some people from Alembic were bringing some new basses to John before a Who show. John always wanted the lowest possible action so they had been struggling to get the action where he wanted it without a ton of buzz. They ran out of time and handed the basses over to John with an apology for the buzzing. John plugged them in, tried them out and said, "what buzzing?"