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Cant get rid of that fret buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kruser, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    Okay here is my story, yesterday I bought a new bass, a limited Stingray 4 with String-thru-bridge. The guitar tech at the store set it up after I purchased it, because I mentioned that there is a annoying fret buzz playing the E String.
    At home it still had little of it. So I set it up myself. Reliefing the truss rod, rasing the bridge, and so on.
    Everyting is fine now if I play soft to medium. BUt If a play any harder the open E String buzzes.
    Playing "Suck my kiss" by the RHCP, is unpleasing because the hard played low F buzzes also.
    All other strings I can plug harder as ever needed. But the open E sucks.(If played hard)
    Interesting is that the buzz occurs shortly after plucking the string. It gives me that hard midrange E..........and a buzz destroying everthing.
    Is it just me playing to hard, because there is no buzz when I play with a pick or slap. Even hard down-stroke doesnt gives me a buzz. But an equal hard up-stroke reveals again that buzz.

    Now my quesions:
    Is it me? or is it the bass? (the sattle/nut maybe?)

    ps.: I dont have low action. Its kinda high I think.
  2. Oops, my bad, changing this post (was thinking of another) . . . OK, make sure the E string is seated as low on its tuning peg as it will go. That is, that the point where the E string comes off the tuning peg shaft is as low as possible. Loosen the string and push it down with your fingers, then re-tighten. That will put a little extra downward pressure on the nut slot. Try this before trying anything more drastic. Actually, even before you try this, try putting a little downward pressure behind the nut on the E string with your left thumb, then whack the E with your right. If the buzz disappears, you have your answer.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Have a tech check the nut slots and the lower frets, probably the first couple of frets are a little high under the E string, or the slot for the E string is cut too deep.

    The best way is to level the frets, since EB obviously didn't do too much of a good job.
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Yup, this was the problem when i last restrung my Jazz. Its a little thing you might overlook if you arennt careful, so try that.
  5. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    I already did that, the low E is seated as low as I could get it. And giving the additional pressure with the left thump doesn't change anything.
    As soon as I have some money I will bring it to some tech for a check, and follow JMX's advice.
  6. Dont play so hard. The harder you play the less dynamic range you have. Dann Glenn once said "imagine water on an elephants back". The softer you play the louder it is. Just turn your amp up a little more, play softer and softer. I tried this then it became louder and louder as i hit the sweet spot of playing.


  7. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    JMX is pretty much right on the money.

    I got a Burns Bison a few months back, nostalgia value. Buzz was awful. Factory setup non-existent. The company noted the dealer was supposed to do it.

    A trip to the luthier entailing a new set of strings, proper intonation, and fret leveling cured all the problems. Those frets needed to be leveled high under the E after the truss rod was set.

    Merls has got a good point. If your guitar is well set up, you shouldn't have to be constantly digging in to get the tone you like.

    Play your bass like you caress a woman...
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I go with Thor and JMX. Get a pro tech to look at it. I have a bass with 3 frets that are too high and need better crowning.
    The cost is abot $70. That's not bad for a bass that plays like butter.
  9. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    Thank you guys for your response, I will bring it to a tech as soon as I find a good one around here. Merlins point is good indeed, I am already on my way to play softer, sometimes I just cant behave:ninja:
  10. I've gone ultra-soft and not only does it get rid of buzz, but it does great things for my playing. Seems more folks have buzz probs with MM and G&L axes, not sure why.
  11. BTW kruser, are your frets flat-topped? That can cause buzz too (I'd forgotten about that but a post on agb reminded me).
  12. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    Never heard about different kind of frets.
    Though do mine look pretty rounded, so I guess they're not flat-topped.
    But thanks anyway!
  13. Well, they all start out with rounded tops before they're installed, but sometimes the factory just files them flat to level them without properly re-crowning them to get that rounded profile back.

    What happens with a flat-topped fret is instead of contacting the fret at its center or highest point, the string might be making contact at the back (nut) edge of the fret and that might cause it to buzz off the front side of the fret.

    Someone once made frets with very steep sides and a very small radius on top; maybe it was Music Man (pre-EB) but I don't know how that worked out. It might have caused accelerated fret wear.
  14. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Everyone here is making really good suggestions, but I had this problem once with a bass that I had for a couple years and developed this problem over time. What had happened was the groove in the nut for the 'E' had been worn down over time, it was just a plastic nut, not one of the Brass ones they use now. Open E always buzzed, so, I took a tiny piece of paper, and folded it up a couple times, and stuck it under the string in the nut. Of course, this can look totally stupid unless you make it really tiny and don't let it hang over each side. Make it totally invisible. This raised the string up enough to get rid of the buzz and doesn't cost anything. Of course, this is just a temporary solution and you should really have a pro look at it and fix the real problem, but maybe this can tide you over for a while.
  15. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    my conklin gt-4 has some weird fret buzzing...it only buzzes at certain frets with certain strings. at the 8th fret on the a string (f) it feels like the whole damn neck is buzzing. gaH!:spit:

    anybody know what might be wrong?
  16. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    That could be from specific frets being worn down, or, more likely, the string is worn in the spot that the fret is, this can happen if you've had the strings for a really long time, if their nickel, as opposed to steel, which doesn't wear down as much. rotate the string a bit and look for a shiny flat spot under it where it sits on the fret. This can also happen if you play the same riff over and over for a long time, which will continually wear on specific frets or strings at certain frets and eventually wear a spot in the fret or string that will cause buzzing. was that wordy enough? just my 2 cents.
  17. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think it was an excellent reply. Your suggestions are very good!

    Thank you for the contribution !

    edit: you're <> your error
  18. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Thanks, I never really had a forum like this when I was first learning. In fact I never really had anyone to ask about these things, especially technical issues. I had to figure out a lot of stuff on my own. So, I think it's good to have a place like this where we can help each other out.
  19. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam


    I was on my own with it my whole life, I can tell you I really would have benefitted from this kind of group 20 years ago.

    But it is not to late to reap the bounty...

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