Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Instigator, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Instigator


    Nov 5, 2003
    Canada man!
    Hey, i've been playing fro about....3-4 months, and somethings really starting to aggravate me. when i plat(and i'm gonna say about 67% of the time i spend doing this) my bass clacks at me. the note gets hit, but the clacking is definatly audiable. i investigated this, and discovered that its my string hitting the frets. my strings are less than 6 months old, and my bass is a Washburn Xb-100(no idea what year). i was wondering id its a problem with my playing, or with my bass. if it is a problem with my playing, how can i make it stop, and if it's my bass, again, how can i make it stop?
    l8er daze
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Plucking hard will give you some fret noise, or "clacking". If you pluck hard and want to reduce the clacking, simply use a lighter touch. There's really no reason to be violent with the poor thing. ;)

    If it also BUZZES, even when using a light touch, then the bow in the neck (=relief) and/or string height (=action) need to be adjusted. Take it to a tech at a music shop or a good bass player you know and ask if they could set up the bass properly for you.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Clacking" also occurs 'cause the fingertips aren't calloused enough...the smooth fingertip glides across the string & a bit of the fingernail catches the string-
    If it's not the neck-
    I would pay attention to what the plucking fingers are doing...
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    i play hard, and my warwick clacks. my other basses don't. could be just the way the bass is made, in which case if you want the clacking to stop you'll probably have to work on some new technique. other things that help are rolling off the highs a bit, using nickel strings, flatwounds, or nylon roundwounds (which are really cool, fender makes em) - finding exactly where the clacking is in the EQ and cancelling it out, buying another bass.

    ps. before you go wearing your fingers to the bone, i would think a lack of callouses would produce a softer tone, not a clacking tone. anytime a non-bass player plays one of my basses, they sound a lot softer and smoother than i can get my fingers to make em sound.
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    that's funny, my fender Jazz clacks, but my Warwick doesn't clack, it just growls and barks

    :D ;)
  6. Kindness


    Oct 1, 2003
    I tend to get some serious "clacking" when I get over agressive with my right hand playing fingerstyle. I never have any problems with clacking when using a pick. Using a light touch definitely solves the problem, but sometimes I get a little excited on stage jumping around and such. Another (hopefully) helpful bit of advice is to pluck the strings so they vibrate parallel to the fretboard. You may need to change the angle of attack of your right hand, but picking across the strings rather than down at the strings should help quite a bit.

    Clacking is currently my number one aggravation on the bass, but I've been slowly eliminating it over the past few months. Old habits are hard to break...
  7. If It's because you're simply using bad right hand(left if you're leftie) technique and you're "hitting" the string way to hard. To solve this,simply use lighter touch on the string,and turn your amp up.

    Let the amp do the work for you. Also,you will notice your tone is more clean and clear...

    hope that helped.
  8. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    My Modulus does that if I play in the middle (between the frets). I tend to play nearly on top of the frets, though, so I don't notice it so much. This requires good positioning of your fretting hand and working on your "finger memory" to get a feel for the spacing. It lets me use a lighter touch, which I prefer. The position is more like what you'd use on a fretless.
  9. My Yamaha tends to clack, and I think it's half action/relief and half aggressive playing style in the right hand. I think it still clacks a bit when I pick, which would imply that it's action/relief in my case since my picking is almost at a 90 degree angle from my fingerstyle, which tends to go almost straight down. Have someone fiddle with the action and truss rod (or do it yourself if you're competent to do so) and then play normally and see how it sounds.
  10. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    After all the other posts here if it clacks and don't stop the neck is probably too straight. I find that proper neck bow keeps my MIM Jazz from doing that. And yes it does happen even when doing some easy finger picking. Never with a Pick though. I don't play a pick much so I set the critter up for the player so to speak.

  11. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    +1 to playing with a lighter touch, and compensating with volume. Since I found TB several months ago, I've taken the advice of people here and started using a lighter touch, and it's improved both the clacking problem that I too had and my speed.

    Rolling off the high frequencies helps too, as does lowering the pickups. I'll agree that some basses tend to clack more than others, but there's no reason that improved technique can't resolve just about all of it.
  12. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    Do you get the "clack" all over the board or only at certain spots?