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Click-clack sound from Music Man

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GreggBummer, Sep 11, 2019.


  1. So I’m the proud owner of a Music Man SUB5. It’s one of the California made Subs from the 2000’s. Obviously used but appears to be in great shape.

    When I got it, I changed the strings out and put a fresh set of nickel Ernie Ball mediums on it (my first time using them). Did a good once over, adjusted the truss rod and did a good set up.

    However, it makes a click (maybe clack) sound when I dig in a little. Ive heard that these basses are sensitive to strings and sometimes string noise can be amplified. My other basses (Jazz, L2000) don’t make this objectionable clacking noise when played similarly. When I apply some EQ, and cut at around 3.2K, the sound diminishes and the bass sounds pretty good.

    I’d prefer not to have to EQ the sound out. I know that I play with a heavy hand, I’ve tried to lighten my touch up... but no matter how light it is, the sound remains. The clack is all over the neck and on every string. It isn’t a buzz. However I’m pretty sure the noise is from the string being fretted against the fret wire. It’s loud.

    Suggestions? I’m thinking that I might try different strings. I usually use Rotosound stainless... but I think that will make it worse. My set up seems pretty good, but I’m open to suggestions there too. Again, I know I dig in when I play, but, I don’t think I do more than anyone else... and that sound doesn’t seem to be there on the G&L.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    I have had good luck with that sound magically disappearing in the mix. When I practice alone, it forces me to focus on my right hand. I understand how you might find it objectionable but for me it's a feature, not a bug
     
  3. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I haven’t played it in a band context yet, so I’ll have to see how that works out. I like the positive attitude.
     
    djaxup likes this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Did it click-clack with the original strings?
     
    nnnnnn likes this.
  5. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    I use EB slinky’s on every one of my basses. None of them clack unless I play in a fashion that would yield that situation.
    Maybe increase string height a little more or seriously work on your right hand techniques. Stingray’s are aggressively bright basses, so you need to be careful. On my ‘94 3-band, I used to cut the treble by 25-50% to tame it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    dr doofie and Jeff Scott like this.
  6. b15fliptop

    b15fliptop Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Florida
    Are you sure your strings aren’t hitting the pole pieces?
     
  7. I’m not sure. The set up on it was so bad that I just pulled the strings and put on new ones and set it up. The action was pretty low. Also, each string looked like it was a different manufacturer.
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    That was my first thought. Exposed poles close to the strings can easily result in this if you dig in. It’s especially likely to happen if, when digging in, you are slapping the strings downwards towards the pole pieces rather than plucking parallel to them.
     
    TinIndian, gebass6 and Green Knight like this.
  9. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    As others mention above, my first thought and it has not changed since, is a poor set up (for that specific bass) and a need to improve your right (and maybe, even) your feft hand techniques (assuming you play righty).

    Setup includes pickup height and it sounds like this has been overlooked, possibly.

    Keep in mind that aggressive playing will bring on the Click and Clack, too.

    Edit: tie-poh :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    dr doofie, gebass6 and GreggBummer like this.
  10. I thought that too. Not the case, the pick up is out of the way.
     
  11. I don’t think it’s the pole pieces, but, I think you are right about how I play. I definitely stroke down and not paralell. I think some woodshed time might be part of the answer.
     
  12. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Stings hitting the pole pieces make a horrid noise - I think the OP is describing fret clank. A higher setup, playing a bit easier, or old strings (when they go dead, the clack is muted) are the things that help.

    If you can't get rid of it, the logical course of action is to start a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band - Flea's technique involves fret clank on pretty much every note, unless it's a ballad. The tough part of that course of action might be...wardrobe/lack thereof issues. And you'll need tattoos. Lots of tattoos.
     
  13. ardgedee

    ardgedee

    May 13, 2018
    You can easily test whether they're hitting the pole pieces by putting some electrical tape (or other stuff, electrical tape's just more convenient and easier to remove) over them.
     
    TinIndian likes this.
  14. jlt5x

    jlt5x Supporting Member

    May 8, 2007
    chicagoland
    Very bright basses. I have same bass - I put flats on it and it is perfect sounding
     
    jimmyb, dr doofie, dr_gonzo and 4 others like this.
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    My former 3-band SR4H came with rounds on it, and it sounded great. But, it sounded even greater (to me) with an old set of Chromes on it.
     
    dr doofie and GreggBummer like this.
  16. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I used to call my right index finger "Click" and my right middle finger "Clack" until I raised the action a bit and learned to not slam the strings into the frets with either Click or Clack.
     
  17. FenderBassist

    FenderBassist Old School Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Gilbert, AZ
    For me, when I sold off all my old 80s/90s manufactured basses and replaced them with 4 recent versions (less weight for back/neck issues), I noticed that I couldn't do my old style of setup anymore because the A string would clack every time I used it from the neck having less bow. I had to loosen the truss rod a bit, for more bow in the neck, and lower the bridge saddles (for the action I want) to eliminate it. Not sure if that is the issue you are having.
     
  18. That’s a good point, maybe the setup isn’t very good for this bass. I usually do all my own setup work. Maybe this needs some tweaking.

    Someone above posted about flats... I love flats on a P-bass. But, I was kind of going for the “Stingray Bite”. If you have a youtube/link to a good stingray with flats sound... pass it along!
     
  19. EricMordus

    EricMordus

    Aug 29, 2013
    NYC
    As you can see, I own a Musicman as well. Mine has the maple neck and yes, it is a bit "clacky" when you're playing alone in a room. In the band mix though, its awesome
     
  20. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    When setting up my instruments, I find that each one wants its own thing, so to speak, even two, essentially, identical basses I have.

    I do have recordings of my old SR4H with the Chromes on it but it may take a while to find them and get them moved to my computer to post them. By that time you probably will already have flats on your bass! :D

    Oh yeah, not all flats sound the same, so try several different ones to find what works best for you.
     
    GreggBummer likes this.

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