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clicks when I fret

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dezisapunk, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. dezisapunk


    Oct 8, 2019
    hey y'all,

    So, when i fret between notes, mostly hammer ons and offs, or playing fast, I hear this...high pitch click, or a squeak that I think come from the frets. Does anyone know what this is, and why it happens? Is there anyway I can fix this problem?
  2. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Do you hear it on only your bass , or thru an amp as well. just a question , yes I know not a solution.
    FunkHead and Guild B301 like this.
  3. dezisapunk


    Oct 8, 2019
    Only on my bass, but, i have my treble way down so that might be why
  4. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Well, I was gonna say I hear noise as well , but not when I crank up my amp:woot:

    I can’t help you , because I can’t see what your doing and I’m no instructor by any means.

    fret buzz and clicks used to drive me crazy, then as I progressed I realized what I heard playing unplugged wasn’t heard plugged in.

    It could be a setup issue and / or a technique issue.

    crank the volume if you can and see what you hear. Steve Harris is famous for being a clicky player, but in the mix it works.

    I think someone who is qualified needs to critique your technique live in person. You may have an issue,or maybe you don’t.

    that’s the best I can offer ,
  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Another prying, stupid question. Rounds? Bright rounds?
  6. Wretched Banana

    Wretched Banana

    Mar 7, 2020
    MA, US
    It can be managed. 1) Don't unreasonably boost trebles, 2) when going direct, use a LPF/cabsim. Going into a real cab obviously has the same effect.

    There'll always be some fret noise, it's the nature of the beast. Coming from guitar I was obsessed with cleaning up those clicks, convinced that it was my terrible technique or something. It wasn't. There's a lot of metal under your fingers making contact with more metal. they'll click.
  7. LowWay


    Dec 16, 2009
    See if you can find some police tracks with the bass soloed out. You’d be surprised how noisy they are.
    sonojono and LBS-bass like this.
  8. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Do you play over the pickup? Often it’s your fingers hitting the pickup that produce a click.

    Try playing away from the pickup and see if that resolves the issue.
    Methaneman likes this.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I've heard bass guitar described as sounding "like a musical instrument, with someone workin on a Buick* in the background". If you listen to a lot of isolated bass guitar tracks, especially from live performances, you'll hear a lot of fret grind and clank. In the mix, it falls away. So, work on making it not too bad, and then accept that some of it is gonna be there. If you roll off enough treble so that you don't hear the metallic noises, you'll suck the life out of your sound.

    *With a Warwick, is sounds like someone is working on an Audi. Or maybe it's a Mercedes. Depends on the model, I guess.
    mikewalker, Kubicki Fan, Ggaa and 2 others like this.
  10. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Buy a fretless.
  11. Fretting a note pushes metal against metal so there will be a click there. Squeal? Maybe finger noise....sliding even a little on roundwound strings will do that. Loud clicks are usually the strings hitting pickups.
  12. briandavismurph


    Jul 1, 2013
    Push your E string down on the last fret and measure your pickup height [distance from the bottom of the string to the pickup pole]. Should be 1/8" or so. If the pickups are too close to the string this might result in the noise you are having.
  13. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    Fret clank is partly a setup issue, partly a technique issue. If your action is too low, it may cause clank when fretting as the string contacts the other frets. You may also want to adjust the angle at which you fingers contact the strings when you pluck. A flatter angle gives less clank.
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  14. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    This ^^^. When I analyzed where the click was coming from, I determined it was actually from sloppy finger-picking technique, such that I was inadvertently “tapping” on many notes. Coming from playing upright & 60’s/70’s bass amps, it was too easy to develop an aggressive right hand. Once figured out, it didn’t take me too long to correct it, it just took forever to find. Part of the fix was indeed raising the action ever so slightly. This may not be your issue at all, but thought I’d mention my experience.
    mikewalker, JakobT and jamro217 like this.
  15. Wretched Banana

    Wretched Banana

    Mar 7, 2020
    MA, US
    That's one of the problems with fret click and clank, everybody interprets those in different ways and have different tolerances to fretboard noise. Case in point, I don't see how technique or setup can help with (at least) the first part of the OP's question: clicks during hammer-ons and just plain fretting without engaging the plucking hand at all.

    It's very important to listen to samples. My epiphany was when I realized my celebrity bass instructor recommending technique adjustments over Zoom sent me his DAW tracks, and his clank was waaay worse than mine. There is stuff you can clean with your technique, but there's also physics you can't avoid.
    mikewalker and Rabidhamster like this.
  16. Maybe try a mute of some kind. I use a lot of palm muting when I play, and I've noticed it elimates alot of clicks, squeals and such.
    Maybe a bit of foam or flannel behind or in front of your bridge.
    Might be one of the reasons, besides tone, that so many session players use them.
    Might be worth a try. You can always pull it back off if you don't like it.
    Good luck!
  17. Ellery


    Mar 25, 2015
    Same problem here. I've improved somewhat by recording practices plugged direct into my interface and analyzing them. Among things I've discovered:
    -When my thumb hopped on a string to mute, it would land too hard and bump the muted string against the frets;
    -My fretting technique was less accurate than I thought, sometimes a little too far behind the fret, sometimes slipping enough to emit a squeal;
    -Part of my sound is from hard plucking but I was hitting too hard. I found I could reduce plucking force by about 30% and still get the same tone with less transients;
    - The flatter the angle of my plucking attack, the less noise.
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  18. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    There are two things to consider, IME.
    1: Good clean technique can reduce and all but eliminate most of the click. A nice low action combined with minimal finger movement in the left hand and a light touch in the right all help.
    2: The last bit that can't be eliminated can be incorporated into the note by tight synchronisation between the left and right hands, making the click part of the attack of the note.

    Freddy T likes this.
  19. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    This is probably bad advice but.....Play for what comes out of your amp. Don't let the little noises affect your technique because it will throw off your whole game.
    As others have said, listen to Isolated bass tracks. If you aren't too much worse than those then you are golden.

    Certainly, you can practice playing more quietly acoustically and let the amp do the work. I bet some of the best players do just that. Others dig in hard and it sounds a mess acoustically.
    Here's a video of Flea that show's a little of what I think OP is desrcibing.
  20. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    It’s gonna be there no matter what but a tweeter can make it sound bad. I turn mine off or down, and generally prefer cabs without tweeters at all.
    plopping a vibrating metal string up against a piece of metal barbed into a piece of wood is just always gonna make a clicking sound to some extent.
    Ellery likes this.

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