Cort C4H Bass Fret Noise Issue...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Arnaud Malan, Nov 7, 2018.


  1. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Hi Folks!

    I have an issue with my Cort C4H 4-string bass guitar which I can't seem to find a solution to: when I fret roughly from the 5th fret (mainly on my low E string) upwards, I get this strange, muted, almost buzzing sound... It's not like normal fretbuzz which has a sharper sound, it's very dull. And what drives me up the walls is that it kills my sustain.

    I know the symptoms suggest fretbuzz, but I have taken it in to my local luthier, and he has given it a good setup, even reseated the neck, but it still hasn't resolved the issue.

    I had no such issues until the day that I changed my strings... This may give a clue as to what caused it. I changed from round strings to flatwounds too, if that helps at all.

    If anyone could give me advice on what it is likely to be, I would highly appreciate it. If it does sound like a fretbuzz issue to you, what would you suggest to remedy it?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Cheers, Arnaud
     
  2. Copperhead

    Copperhead Still creakin' around. Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    Tennessee
    I really think you may have answered your own question, Arnaud. Our basses being the finicky individual beasts that they are, sometimes they don't "like" a certain set of strings. I have had this experience more than once.
    I had that experience lately with a set of Roto 77 flats.

    They were awful on one bass, great on another.
     
    Arnaud Malan likes this.
  3. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    OK, thanks for that, it seems that it may well be the problem... I'll change them. #Addbassstringstobuylist
     
  4. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Hi All,

    I apologize for revisiting my question, but the last solution I tried didn't work, and I'm still searching. @Copperhead suggested that I change my strings, and I did change them back to my previous set of roundwound strings, but that still didn't help, unfortunately.

    Could it be a problem with the pitch of my neck? If so, can anyone recommend the best way to check it?

    I would greatly appreciate any advice I can get!

    Thanks.
     
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Have you done a set-up on the bass...ever...including relief, intonation, string height, and witness points?

    Riis
     
  6. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Hi Zooberwerx,

    No, I haven't done my own setup. I take it to the best luthier (which works on guitars) in the region, and he does the work for me. I'm not sure if the problem is apparent to him, but he's changed a few things which I believe has helped, but hasn't solved it...
     
  7. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    To add to that, he has set up the relief, intonation, and action, but I haven't seen the need yet to worry about witness points. If you think it would help I will try it...?
     
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, set your witness points. If your tech installed them, that should have been part of the process.

    Are you able to reproduce this fault in front of your tech? I would assume a competent tech can isolate the culprit and actually fix it.

    Riis
     
  9. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Great, I've set my witness points. It hasn't solved the problem, but I can see why it is important to do so, so thank you. I have looked at and listened to my bass again thoroughly, and it seems that the only likely possibility that could still be causing the problem is the strings themselves. That, or maybe there isn't a problem at all, and I have unrealistic expectations... So that begs the question, is it normal for my E string to have significantly less sustain than my A string (4 string bass)?
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    No, not if it's that noticeable. Of course, it could be the string but...being men of science...we look at all the culpable elements including the string install, bass set-up, etc. Any way you can get a second opinion from someone other than your tech...a fellow bass player, perhaps?

    Riis
     
  11. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    OK. Yes, I will do that. I have had one of my buddies play it, and he didn't notice it (I didn't mention anything to him beforehand), however... It's going to drive me up the walls until I'm satisfied that I have it at its best. It definitely is noticable to me!

    I'll have another good bassist play it, and report back. Thanks Riis!
     
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  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    That's a great attitude...I hope you get things up to spec in short order!

    Riis
     
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  13. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Righto, update!

    I discovered a thread from years back of someone who had the exact same issue as I did... With exactly the same type and brand of strings. This, in conjunction with the fact that I can find nothing else wrong with my bass leads me to believe it is simply the strings.

    However, I did take it to a friend of mine who is a very good bass player, and he said that he could hear nothing wrong with it as such, although he could hear the sound that I was referring to. I'm still not 100% sure what the cause is, but at least I'm satisfied that there isn't something major out of whack. I feel better about my bass guitar now. :thumbsup:

    I'm afraid I'm going to ditch the flatwound club. Elixir Nanowebs, here I come!

    Thank you for your advice guys, much appreciated!
     
  14. Did you check pickup height (especially on the low side since the E string is the most affected) ? To high a pickup can lead to less sustain as the string interacts with the pickup. This worsens as the string is fretted higher on the neck and the string gets closer to the pickup. Just a wild guess.
     
  15. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Yep, I believe I did, and from memory it was pretty close to what they recommended on the internet. I will look at it again though. Thank you for the suggestion. :)

    On an interesting note, I was watching one of the videos from Scott's Bass Lessons on YouTube, and he gave a valuable tip when restringing:

    Normally you would cut the string to length and insert the end into the hole in the tuning post before starting the the winding. Apparently the right way to do it is to bend the string first just below the point where you cut it off, forming a kink, and then cutting off the short end and inserting the little hook (kinked part) into your tuning post. This prevents the core from slipping, which (if it does slip) can cause your string to obtain that dead sound.

    I think this may well have had an effect, since I certainly didn't do that! I don't know if this common knowledge, but it was new to me. I'm no pro player, so I'm regularly learning new things, haha. :hyper:
     
  16. AFAIK this is mostly for flat wounds but it is a good habit to do so for any kind of string. It could also be a dead string as the low ones are the first to go. However I doubt this is a string issue (either when stringing or dead because of age) because in this case the string would sound 'dead' across all the fretboard and not just after the 5th fret.
     
  17. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Yes, very good point. However, as I pointed out earlier, it may not have really been an issue, just a "normal" flatwound sound that I need to get used to... I intend to change my strings in the near future, so if a clear similarity persists, I will definitely revisit it.

    Is this the first time you've heard about anything like this? I have to date only found one other person who has had the same question. :thumbsdown:
     
  18. Yes, if it's due to the string. If the bass is setup correctly (which it should be since it's been checked by a luthier), then I'd change either the E string if the set is new or the whole set. The fact that this happened after a string change is, as you said in your post, also a clue.
     
  19. Arnaud Malan

    Arnaud Malan

    Nov 7, 2018
    Yes, that's right. Thank you for your advice, I intend to change my strings in the near future, and I will report back to confirm whether it made a difference or not. :thumbsup:
     
  20. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    TLDR: Try damping (stop the note with pinky and lay your other fingers on the string behind the fret) below the note you are playing. Check nut slots...

    I'm going to go out on a limb and bring back-buzz into the discussion. This is where the length of string between the nut and fret vibrates in sympathy with the sounding note, and is related to nut slot depth. Under certain conditions (low nut height and flat relief and playing on lower frets) the string lies on the lower frets (behind the one you are playing on) and is damped. As you go higher up the neck, typically above 5-8, the relief allows the back-length to lift away and become free to vibrate. A deeper nut slot and flatter relief keeps the string planted for progressivly higher stopped notes, but eventually it will become free. If the resonant pitch of the back-length coincides with a harmonic of the note you are playing it will be set in motion, which will in tirn sap sustain just like any other dead spot. Depending on individual setup parameters, the back-length can vibrate against the frets making a nasty buzz.
    Disclaimer: I'm just thinking aloud based on personal experience, so YMMV
     
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