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Deadening String Rattle

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by furtim, Sep 14, 2000.

  1. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Just wanted to ask a quick question here. My Fender J has a nasty tendency to rattle on open A and E, like the tone just won't come through pure. My D and G don't do this. If I had to guess, I'd say that the strings are rattling around inside the nut, since I can seem to solve the problem by pressing down on the string at the nut. Anyone have ideas for solving this problem more permanently? I was thinking I could put some tape across the nut to deaden the rattle a bit, but I don't know if that will do the trick. Someone out there must have an idea, eh? Just as long as it doesn't cost more than a few bucks, I'm willing to try it out. The problem isn't that bad (doesn't seem to transmit through the amp, as far as I can tell), so I'm not gonna blow my life savings to fix it. Any kind of homemade fixes would be preferred.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This sounds a bit like a problem I experienced recently. At first I thought it was the truss rod rattling; but then realised that it was the fact that the strings were too low between the point of fretting the note and the nut. One possible solution is to raise the action but if you like the action (as I did) to raise the height ofthe strings in the nut. Either with a new nut or - the qualified bass tech I took it to had ground-up nut dust ready just for this problem. He mixed some up with permanent, fast-setting glue and put some in the slots in the nut which were too low. This cured the problem in a few minutes!

    Now I know you say that your problem is with the open strings rattling in the nut, but this does sound like the slots in the nut have been cut too deep or wide and the process I described above could help with this.

    Of course without seeing the bass no-one can be certain what the problem is and I still think the best recommendation is to take it to a qualified tech and get it setup at the same time.

    [Edited by Bruce Lindfield on 09-14-2000 at 04:32 AM]
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    This is one of the reasons why Fenders never were my favorite basses...the headstock design sometimes doesn't provide enough string pressure on the nut...especially on the E and A string. One solution would be to put an additional stringtree on it (did that on my Fenix J-Copy) - but it's probably not for those who want to keep their Fender in original condition...What might help is to wind more string windings on the tuner, so that the last winding is lower and closer to the headstock - that increases the pressure...the strings might get out of tune more easily, though...

    Sorry 4 my poor English - I'm just a German kid...
  4. I had the exact same problem on my MIM Jazz when I put on my last set of strings. I too thought it was the truss rod at first. I didn't have a lot of time, so I put a tiny piece of cellophane tape in the A-string groove of the nut to raise the string a bit. It fixed it.

    I'm eventually gonna fix it with some glue as described above.

  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Your English is much better than my German (I went to your Le Fay link:D) Not exactly geared to the US market, eh?

    I agree, it sounds like a low nut slot. In addition, I use the same winding technique you describe on all of my basses, whether the headstock tilts back or not. I've had no problems with basses going out of tune on any of them.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes I always do this as well, but it won't help the rattling if the nut slots are too deep or wide. One of the good points with Fenders, is that you would probably find it very easy to get a replacement nut at a very good price, expecially in the US. It would be more difficult for other less "standard" basses.
  7. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    Well, when I was taking lessons, my bass teacher actually took a hair scrunchie and tied it around the nut. It worked, and it made his bass look like it had a legwarmer on :)

  8. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    I know several of you mentioned that the nut groove may be too wide or too deep. I was checking out the nut earlier today, and I noticed that the A and E strings were sticking out above the nut some, while the D and G were flush with the nut. Is this normal?

    I like the idea of putting some tape into the groove, since I don't want to spend alot of money or take the time to go see a professional.
  9. Ska-Durd


    Sep 14, 2000
    I also had that problem with my Squire Jazz (hey it's basically a Fender) and I loosened my strings and jammed a piece of toothpick in the E and A string grooves and it's still kicking pretty good. Then again I don't know how desperate you are but I have no money so it works with me.

    By the way my strings on my bass still don't stick out over the nut so you may want to look into getting a new nut. Try to get something tough though like bone or ivory just so you don't have another problem for a while.
  10. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Get yourself a graphite nut blank and spend some happy hours filing and shaping.It takes ages but it's worth it!

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