DGCF Tuning issues

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by StingrayKid21, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. StingrayKid21

    StingrayKid21 Holding down the low-end since 1996.

    Oct 7, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Hey there folks!

    In an effort to become proficient in seting up my bass myself I have been working on my new (at least to me) EB/MM Sabre. I am learning to play in DGCF tuning so that I can switch between my four and five string basses with relative ease if necessary since my SR5 is in standard tuning.

    Here comes the problem:
    I retuned my bass from EADG to DGCF and had a lot of string buzzing and rattling. So I checked out some posts here at talkbass and used a book I have to make some setup adjustments. I loosened the truss rod about 3/4 to 1 full turn (about 1/2 a turn/day on two separate days.) This raised my action so I relowered the action to a level I like, but the buzz is now back. I raised the action and the buzz is still there. I don't want to raise it too much because it is already way to high for my playing tastes and I don't think it would be a good idea to loosen the truss rod anymore because it already has a slight visible curve from the side (and it will keep raising my action anyway).

    So I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for how to achieve a lower action and get rid of the buzz? Shimming the neck maybe? I must say learning to do my own setups is fun and interesting but kinda frustrating. Any ideas would be appreciated!!

    --Justin :bassist:
  2. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I have couple of questions and an observation.

    You note you have changes the truss rod to raise the height of the strings. Have you made height adjustments at the bridge as well. Does this bridge have height adjustments? Most do.

    Have you identified at which fret the buzz is occurring? This is important. Fret the string
    from the first fret upwards sequentially and note carefully when strings buzz.

    The observation I have is that detuning the instrument not only reduces the frequency in Hz that the string resonates at, it also reduces the overall string tension, allowing the string to move back and forth in a greater ARC, ie amplitude of the wave. So your are trying to raise the 'action', it seems, to counteract this, but are finding the 'action' ie distance from string to fretboard, too high.

    Well, the tighter the string tension, the lower the wave amplitude of the string.

    So you can live with the higher action, use a bass that has a longer string length, 35" for example, or forget the whole thing and use the bass as designed and intended. EADG.

    I don't see a fix available here other than raising the bridge height. I would keep the truss
    rod as close to straight neck as possible.

  3. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I think a rather important issues hasn't been mentioned yet-the nut. Stingray, did you get a new nut recut for the new tuning and lower gause strings? If not, then your strigs will be too high above the frets, and there will be extra rattle due to a loose fit in the nut. The sustain will also suffer significantly. As far as the tension issue, use the highest gauge, and highest tension of strings as possible. You won't be able to get awesome string tension because your losing the two thickest strings, but it will make a difference. Between the heavier strings and the new nut, you shoul be able to elminate a lot of buzz. I use high tunings as well-mmost of my playing is on a tenor, but its a 5 string so I still have a low string to ad tension. If you can't get a good buzz-free sound, I would recommend looking into a graphite reinforced, or graphite neck, 5 string tuned A-D-G-C-F. Hope that helps.
  4. I think this is good advice. My main bass is tuned DGCF, and I've found that starting from a dead-straight neck, I needed to loosen the truss rod about 3/8 to 1/2 a turn to get to where I needed to be, as far as not getting any buzz or rattle on the lower frets when I dig in. I've got the bridge saddles set a little higher to compensate. Just keep experimenting until you find the set-up that works for you. It's in there somewhere! :)
  5. SimpleIsBest


    Apr 24, 2009
    You should be fine if you just use higher tension strings. Take your current gauge and add .10 to .15 per string. For example if you used a .40 for the G string, try a .55 for the F tuning. That should take care of everything, and you won't need a new nut, not to mention a new bass.
  6. +1. Definitely the easiest method. And it saves a lot of frustration. Going through every possible truss rod setting and bridge setting to eliminate the buzz is a pain. Of course, if using higher gauge strings don't help, then you'll have to try that.