Everyone gets fret buzz on my basses except me?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Alex Huddleston, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. Hi all, I've been playing bass for roughly 10 years now and learned to setup my instruments to my liking early on in my musical career. I usually have no problem getting my action nice and low without getting any fret buzz and my right hand technique is anywhere from soft to aggressive depending on the dynamic of the song (I play loud rock n' roll, metal and punk). One thing that has been bothering me is that any time anyone else picks up one of my basses and noodles around on it, they almost always get fret buzz, clanking, etc. Most of the time it's guitarists fooling around on it but even fellow bass players have picked it up and can't seem to figure out how to play them. Not trying to sound full of myself here but does everyone except me just have piss-poor technique? I tend to dig in quite a bit to get some snap and attack and I still never have problems with buzzing unless I'm REALLY digging in, and even then it's a desired effect. I've got a Rickenbacker 4003, P bass and Peavey T-40 both with maple fretboards if that makes any sort of difference. I know this isn't something I should really be concerned about considering they're my instruments and I have no issue playing them myself but I always found it a bit odd.
  2. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Just goes to show, different strokes for different folks. What works for you doesn't always work so easily for others, and vice versa. Nothing wrong with that. Your digging in is probably still has enough restraint in the right spots to not buzz, because you're so used to the little nuances of your setup. Like how some people can drive 55 down a snowy road and be fine, someone not so familiar may ditch it at 35.
    el_Bajo_Verde and jmattbassplaya like this.
  3. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Similar when a few diff peeps picked up mine a few times (and a few times not... some play it really gingerly as if they don't want to break it.)

    I figure some are used to a much higher action and a different technique in using their instrument as well, that may not translate well from bass to bass
  4. Dale Griffith

    Dale Griffith

    Jun 6, 2016
    Failed there.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Set-up an MIM Fender Jazz for an acquaintance. Man, I had that thing dialed in perfectly: med low action, intonation spot-on, no fret buzz...in my hands, anyway. Handed it back to the owner and it was "thonk, klank, buzzzzz, braaaaap". This guy played bass like he was fingering a long bow. Just goes to show ya.

    hotbass57 and tlc1976 like this.
  6. tubedude


    Jan 19, 2015
    You don't detune any, or use very low tension strings do ya?
  7. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Yes exactly. Another reason it's a good idea to understand the instrument and be able to make your own adjustments.
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  8. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I guess I'm the polar opposite...

    I use slightly heavier strings and set the action a little higher than usual. A lot of folks play my basses and say "gee, how do you play this thing??"

    Is that piss-poor?
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Everyone hears different things when other people play an instrument than when they're playing it themselves.

    If you really want to get all sciency about it, record yourself and another real bass player on the same instrument and see if you can tell the difference blindfolded.
  10. Nope 105-45 E standard, sometimes a half-step down.

    That was supposed to be more or less sarcastic, I forget I'm on the internet sometimes and that doesn't transmit well.
  11. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Dear Alex,

    I too, got a lot of buzz while playing your bass the other night while you were sleeping. I take exception to you insinuating others have bad technique. I think that should explain your disappointing showing under the tree this year.

    Groove Doctor likes this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    go with it! :thumbsup:
  13. If it's a guitar player that's trying out your bass....emphatically yes.
  14. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    You're not alone. Anyone who tries to play my basses gets all kinds of buzzing, clicks and clacks. You must have a lighter touch like I do. Guitarists especially can't stand to play my basses. The feeling is mutual, though. Their guitars aren't usually setup to my tastes either.
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Suspended

    Feb 16, 2011
    Now I'm confused. My long time go to tech passed so I learned to set up my own basses a few years back and so far anyone who tried one and had an opinion said they played really good and wanted to know where I got it set up. :D
  16. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    when I take my bass in to have anything done I tell them to make the action as low as they can. then make it just a bit lower to where you don't think it's playable. and every time they are amazed when I show up tell them it's still too high. I've always followed the Gary Willis high volume light touch technique. you can literally play as light and effortlessly as you want with this system.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  17. I would suggest that you have just learned how to adjust to the specific idiosyncrasies of your particular setup. If you play any instrument for awhile, you develop a feel for how hard you can push it.
    I often practice without being plugged into an amp, so I pull hard enough to easily hear what I'm playing.

    Once in awhile I show up at a local jam session to play bass for a friend of mine; I don't bother bringing my own bass, the house bassist doesn't mind me using his. However, I have to turn the volume way down because I work the strings much harder than he does, and he always comments on how wonderful my tone sounds; same bass, different fingers. I guess the moral of the story is, if you just lightly fondle the strings, you can get away with a low setup. Alternatively, if you're pulling sound out of those strings, you'll need a much higher setup. Anyone used to working the strings will sound buzzy and clanky on a low action instrument.

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