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Faulty frets

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Oysterman, Nov 24, 2000.


  1. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    This is odd... on my MIM J's D-string (and only on that string), frets 18 and 19 give the same note, namely the one that's supposed to ring from the 19th fret alone.
    I suppose the 18th fret is too low for the D, but how could this come up so quickly? I rarely play so high up the neck, so I don't think it could have been worn out in three years. Have I had this problem since I bought the bass, without noticing?

    I had an acoustic guitar acting this way, but it was consistent; this problem was addressed to all its strings. And it cost me 1/12 of what the bass cost me...

    Looks like I now have two reasons to leave this bass at home; the fret and the dead bridge pickup.

    Damn this cheap crap! :mad:
     
  2. I'm going to take issue with what you've said, not in a bad way just to point out some things that, physically, couldn't happen.

    If there is any difference in the spacing between the 18th and the 19th frets and the bridge, it is physically impossible that the notes played at those two frets could be exactly the same. Now, we know there is a difference in the spacing, so there must be another explanation for them to "sound" the same. The first thing I would do is to put a digital tuner on your bass and see exactly what the two notes are that are being heard. I would expect to see one of 2 different things - first, that the two notes are not at the correct interval. They could be closer to each other than they should be and that would make them harder to distinguish from one another. This would be due to the frets being cut in the wrong positions. Second, they ARE at the right interval and because of the relative narrow span of the interval are harder to hear. The only way to tell for sure is with the tuner.

    My last observation is in NO WAY intended to be an insult or to belittle your abilities. It is merely a possible reason for the confusion. Perhaps your ear isn't trained enough to hear these intervals at these frequencies or perhaps you have an injury or anomaly in your ears that makes the notes sound the same. This isn't a slam. Perhaps you should have your hearing checked over (a good idea for everyone) with an eye towards this range of frequencies. If that isn't the problem, perhaps some specific ear training would be of benefit. There are computer programs offered that can do this.

    Please don't take offense at my observations.

     
  3. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Oysterman:, Good advice from Hambone but there are a cople of things you might check. Make sure you don't have a worn fret at 18/D fret. Change the string. Change the string even though you know that can't be the problem.I've seen strings that looked perfect do REAL strange things. Try raising the bridge on the D just a little.

    Pkr2

     
  4. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Thanks guys.

    Hambone: Actually, my hearing is perfect. I had it tested this spring (enlistment tests), and came out without remarks. They tested me down to... I think 20 Hz at 10 dB, up to 15 kHz at 10 dB.
    The two frets really give the same note (could be that they are not a perfect A, but the intonation is just set at an "okayish" level).

    Pkr2: The 18th fret is in fact a bit worn, looks like it has a dent just under the D. Maybe saddle-raising would be a solution, but I am unable to try it, since I must be the only bass player in the world who doesn't own an allen wrench (of any size). If I had any D-string here, I could also try changing it... But what would be the definite solution to this - replacing the fret? Selling the bass?
     
  5. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Oysterman

    The "dent" may be a good clue. Try just loosening the D string and temporarily putting a paper shim (a piece of matchbook should work) between the string and the bridge saddle. If the problem goes away with the shim, then just raise the saddle.

    I know what you mean about those little allen wrenches. I'll bet I've lost a hundred of them myself. A good investment would be one of those assortments that fold into a handle like a pocket knife. Not very good for the T.R. but thet're ok for bridge adjustments.

    You may have to replace the fret or have the frets dressed if the fret is the problem. That's not a job that the average DIY'er would try to do. Replacing just one fret and dressing the rest isn't really a major repair job and shouldn't cost you an arm and leg.

    You mentioned that your bass has one dead pup. You might have that checked while it's in the shop too. More times than not, the problem is in failed wiring as opposed to the pup itself being bad. That's getting the cart ahead of the horse though.

    By the way, What you are describing sounds like the string has been bumped directly over the 18 fret causing a dent in the fret. The frets are relatively soft metal compared to the string but there may be a dent in the D string that corresponds to the dent in the fret.


    Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Pkr2
     
  6. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    I had a close look at the D-string, and what did I find? The string was not straight just above the 18th fret! There was a corresponding dent in the string. I borrowed a string from another bass, tried changing it and, presto! Back in business. :)

    Regarding the pickup, it is the wiring, not the pickup itself. And it's not completely dead, it just works from time to time, when it feels like it. I have a friend who easily can fix this, I'm just too lazy to bring the bass and visit him... oh well... :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your help, this thread may now rest in peace.
     
  7. I guess I can count myself lucky to never have hit my basses like that on the fretboard. I've never heard of this type of damage, or it's result and my observations were based on everything being fairly ordinary as far as condition and setup. I'm glad you found the problem. It is sort of interesting to speculate on why this damage did what it did. I'd like to put forth the idea that the wiggle in the string upset the harmonic pattern in some way that lead to the notes sounding the same. I sure don't understand much more about it though.

    Please accept my congratulations on your enlistment. It is you and those like you that understand the sacrifices needed to keep this country what it is - strong, free, and the greatest country in the world. My hat is off to you.
     
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Well, Hambone, how should I put this... I'm not American, I'm Swedish. In Sweden enlistment is compulsory, you join the army for an educational period of at least 10 months. This is to have the entire population ready for war, knowing what to do when your foe approaches. It's a nice thought. However, in these days, since the end of the cold war, the Russian is no longer a threat and the army is on diet. In fact, there is so little money available so only half of the enlisted are recruited for military service.

    I never joined the army. Although I had great eyesight and perfect hearing together with high scores on the intelligence tests, I was physically too weak and - most important of all - not motivated enough. I was placed in the "education reserve", which means that if the military thinks I'm needed, they may force me to join any day in the next six years. I doubt that will happen, though.

    I'm too polite to express my thoughts of the US, I can just say I don't share yours.
     
  9. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    ===============================
    "It is sort of interesting to speculate on why this damage did what it did. I'd like to put forth the idea that the wiggle in the string upset the harmonic pattern in some way that lead to the notes sounding the same. "

    Agreed, Hambone. I've seen bad strings do wierd things so many times that I always start any diagnosis with new strings. I think you are probably on the right track with the harmonic pattern thing. :)

    Pkr2
     
  10. Boy, could anyone have been so wrong twice in one day?

    Your opinions of the US aside, you do feel that way about your own country don't you? Patriotism isn't limited to the United States.

    And if you answer that question I'll have to move this thread down to Off Topic. ;)