Fender P Bass Fret Buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gandhirrea, May 16, 2005.

  1. Just ordered my 1st bass off of musiciansfriend: Fender P Bass (mexican). After playing a bit (NOTE: i have no previous knowledge of technique or bass lessons, this could be a contributing factor) I have noticed a few frets buzz signifigantly. The buzzing begins lightly at fret 9 on the G string and very gradually, it increases up the frets until fret 15. At this point the buzzing has become quite loud and continues to get louder on the 16th fret. The noise of the note is literally drown out (and cut off short) by the noise of the buzz at the 17th fret (this is the worst of all, i almost puked twice when i heard it and my ears began bleeding profusely). Then the buzzing goes down on the 18th fret, and there is no buzzing what-so-ever on the 19th and 20th frets. Anyone have an explination as to why and how to fix? Cheap bass? Warped neck? Fret problem? Technique problem?
  2. Atomic-Hedgehog


    Dec 9, 2004
    i'd go with "Crappy Bass" as my first guess.... LOL

    but anyway, it looks to me like you need to take it to a music shop and ask to get it "set up" i'm sure they'll know just what to do with it... :)
  3. gilbert46


    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    mexies arnt crappy, im sure it just needs a neck and bridge adjustment. search on how to adjust the truss rod, and raise the saddles alittle.
  4. I adjusted the height of the G string up slightly. This helped a bit, but there was still a buzz. I tightened the truss rod, and now I'm letting the guitar "rest" for a little while. Gonna try it out again in a bit. Thanks for the suggestions.
  5. Similar thing to my p. Try adjusting the saddles a little bit. If that doesn't do it, it just most likely needs a truss rod adjustment. Since you're new, your best bet is to let the guys at your local music store do it. You'll be able to tell a big difference after the truss has been adjusted and its been set up properly.
  6. After trying it out again, I've notice massive improvement. There is still a slight buzz around 15-16-17, but I think one more extremely small adjustment to the truss rod should be enough (I don't want to adjust the saddle any higher, it's as high as I care to make it). Also, some slight buzzing on other strings that I didn't notice as much (because of the overwhelming buzz on the G) is now gone. Thanks again for the suggestions.
  7. USMC0311


    Sep 18, 2012
    I'm a noob to bass guitars and this forum and I've been trying to set the saddles properly and have been using trial and error until the buzzing stops. I'll lend what I have been doing, the side effects, and will ask for suggestions.

    I have a MIJ Fender 70's Classic reissue and the truss adjustment is where the neck meets the body, not on the headstock. When I bought the bass, there was NO tension or resistance when I would turn counter-clockwise then, and even now, if I go counter-clockwise more than a half turn, the rod loses all resistance and it feels like a loose or "stripped" screw. When I go clockwise, I get mild tension with a quarter turn, and if I have the strings off and turn it another quarter turn clockwise, there is a LOT of resistance. The best comparison I can make is from my drumming standpoint, when you tighten a drum head, at first, there is no resistance, but the more you turn clockwise the tuning lugs on a drum head, it goes from no resistance to resistant until I have my tone.

    Now, when I look down the neck from the butt end of my bass (not the headstock as my truss adjustment is not on the headstock) I notice that overall, it isn't tilting in either direction and when I look at the string shadows on the fretboard, they have slight concave (dipping) starting about the 12th or 13th fret and the "dipping" stops at the 3rd or 5th fret (I am using my eyes as a reference.)

    I've been screwing with the saddles, as the action on my top two strings (D,G) was so damned high that it took effort to press the higher frets and high-fret finger-picking ala Les Claypool was just impossible for me. It was also very cumbersome to move from the 3rd fret to the 10th or even 15th fret in a fast manner.

    I also slightly lowered the action on my bottom strings (E,A, the big ones, I always get top and bottom mixed up so please bear with me.) on the saddle using a small Torx driver (for some reason, allen wrenches wont fit but the Torx driver does.)

    I also moved the saddles backwards...and I am a total idiot as I wasn't evenly toned to begin with and after adjusting the pickups, saddles and the neck and raising 2 strings, I am not getting any buzz when I press my ear to my neck and the only buzz that can be heard is at the bridge/saddle and it's very light unplugged, and you can't hear any buzzing plugged in.


    Well, the good news is that I taught myself how to mostly set my bass to my preference and it's fatter and meaner than it's ever sounded.

    Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...The only question I really have (keeping in mind that my bridge is on tight) now is "How can I eliminate that mild buzzing?"

    My most important question right now is "Does it even matter if there is slight ping/buzz (the buzz doesn't sustain) on my bridge if I can't hear any buzzing through my amp?"

    I'd appreciate an answer on the last one. I am not at all "by the book" on pickup heights unless the strings are almost touching them or I am getting weird noises and I have my bass side set pretty high (two pennies) and the treble is about two nickels (going on the old school "rules")

    Everything else is fine. I just need to know if non-sustained buzz on the saddle that is not audible when I am plugged in actually matters or not?

    Thanks for all of the other info you guys and gals have given me before I registered.

    I'm not familiar with how this board works, so when I figure out how to post a picture, I'll post one up of the bass that took me 6 months and a dose of "Kramer's Luck" to find.

    It's a white (I swapped pickguards) on white MIJ Fender 70's Classic Reissue (Mfgr. Date-2011) with a maple neck and an alder body (I believe, I am still learning the nuances of the actual instrument.) I changed out the stock pickups and replaced them with some SD , SPB-3 Quarter Pound Pickups (actually got it my first attempt too) and an Ampeg BA-115 with the style set to 3, treble set to 4, mid set to 6, and bass never less than 7.5...

    I only mention all of it because I was so close to trading that P for an older Aerodyne. Aerodyne couldn't do what I wanted it to do, so I just bought and installed the pickups.

    My god...It sounds like a Gibson Thunderbird mated with a Musicman. Mine after pickups, amp settings and setting the actual bass can make most of the sounds that a Thunderbird and a Musicman can make, but not all of them. Those pickups saved me from making a very bad choice especially given the style I like.

    Sorry for the rant- new here and after 22 years of drumming, and ten months of mostly teaching myself the bass (I can play maybe 4-5 hours worth of songs off the top of my head now, but I'm not anything worth talkin' about) I am finding myself so immersed and learning the bass has been a very positive emotional experience for me as I love music and never thought I was capable of learning the bass which was something I wanted to do after I became good at the drums. It's like learning a new language and I love the bass guitar because it is so much more versatile than people who aren't musically inclined could ever know. I know this because I used to play along with either the bass or it was the other way around. I tend to drum "around" the guitar unless important time changes are in effect. Bass to me is the true linch-pin in a 4 piece band.

    And I cannot lie, when I learned my first song on the bass, it felt so empowering and enlightening because I already knew how to play it on the drums. Maybe that's why it's coming way easier than I thought.

    Whatever- thanks for all of the tips over the last 8 months.
  8. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    ^ This. I've used this as my start point for setting up the spare Squier P Bass from church and my own newly acquired P Bass Special. Fender's tele and strat setup guides are equally good.

    I say that I use it as my start point as I find the recommended action just a little low for my playing style so I raise the saddles just enough to eliminate the fret buzz, then carry on with the pickup height and intonation as the guide suggests.

    As far as the saddle buzz goes, have you set the witness points? This is someting the guide doesn't address but is really simple. Just press each string down hard with your thumb just after the nut (on the fretboard side) and just after the bridge saddle (on the pickup side). I found that when I did get 'bridge buzz' after tweaking the intonation, a good press down sorted it out (although you'll need to retune as it pushes the string slightly flat).
  9. abemo


    Feb 27, 2012
    Arvada, co
    The bridge buzz is pretty typical with fender style bridges IMO. If you look at the stickies (or youtube), there are some in depth setup guides. Sounds like you're on the right track.
  10. If you're turning the TR counter clockwise; you are loosening the truss rod, and wouldn't feel any resistance. You're also making your action higher if you're loosening the rod. If your action is high, tighten the rod, and follow the setup guide at Fender's site. I just bought a new 62 avri P bass, and I had to give the TR a good quarter turn to bring the action down. Of course the action is set mostly at the saddles for string height, but first the relief must be set correctly, or you can play with the saddles till the cows come home, and still not get the low action minus the buzz that you are looking for.