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Finally found solution to my fret clank

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by maxpayneatlarge, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    I know a lot of you probably know this, I'm posting for folks who may have the same issue, but never could really figure out why.

    I believe I finally found what was causing my fret 'clank'. By clanking, I BELIEVE the sound is from the string I strike hitting the very last (closest to bridge) fret on the fretboard. This only really happens when playing 8th note rhythms at, say 80 bpm or faster.

    First thing I thought it was: my bass setup. I had had it professionally setup, and that never solved my problem. To get rid of the clanking, I'd always end up raising the action more. I also ruled out that it was the bass itself, with some defect, because this happens on pretty much every bass I play.

    I've experimented on enough basses now, and read enough setup guides and watched enough walkthroughs to where I'm pretty confident in my own ability to setup my basses, so I don't have it done professionally as much anymore.

    What I've found is that it's my plucking hand technique. It seems, when I start playing those 8th notes faster, my plucking goes from plucking 'across' the string (upward toward my head) to moving downward onto the string (pushing the string downward toward the guitar).

    I'm retraining myself now. So far, I've been able to lower my action from 4mm(on the B string) down to 3mm, and the other 4 strings from 3.5mm down to more like 2.7mm. I'd like to be able to bring it down further, but I will have to get my plucking reprogrammed more before I lower it further.

    Anyways, again, I'm just posting this because I think it may be useful information if they're having the same issues and have ruled out that it's the bass or the setup.

  2. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Dude I get my action so low there's about 1.5mm of space with a gauge of 30-85. no buzz no noise just bass. Im a really light player. Good stuff though. I like to play all over the body. Clank and clean tight tone.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Dude.. your action is insanely high. My B string sits just above the 2mm mark, my C string sits at 1.7ish. Do you find the intonation goes off from having to push the strings so far?

    I would think your issue might be more technique related, either the angle at which you pluck the strings or your just plain old diggin' in too much. When it comes to volume it is best to play light and let the amp do the work, that is what it is there for.
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Dude? Why does everyone say Dude?

    Thanks Chris. Good post.
  5. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    Thanks for the comments on what you have your action set to. It gives me a gauge on what should be a good height. If I set mine down that low though, I will have large clank.

    I don't doubt that I'm plucking too hard, although, I think I've lightened up some...this probably needs more work.

    The angle that I pluck I believe has been my biggest problem, I'm working that out now.

    Thanks for the input guys. I do like seeing what other people have their string height set to.

    With that low of action, what type of music are you playing? Rock? Just curious because I find it's mostly a problem when playing 8th notes.

  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Chris have you read through Jerzy Drozd's setup guide? I highly recommend it to all my students, he clearly explains, in-depth, the entire setup procedure and the science behind it.

    I play all styles but my main gig is a progressive rock trio, as as person that does double tap a low action is a necessity.

    A low action and a light touch allow you to maximize you speed, and make your playing easier. Remember, everything is about economy of motion. The further those strings are from the board means you have to put more effort into fretting them, that is not what we want as an end goal.

    I highly recommend a lesson with a good teacher, so they can watch your technique in action and give you an unbiased critique on your playing style.

    I played like you do, stupid high action and diggin' like a gravedigger, when I was younger, a good bass player steered me down the path I am at now and it improved my playing immensely. I know I am getting redundant but I feel this is extremely important and most players overlook it, the bass is an electric instrument, so the amp should do all the volume work, the hands should just be playing. Even I find myself diggin' in when jamming, you get caught up in the moment.

    One big thing to remember, most players clank, especially in rock, the mix just covers it up most times. Listen to the Clairvoyant by Maiden or the breakdown in Rush's Freewill, now are you going to tell me Steve Harris or Geddy Lee are slouches? Didn't think so ;)

    I hope that helps!
  7. 20YearNoob


    Mar 29, 2012
    You can also use a ramp under your fingers. This keeps you from digging in at all, pretty much. They can be temporarily attached with double tape for a test drive.
  8. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    Thanks Diabolus, I'll read through that setup guide.

    I've had some lessons, but that particular teacher didn't seem to caught up on hand positioning or how I was playing. Maybe he wasn't a good teacher :)

  9. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser


    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    Carry on.
  10. Just recorded this, playing 8th notes (sort of) both with and without clank, just changing the angle with which I hit the strings:

  11. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012

    I have noticed that it is easier to control the clanking if I have my hand straight up and down (90 degree angle to the strings) as opposed to a not quite 45 degreen angle (get more clank that way)

    Is this what you're referring to? the 90 degree angle isn't as comfortable as the 45 though, as far as wrist straightness.

  12. I don't really pay attention to what angle I use, I just adjust until the clank goes away. My wrist actually winds up pretty straight when I do it right.

    Edit: Looking at it, my hand angle doesn't really change at all, just the angle at which my fingers contact the strings.