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Fret Buzz : acceptable or not?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Guild B301, Jun 1, 2020.


  1. I am starting this post, out of a question on another thread. How many of you play a bass with fret buzz? How many of you cannot stand fret buzz? I hate fret buzz on my basses. I have friends who have it & just ignore it. It used to be expected that it should be eliminated, no matter what, because it was a defect. In music shops, it seems there are more new basses that have buzz, than there used to be. Is that ok with some of you? What’s your opinion?
     
  2. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Acceptable. Like a gravelly whiskey voice on a beautiful woman. Wabi-sabi.
     
  3. Samatza

    Samatza

    Apr 15, 2019
    Australia
    A little fret buzz is inevitable depending on how you play. Finding your ideal action is a personal thing, one persons comfortable setup can be unplayable to others.

    I rarely use a pick but when I do I get some buzz, switch to fingerstyle and no buzz at all.
    A little fret buzz is tolerable but too much doesn’t work for me, Mark King on the other hand has made it part of his sound, then again his notes don’t sustain so it works for him.
     
    Ghastly, Chickenwheels, Ikkir and 4 others like this.
  4. It is a personal choice. There are players that have a bit of OCD. Everything must be perfect! However, there are players that use the fret buzz for a tonal variation. Personally, I don't mind a bit of buzz in some situations. Before I am nuked for addressing six string guitars in the bass environment, chill out.

    Search Eric Clapton regarding his preferences regarding fret buzz. His experiences can also apply to the bass instrument. Just saying.
     
  5. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    My setup preferences are similar to Geddy Lee's. No buzz when playing with light or medium right hand force, controlled even buzz on all frets when playing with hard right hand force so it can be used as an effect.
     
    DrMole, Viggo51, bolophonic and 15 others like this.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    R4001-2.JPG I think it just depends on the bass, and the kind of music that you play. For a lot of Rickenbacker owners, a little fret buzz is de rigueur. And, if you set one up the way the factory suggests, unless you crank the string height way up? You will get some. My '73 4001 certainly does have some buzz, but... for what I play on it? It's part of the sound I want. On my other basses? Fret buzz is not what I want - usually; so they're set up accordingly. I can get some buzz if I decide I want it, but... I have to work for it a little...:cool:
     
  7. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    Sometimes I catch myself playing unplugged electric bass too hard which causes a little buzz.

    And then I start overemphasizing the fret that is buzzing.

    And then I realize that I never play that hard or that way in a real situation.
     
    Zimmy Jazz and Loring like this.
  8. Hiya,

    I like to have my instruments setup so if I play light-med fingering or a thinner pick, I get no buzz however, if I play harder/heaver, I get that growl to the notes. Neck relief is the key here, too little you get buzz, too much and your action is high so you're working too hard.
     
    dkelley, lz4005, Loring and 1 other person like this.
  9. I don't like it at all but don't like high action either and like necks almost flat so it's kind of a trade off for me but I find with flats you can set the action a lot lower before you do get fret buzz.
     
  10. i’ve been playing with an occasional buzz since the 70’s
     
  11. bigswifty1

    bigswifty1

    Dec 8, 2011
    Personally I hate fretbuzz in my own playing. But when I listen to Yes and hear Chris buzzing and clanking all over the place I think it sounds great.
     
  12. Iristone

    Iristone

    Jul 8, 2017
    Beijing
    I want all my frets to buzz evenly. - John Entwistle
     
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I rarely hear it once the music starts, and even when I do, it sounds like overdrive to me, so when I do hear it, I love it. I don't go out of my way to get it, but in a choice between very low action with a little fret buzz vs higher action and no fret buzz, I'll take the low action with a little fret buzz every time.
     
  14. HalfManHalfBass

    HalfManHalfBass

    Jan 21, 2003
    All basses have fret buzz (except fretless basses!) - it's just the physics of a vibrating string.

    If you can play with an action of around 6mm it will reduce though...

    Most buzzes don't make it to the pickup and in a mix it's even harder to detect.

    I think like everything in life: reaching a happy compromise usually gives best results.
     
    ferarayabass likes this.
  15. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    I might raise the strings if a low action chokes the note, but I'll usually ignore fret noise that stays in the background. IMO clank and buzz can be a part of your sound.
     
    Loring likes this.
  16. MotorCityMinion

    MotorCityMinion

    Jun 15, 2017
    I avoid it as much as possible.
     
    trothwell likes this.
  17. 2playbass

    2playbass Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2013
    I set up my basses so there is no buzz in "normal" playing (light touch finger style), but can induce buzz and clank if I play more aggressively. I prefer not to have buzzing, but like to be able to use it selectively for effect.
     
    chris_b and Loring like this.
  18. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I like a clean, clear note when I play light, and a little buzz when I dig is fine. Fender setup specs is a comfortable amount of action and fret buzz for me (+/- a hair if needed.)

    These past few months, my frets have been buzzing like crazy though, without any other instruments in the room.... :woot:
     
  19. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    Fret Buzz : acceptable or not?
    No.
    Not if it's not deliberate.
     
  20. drumvsbass

    drumvsbass

    Aug 20, 2011
    Winnipeg
    If I pull the E string at the 12th fret with my left hand and don't hear every fret rattling all the way up, the action is too high. A moment of a really sharp low E and then zing all the way up. I never understood the no fret buzz types other than they like to arm wrestle with their bass. Had a guy at a music store tell me he loved growl on his bass but hated fret buzz, midrange, and drive of any kind...:bored:
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 19, 2021

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