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Fret buzz between 2nd -4th frets

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by sarlscharisma, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    Hi, I am getting fret buzz between 2nd - 4th frets, A-D strings on a 76 Fender P bass.

    Anyone any ideas how I can fix this. Do I use the truss rod?
  2. Widdershins


    Aug 28, 2007
    Yes. Generally, buzzing in the lower register only is an indication of insufficient relief.

    Check string height first though to make sure your saddles haven't dropped.

    You'll most likely only need to turn it a little bit counter-clockwise. Say, 1/8th?
  3. MadMan118


    Jan 10, 2008
    Vallejo, CA
    I agree but check the bridhe heigth before adjusting truss rod
  4. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Does the string height of all strings follow the curvature (radius) of the neck, or are they all pretty much flat when viewed from the side?

    If only the A and D strings are causing problems, it sounds like you need to move the saddles so they're the same distance from the neck as the E and the G are.

    If you like more of a flat set up, you'll have to put up with pretty high action on the E and G strings to achieve it.
  5. Almost always a too flat neck causes this.
  6. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    According to the fender setup guide when I capo the first fret and press E string down at last fret the gap from string to top of fret should be 0.15 using a gauge. it is greater that this which suggests there is too much relief.

    also the bridge is set quite high on the A and D compare to E and G

    anyone think i need to get a fret level?
  7. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    The neck is too str8. You have to add some relief to the neck.
  8. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    There is certainly a chance that a 30+ year old bass might need some fretwork. Also, the low register is going to get (usually) more playing time than the higher frets (in theory).

    Are the strings new? Sometimes old strings can flatten out where they hit the frets making them sit slightly lower (sometimes can cause buzz).

    Do you have a straightedge of some sort that might span 3 frets at a time? If so, these can be used to help identify trouble spots in regards to high or low frets. Use the straightedge to span groups of 3 frets in an around the buzzing area. If the edge "rocks", you might have identified a trouble spot.
  9. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    tried a straight edge across 3 frets but they seem pretty level.

    does anyone think it may be a neck twist problem?
  10. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    In general how's the action? Maybe you havn't added enough relief. Did you adjust the saddles to tweek the radius?
  11. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    I did a quarter turn on the truss rod which has help, but still some buzz. However the distance between string and fretboard is higher than the Fender specification.

    The level of the saddles also follows the curvature of the neck, and the saddle height of A and D string is set to its max.
  12. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    The Fender specs are just a suggestion. You have to get this puppy to a place that you like. Unless the action is feeling high "I" would give it another qtr turn . It certainly wont hurt to try it.
  13. dave79

    dave79 Rest well Fish

    Here's a story for you: A guitar player (I'm pretty sure it was Chet Atkins) had two identical guitars, same year and everything, and one of them had a buzz which no one could get out on certain frets. So, eventually they took it to somebody's lab and used slow motion photography and found that on one of the guitars the path of the string's vibration caused a more downward arc. Even though they were made from the same type of wood, the best theory they could come up with was that it was actually some property of the wood in the buzzing guitar (maybe a little denser or something).

    Hopefully, thats not your problem. Thicker gauge strings vibrate less, also flatwounds. New strings will, of course, make more noise then worn in, yet usable strings.
  14. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    I currently use E 105 gauge strings. Would a heavier gauge affect a 76 P bass necki?
  15. dave79

    dave79 Rest well Fish

    Here's a question: Do you have an early or late '76. Does it have the "TV" large letter logo or does it have a serial S6 on the headstock.

    Oh yeah, and higher gauge strings can wear out your truss rod and frets quicker, but over a very long period of time.
  16. sarlscharisma


    Nov 6, 2007
    Mine's a later 76 with S6 on headstock
  17. dave79

    dave79 Rest well Fish

    Oh....didn't see that one coming. Its the early-mid 70's necks that are notorious for their problems at both extremities of the fretboard, not usually the serial numbered ones.

    Since you've already raised the saddles and loosened the truss some and checked the strings, I'd suggest taking it to a luthier. Not one where you just drop it off, but someone who you can show the problem to and will tell you what their solution is and how much it costs. It seems to me that the truss being slacker should take it out, but I feel that its generally a bad idea to give truss suggestions to people I don't know, especially on vintage instruments. Check out fretnotguitar.com, great site, great luthier. She explains a lot about truss's and everything else.