Fret Buzz Blues (a tale of frustration, help needed)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by spanndrew, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    Hello All,

    After about 6 months of teaching myself how to play on a squier affinity P that I picked up in the pawn shop, I bought myself a brand new Fender MIM Jazz. At first this baby was the bass of my dreams, it was beautiful and had the tone that I had wanted. After about two months I figured it would be a good call to replace the factory strings, as they were losing a little bit of brightness that I like from rounds. So I picked up a pack of EB rounds and slapped em on. Immediately I got a lot of fret buzz(in the 2nd and 4th frets of the E and A strings), but I figured this could just be the new strings needing some time to settle in. After about a month I decided to ask the guy I was taking lessons from if this was normal or what, he said that it wasn't and that I should take it to a tech.

    So the next week I drove to the local guitar shop and got their tech to check her out. He worked on it for 5 days, each day saying that he couldn't eliminate the buzz. So he just suggested some new strings. I got him to put them on this time (I have changed strings on guitars and basses many times, but just figured maybe I had goofed up or something this time), a set of DR high-beams. They only made things worse. He took her for one more day and said that there could be possible fret work needed to fix the bass but put a heck of a lot of relief in the neck and raised the action quite a bit.

    Still being dissatisfied, I took the bass back to the guitar center where I had bought it and let one of their techs have a go with her. He took it for a week and said it was all fixed. Overjoyed, I drove to GC to pick it up, once I arrived I found the bass to have had borderline no work done to it, the buzz was arguably worse, and all he had done was lower the action. Frustrated, I asked that he take it back and I reiterated the issue and asked that he try again. So about two days later he calls again and says that the bass was all ready. I show up, and the buzz still remains. He tells me that "this is pretty normal for a bass, and that if I were to play any model they had on the wall I would find something similar". I asked if he could use the manufacturers warranty to send it off to Fender and maybe have them take a look, and his respond was simply "dude, there's nothing wrong".

    If anyone has some advice on what the issue could really be please comment and help a guy out, I'm sure it sounds like I'm being a bit picky with my bass, but I'm really not; the fret buzz is loud enough to be heard over a amp at medium volumes.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    I'll post some audio clips after I get home from class.
  3. MF1018


    Mar 16, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Find a new tech and get it set up right. That shouldn't take 5 days.
  4. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Did you put on a different gauge string? If so, a truss rod tweak would probably have been in order.

    Who does your teacher take his instrument to for setups & tweaks?

    It helps to know how to do setups. Even if you have no interest in doing them yourself... which is perfectly fine... knowing the mechanics of the process helps you understand what needs to be done and ways to get there.

    Without knowing what the current relief specs are, it's impossible for me to know if the action on your instrument is too low, or too high, or just right.

    Also, as it seems your troubles started when you first changed strings, it's entirely possible that for your style of play you're better served with a heavier gauge higher tension string. Perhaps your style of play is to dig in hard... which is one way to get fret buzz.

    Please understand that I'm not in any way "blaming" you for anything... just saying that without solid specs it's hard to give solid advice.
  5. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Chances are that the tension of the new ones is less, maybe because they are thinner, maybe because of the construction and material. Less tension could make the neck bow a little backward, causing buzz at the upper half. I'd adjust the trussrod to give it a little more relief. See: Lakland setup
    If this is not curing the problem you may want to check the fretwork. See: Stewmac Fretrocker
  6. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    If you develop a major fret buzz / rattle immediately after changing strings, you can bet the new strings are a different gauge / tension than the strings you removed, and that's ok if that's what you want, but you need to know that you have to make some adjustments.

    This is totally normal and to be expected. I've also found that some basses are easier to set up and play the best with a particular gauge strings. Some basses do best with light gauge strings and some do best with medium - heavy gage strings. It doesn't mean you can't use whatever gauge you want, but it may take a more precise setup with one gauge or the other to avoid fret buzz or poor playability.

    Everything has probably been changed on your bass, so it may take a new start on setup, but you might want to get strings of the same gauge it had originally if you liked them ok.
  7. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    I actually just got done setting up my bass. When you adjust things like truss rod and action let it sit for a day. I've noticed after adjusting the neck you get a little buzz when I dig in a bit but it sometimes goes away when the neck starts to sit in same thing with fret clank. It goes away once everything settles. That being said I don't know if anybody else has had this with adjustment but I have noticed it does go away
  8. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    Sorry to hear that. This is why I learned to do my own fretwork, and invested in my own tools. set ups should take no more than a day, and fret leveling for a factory MIM should be mandatory even before looking. Setups are completely meaningless without level frets. :atoz:
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    The point here is that OP states it didn't buzz before the string change.

    If true, then it can be setup to play cleanly with new strings if OP finds someone that isn't a bone head to do it

    A Fret job is never a bad idea, but if they were level enough for the first set of strings, then they're level enough for the new sets. They may not get optimum action but you should easily get decent action.

    The techs you took it to are bone heads. Learn how to do your own setups.
  10. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    If the buzz is still concentrated in one area on the neck the neck relief is still set wrong and you should never visit that tech again. If the buzz is now evenly distributed over the whole neck it's just a question of the action being set to low for your playing style. He should have considered that, but it's less of a crime imo.

    In any case: learn how to do this yourself
  11. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    Update: I took the bass to a third tech and a simple truss Rod adjustment fixed everything. Bass plays like new! He even showed me how to make
    Askustments myself and didn't charge me for his work. I suppose I learned that a good tech is hard to find. Also, if any of you live in the Atlanta area definitely check out the Atlanta
    Bass gallery. They definitely earned my business for future set ups and
    Most likely any bass related purchases in the future.

    Thanks for all the replies.
    Flad likes this.