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Fret Buzz Factors

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Scotius2001, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Hey all,
    Here's something that always perplexed me. Why are some basses more prone to fret buzzing when set up essentially equally (same amount of relief, same action height etc.)? What other factors are the biggest contributors to this? Bridge type? Wood combinations? String type?

    I've played a handful of basses in my time (that were always over my head price-wise) with very comfy setups that I could dig in on and not cause appreciable buzzing especially when playing with a pick. I currently play a Lakland 55-02 that I'm only able to set up with medium action to minimize buzzing noticably (particularly for recording). Any lower and its way too much fret noise. Are some basses just not capable of having low action without unwanted fret contact? What basses are you playing out there that DON'T suffer from this? Just curious...
  2. adam on bass

    adam on bass

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: GK, EMG and D'Addario
    None of my Spectors have this problem. I beat the hell out o' them and they come back for more. The action is low, low and I never have a problem.

    BTW, I use D'addario XL170's on all my basses tuned to standard E. I tune two of the basses to BEAD and those don't buzz either.

  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Laws of physics....sometimes it seems ya' can't win, eh?

    If any frets are high, even the slightest bit, that's a big problem, right there. Interestingly, Lakland just planed and refretted my Spector. I was unable to get the action 1/2 as low as it is now...

    String tension has something to do with it, too. Looser strings may "flop around" more than tighter tension strings...

    Straightness of the neck is another factor. Ideally, you should have a slight relief in the lowest position.
  4. MohawkHarry


    May 21, 2000
    I know what you mean! I have two Spectors that both have super low action, both have dead spots and nasting buzz below the 14 fret, it dont bother me until I try to play the intro to Sweet child o mine. LOL! sad thing is the basses are setup perfect for slapping and nothing else. Wish I could have the best of both worlds because I play alot with my fingers Steve Harris style and to get clean notes the action would have to be lifted too high.
  5. If the action is near identical, then I'd look at the strings.
    I've noticed that some seem to vibrate in different directions from string style to string style. Think it has more to do with the way it rolls off the fingers than the actual design(?).
    Another is definitely string tension. Lower tension seem to gyrate more. And gauge doesn't always indicate tension.
    Believe it or not, but the string spacing can effect the set up too in regards to buzz. Sometime a wider spacing gets one to playing deeper and this will increase the oscillation of the string as well as change the direction of the vibrations.
    That's why every time I change strings I automatically go through the setup.
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