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Fret buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassnyc1, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone,

    So, after playing for more than 27 years, I FINALLY started doing my own set ups. I bought a tool set from Cruz tools, I read online and watched every YouTube video on set ups numerous times and now I'm getting over the fear of messing up my instruments.

    So I check the truss rod as directed and I get lots of fret buzz but only on the fifth fret and above. What's that all about?

    Any help is very appreciated!
  2. BluPhenix


    May 19, 2003
    Plucking too hard with your right hand for the action?

    I somehow learned that when you adjust the truss rod you should not care about the fretbuzz. You adjust the rod to suit the bass (neck) to the strings you're using (tension of the strings). If your neck is well adjusted (the 1 credit card spacing between the strings and the neck at the 7-9 fret while holding the string flat on the neck on the fist and last fret), you should be able to remove the fret buzz above the 5th-7th fret by rising the action. But if you really like a low action, softer string plucking is all you can do.

    To be sure, I might be wrong about this whole setup thing as I have no "formal" traning (like you learning from others, mostly from the net), but that's how I do it, and for me it works.
  3. Thank you for your reply! I learned that if the fret buzz is above the 5th fret, tighten the truss rod. I did and now it's buzzing all over (!) so I don't know what to do. I play medium - hard with my right hand but experienced luthiers were able to get this bass not to buzz. I still don't know where to go from here. When I fret the first and last fret, the .015 feeler gauge at the 8th fret checks out fine. I'm stumped. The worst thing is that I just re strung this bass yesterday and I'm planning on using it tonight.
  4. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    A lot of this stuff is in your head.

    Check the neck for straightness with
    a strait edge.

    If it is totally flat, it may buzz. There
    should be a slight forward bow. This
    is called string relief. Strings vibrate
    in an arch, not a straight line.

    If you pluck hard while doing the setup,
    it will buzz even if set up right.

    It may not be noticeable when plugged
    in and playing.

    I swear, I think most the buzz complaints
    are just in folks heads.

    On the other hand, there's nothing like a
    good setup.

    Every bass is different and the credit card
    test don't mean dookie, in my opinion.

    It takes time to learn good setups.

    Good luck with yours,

  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Rule #1 of "setups":
    If you are happy with how it plays before a setup, it doesn't need a setup.

    If you are happy how it plays after a string change, it doesn't need a setup.

    A bass only needs a setup if its crazy outta whack. Once it's setup and plays well, a truss tweak here and a saddle tweak there will keep it in fighting trim.

    If you set it up properly and you still want action lower but it buzzes, you'll need fret work to attain that lower goal.
  6. Thanks for all the replies so far. I used the bass tonight and it was "okay" but not as good as before the string change. The gauge of the new strings are the same, just DR Hi Beams instead of Rotosounds (45-65-85-105 and the bass is a CIJ Fender Jazz)
  7. GK Growl

    GK Growl Banned

    Dec 31, 2011
    Ahh...DR Hi Beams instead of Rotosound Swing Bass. Hi Beams are much lower tension and that is probably contributing to the buzz.
  8. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    No matter what brand of bass you have, this may help you understand what's going on: Lakland setup, YouTube
  9. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA

    ^ That's a good place to start. Watch all four videos.

    In the situation you describe I'll give the rod a tiny crank then if that's not enough give the saddle a little twist, rinse, repeat.

    Always play through an amp! I made the mistake of making totally unnecessary adjustment by testing only acoustically. Sometimes the buzzing you're hearing is behind your fretting hand - between your left hand and the nut. That's not really an issue.

    Good luck!
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Given a proper neck, I find this to be a little on the high side (normal range: .012-.014). I'd aim for .012 as a starter then raise the string height a smidgen to compensate. Doesn't sound like much but small adjustments can produce dramatic results. Best part is that you can always reverse it if desired.

    Note: some basses will buzz in the hands of some bassists no matter what you do. Had one guy who played his like he was loading (?) a longbow.


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