Fret noise

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tash, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Anyone have any tips to eliminate rattle noises from your frets when playing fast? I can generally play pretty clean at lower speeds, but when I start moving into faster territory I get really bad fret noise, especially when playing scales at high tempos.
  2. danman


    May 18, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    When I do some runs, I play very close to the bridge. You can manhandle the string over by the bridge and it still won't buzz.

    Your mileage may vary.

  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Try dipping your EQ in the 1.5 kHz range. That sometimes works, it can clean you up "temporarily". In the long run, cleanliness in technique can only be developed through practice. And, you might find (especially in live situations), that the string noise isn't necessarily a bad thing. It adds emphasis in places where it might be helpful sometimes. :)
  4. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    Yeah, raise your action/adjust your neck if you're getting some buzzing, and of course eq can help.

    Some of us like a buzzy fretty bright tone, it adds character, but for most that don't nothing cutting the highs can't fix, as long as your bass is setup well.

  5. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I don't think I made it clear exactly what kind of noise. Its not buzz from the strings do to low action, its a percussive, sharp transient from the strings hitting the frets either because I'm not pulling them exactly paralell to the body with my fingers (technique, I'm working on this) or because I am fretting notes quickly enough that it almost sounds like I'm tapping (because I have to get my finger onto the fingerboard so fast).

    The later problem is more annoying to me as it makes me sound sloppy even when I'm playing very precisely.
  6. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    I think I know what you mean. That annoying trebly click when you play. You want a smoother, more subtle sound... right?

    I'd say too much treble and/or high mids in your EQ.

    I'd also say that maybe you have the Steve Harris technique where you basically hit the strings in a downward motion, resulting in a slapping sound.

    Maybe you're just too foreceful when fretting with the left hand and you end up tapping.

    Or maybe your strings are so high that when you play they end up hitting the frets from such height that they can't help but click.

    Or yet maybe your pickups are too close to the strings and you can lower them for a softer sound.

    Maybe one of these will find the problem. :hyper:
  7. Wings


    Feb 6, 2005
    Bellport, NY
    Hi Tash...

    I have the same problem at times with both hands. If it's my left hand on the neck, I find that depressing the sting with my finger directly over the fret, rather than towards the nut side of the fret cleans up the sound. Also, experiment with how much force it really takes to get a clean sound when depressing the string. Chances are that it's a lot less than you think.

    As for the right hand, I play with a very low action. Only about 1/16" clearance at the 12th fret. Playing slow to medium speeds I'm using more of a stroking of the strings rather than a plucking. But, as the speed picks up I end up using more of a downward press and release and that accelerates the string towards the frets and they collide giving off the click.

    One answer is practice because the more control I have, the less the problem, but I have also found that it is only noticable when I practice by myself. When playing with others I've never heard it even though I know it has to be there.

  8. I had that problem on a particular set of strings. I raised the saddle height some and it went away for the most part.
  9. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    Yeah know what you mean I get this sound with almost any bass I own as most have low action and I get a little rusty from time to time. Fluent technique does help. I think half the battle is realising that you have too much treble set on the amp. :)
  10. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    Yeah know what you mean I get this sound with almost any bass I own as most have low action and I get a little rusty from time to time. Fluent technique does help. I think half the battle is realising that you have too much treble set on the amp. :) Or rather as is mentioned above, around 1.5Khz/2Khz.
  11. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    I have the same issue. I'm approaching the problem as follows. Seems to be working.

    1) Make sure you pull the strings parallel to the body of the bass. Is you do, you can set your action low, and not buzz. Or in your case, clack. On my 6'er, I find that resting the heel of my right hand on the bass, puts my fingers at an optimal angle for pulling parallel.

    2) Play closer to the bridge.

    3) Play light, and turn up.
  12. Red701


    Aug 5, 2005
    the problem where your not hitting the string paralell can be fixed by facing the top of your forearm directly up rather than slightly to the side. sometimes i will play relaxed with my arm to the side because i like that sound. its almost like half-slapping.

    as for that tapping sound i usually try to pluck the string at the same time that i am pushing it on the fretboard so it kind of drowns out the clicking.
  13. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    I would also suggest that you work on your accuracy and interaction between your fretting and plucking hand. it happens to everyone, when we speed up the timing between our left and right hands starts to deteriorate, so we get inaccurate fretting. this causes notes to mute, buzz, sound chopped.