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Fret Rattle Issue [Serious dilemma]

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Z_Bass, May 31, 2003.

  1. Z_Bass


    May 9, 2003
    Recently my bass has been virtually unplayable. When I was playing down on the first three frets it would rattle so badly that it sounded as if I were playing a ghost note. So I had my bass checked: no problem with the neck, nor the nut or bridge. The guy who examined says I should change the strings because they are too loose; he seems right. When I pop the G string i can literally take it an inch away from the bass, very floppy. So this is what puzzles me...

    The facts: heavy gauges are generally more taut and have higher tension, whereas light gauges are more flexible. On the other hand, heavy gauges are thicker and light gauges are thinner (duh).

    The problem: I like to set my action as low as I can without buzz, which calls for high tension strings, right? I would naturally go for the heavy gauges... but then again if the strings are thicker they'd be closer to the fret board, and consequently bringing higher chances of fret buzz (especially the E string where 90 and 105 are a huge difference).

    I really don't know a thing about strings, so I'm asking everyone for some advice. Which is the way to get as close to the fretboard without any buzz? Otherwise, what strings do you think are the best reducing fret buzz?

  2. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    sorry i didn't see this earlier.

    to setup it goes
  3. lost_in_space


    Nov 16, 2001
    i'm not an expert but i might perhaps give you some clues.

    does the buzz occur only in the first three frets? if so, there may be a problem with these frets. Some fret dressing might be required.

    It may be that the truss rod needs some adjustment as well. The neck may need a bit of relief.

    Check also string height at the nut. Too low a nut may cause buzzing.

    Contrary to what you may think, heavy gauge strings need higher action.

    Flatwounds cause the least amount of buzz.

    a little buzz is normal and should not be objectionable.

    lastly, maybe it's your right hand technique. if you pluck the string sideways, you'll be less likely to cause buzz.
  4. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Just a few thoughts:

    Generally, buzzing on the first few frets can indicate a neck that's too flat and needs the truss rod loosened a bit.

    The guy who tells you that the strings are too "loose" must not know how to do a setup. If that was the case, no one would be using slinky light strings.

    I always recommend that players learn to do their own setups; it's suprisingly easy, saves money, and is actually fun in a rewarding sort of way... and as long as you don't make drastic truss rod adjustments (never more than 1/4 turn at a time) you probably can't do any irreversable harm.

    Gary Willis has a great tutorial on his site.

  5. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    It could have a little bit of a back bow in it also.

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