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Fretbuzz problem

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassnewb, Jul 9, 2003.


  1. bassnewb

    bassnewb

    Apr 15, 2003
    Hi,

    I'm not sure whether this is a technique problem or a setup/guitar problem. I always try to depress the strings as close to the fret as possible. I heard this is better in case I ever play fretless bass or something. But the problem is, the closer I put my fingers (to press) on the frets, the more the fretbuzz is. I'm quite sure the fret immediately behind the fret I'm noting is the one making the buzz. I'm sure because when I press between the frets instead of almost on the fret, there's no fretbuzz. Is there something wrong with my technique, or is this a setup problem?

    Appreciate any feedback...
     
  2. MiG[29]

    MiG[29]

    Jun 16, 2003
    I find putting your finger just behind the fret is best, leaving a small (few millimetres) gap so ensure no fret buzz.

    You shouldnt play directly on the frets though.
     
  3. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Ideally you need someone to show you. While you get round to organising a lesson though, experiement to see what's going on. Move your fingers forward and back and see what range gives you the cleanest sound. Also, see how lightly you can press the string without it buzzing.

    You won't always be able to get every finger into an optimal position as you're playing riffs and runs but by working on building your control, you'll find it easier to play cleanly in 'real life' situations.

    Wulf
     
  4. bassnewb

    bassnewb

    Apr 15, 2003
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm finding that there is only no buzz if I press in the center of the 2 frets, for when I press down. When I pluck I can have it closer to the fret. Kinda weird, cuz I've always heard that it's easier to avoid fretbuzz if you press closer to the frets.
     
  5. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    You heard wrong.Play your instrument where it does'nt buzz.Period.If it buzzes everywhere,and you can't fix it,get someone who can at a music store.
     
  6. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    Actually, I think playing closer to the frets is a more common approach. A very experienced teacher told me to play as close as I could to the frets without going over them. And yes, it does help me when I play fretless
     
  7. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Common to whom?Everybody,and every bass?With time and patience our fingers learn to go where they need to on their own."Touch"begins to take shape,and a good tone results.
    If you're getting a "buzz"because you've been told to play close to the frets,should you continue,even if the sound is undesirable?Find the spot on your instrument where the tone is most efficient,and work from there.
    I play a lined fretless,and the lines don't always "work".Use your ears and play "your" instrument where "it" works.Just my 2 cents:)
     
  8. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    First of all, if a bass buzzes when you push down near the frets, it sounds like it need a proper setup.
    Second of all, I'm not saying that it's not possible to accomplish good things with less than perfect technique, but every educated or experienced bass player I have have ever seen or talked to in my life suggest putting the finger right behind the fret, not in the middle. The main reason for this is because if you push down between the strings with enough pressure to fret the note properly, you also are proably pushing down the string hard enough to bend it down in the middle, therefore causing the string to go sharp. It's just the better way to learn, and that not just my opinion. I bet you can't find 5 people on this entire board to agree with you.

    I've laid out my arguement and the reasons for it, can you come up with any other resoning other that "because I say so" as a reason why you think you are right?
     
  9. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I did'nt see any"I say so"in my post.The guy was having problem's playing close to the fret most assuredly because he has'nt developed the touch required yet to do it.So,I advised him to take the pressure off himself to play the"right" way and use for himself,and his bass something that will work,for him,right now.
    I just picked up my bass and played,stopping every few bars or so on random notes.Sometimes I'm close to the fret sometimes not.With the proper TOUCH regardless of where I am in relation to the fret I am NEVER "sharp".
    I have an education,I'm experienced and I teach.
    Neverminding his instruments set-up,I'll bet the problem is in his inexperienced touch,which I said before,will correct it self in time with the practice of sound MUSICAL concepts.The fingers will find their own way to the fret.
    For now I suggest he just finds the best way for HIM to get those musical concepts sounding from his instrument in a musical fashion.
    I stand by that,and will debate it with anyone.
     
  10. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    So your style of teaching is let students learnto do things the wrong way, and then let the finger find their own way the proper position? Wow, you must be a heck of a teacher.

    You also must have very good ears to claim you are NEVER sharp. especially if you play with the fingers half way between the frets. Keep in mind the original poster is a beginner, and we shouldn't be doing anything to advise him that is going to hurt him down the road, even if it seem like the easy way out now. Expect high standards from your students, and you'll get good results.
     
  11. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Now you are being ridiculous and sarcastic.

    Take a fretted bass,play the note with even strength,INBETWEEN the frets,and tell me that's sharp.It's not,it's called touch and feel.You acquire that over time.

    Expecting a beginner to conceptualize that is pointless.Getting them to produce a workable,audible tone,frome the outset is the goal.Then we'll work on refining it.

    I've layed it out here before,good technique comes from practicing good music.It is that simple.

    Practicing a line,song,étude etc.that requires sound technique,with focus,patience and a little discipline,your"fingers"will find the "right"technique.

    Focusing on technique for techniques sake is pointless,and has nothing to do with music.
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I tend to play pretty close to the frets, when the context of the note (what I need to reach before, after or at the same time) makes it reasonably comfortable to do so.

    However, the 'distance from fret' parameter should be quite wide. Either bassnewb DOES have a problem bass (do you get the problem only at certain parts of the neck), bad technique, or too high a standard of what 'without buzzing' means.

    Any chance at all of getting a lesson, or at least getting a more experienced bassist to give you a few pointers.

    Wulf
     
  13. word

    word

    Jul 14, 2003
    in the end, its all touch and feel. getting the in the groove, feeling the flow, yeah....
     
  14. bassnewb

    bassnewb

    Apr 15, 2003
    You guys have very interesting opposing views. From what I've heard, most people try to get the technique right before trying to get the sound right. But I can see how it also makes sense to get the sound right first, and then the technique. Which way is better, I sure don't know.

    It's not easy for me to find a bass expert. I use a lot of force in pressing though, and there's almost always the "twang" sound when I depress a string. When I get too close (like maybe 7/8 of the length of the fret) to the fret I wanna play, that's when there's also fretbuzz on the back fret. In terms of the force I use, if I use A LOT of force to depress a string, then the fretbuzz isn't as present. But if I do it normally, definitely still using more force than needed to play the note, then there's fretbuzz. Some frets seem to buzz more than others, but that may just be varying obviousness.

    If I press in the middle of the frets, then the sound is like a solid "twang". When I get close to the note fret, then it's "twang" with a "bzzz".
     
  15. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    You really need a solid,experienced guy,sitting right in front of you to check it out.I suggest going to your local college/Univ.,ask who the bass instructor is and offer him a couple bucks to check you out on a one-off thing.Chances are he'll be able to set you straight far easier than we can over the net.
    Failing that,I stand by my earlier advice,if there's a spot on YOUR bass that works,use it.Regardless of how close it is to the fret.If there's buzz all around,take it to a shop and get it set-up.And ask the guy questions,set-up is not difficult and you can save yourself some $$.:)
     
  16. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'm sure one of the problems is that you're working too hard, fighting the bass rather than dancing with it.

    Try this:

    1. Rest your finger on a string not too far behind a fret. Pluck the string. The result will be a 'dead' note (you may want to use your 3rd or 4th finger and rest the others behind it to avoid accidental harmonics).

    2. Press a little harder and pluck again - but not enough to make the note sound properly.

    3. Keep increasing the pressure until you have just enough to get a clean sounding note. You should go through 'dead note', through 'fretbuzz' and onto 'clean note' without having to exert very much force at all.

    What you'll notice is that you can apply a lot more force but get no extra benefit. However, the harder you press with the fretting hand, the harder you tend to play with the plucking hand... and that does increase the likelihood of buzzing.

    Relax, use just enough energy, and apply that across your whole body... and, as ConU emphasised, really make an effort to get someone to SHOW you. Even if it's the setup guy, they should still be able to give you some feedback on how they SEE you play.

    Wulf
     
  17. Right before the fret is best, in my opinion. On the fret may cause you to go over it, which isn't very good.
     
  18. hey there everybody, hope you're all well.

    just wondering, since i've only picked up bass a few days ago, is fret buzz something you should immediately tackle, try to 'stamp it out' as quickly as possible before progressing? Or is it more something you learn to phase out over time?

    After playing saxophone for 7 years up to Grade 8 standard (dunno if that means much to Americans, but basically it's the highest grade before doing Teaching Diplomas), I'm taking up bass, teaching myself. I want to start out the way I wish I had been taught sax in the first place; technique, scales and improvisation. but first I want to get my priorities straight!

    So: try to stop fret buzz now, or try and phase it out whilst learning my way around the fingerboard?

    Cheers!

    Steve
     
  19. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I would suggest spending a bit of time concentrating on getting a good tone and sound to the individual notes before moving around too much - I'm sure that's not disimilar to what you might do on a sax, where I guess you'd try to learn a few notes without too many unwanted squeaks before running up and down two octave scales.

    It shouldn't take too long to lay a good foundation and it will make what you build on top of it sound much better.

    Wulf
     
  20. bassnewb

    bassnewb

    Apr 15, 2003
    My internet connection has been down for a week.

    I've bought a bass basics DVD. Beaver Felton presses down directly on the frets as far as I can see. Maybe it works better with lighter gauges?

    Anyway, thanks for the tips.