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Fretless Fingerboard Clacking

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Lee Moses, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I recently acquired a six-string fretless Carvin. Overall, I like the instrument, but the strings tend to clack against the fingerboard and, when fretted (or whatever you call it with a fretless), the B-string buzzes/clacks.

    I recently brought it to get set up, and the repair man said he wouldn't do anything to change it, and talked about how beautifully it played. Is this something that fretless players just work around? The only thing I know to do is to raise the action, but I think the action is set right about where it should be for a fretless.

    Any suggestions?
  2. ame with my beloved ZON...

    I mostly practice with hedphones..Wife only hears the clack.. very annoying.

    In band or performance context.. you'll never hear it..like solid state hiss.

    I've seen/heard String bass played jazz with board clack..nature of the beast as far as I know....Lower action in most cases equals better 'muahh-tone'.

    Zon gets lowest action playable.. sure there are others.. BUT too low and it sounds like a sitar..lol.. 'meow' instead of 'muuahh..LOL..
  3. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Part of it is technique. Work on plucking parallel to the fingerboard, not digging in. It takes a lot of disciplined technique to get rid of all the odd clacks, squeaks, and zings that happen. Most of us just live with it to a certain level.
  4. Yeah..AGREED..

    However, I like to dig-in...been doing it for decades..so I will need to be more aware of my technique when using fretless..AGREED.

    Keep in mind..all clack will NEVER be eliminated unless you play sooo softly that...zzz...zzzz
  5. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Thanks for the comments. I've tried plucking lighter, I've made sure I'm plucking parallel, and the problem doesn't seem to go away. However, when I pluck with my thumb, it's not nearly as bad for some reason. I guess I'll either have to start playing with my thumb, jack the action up an 1/8" or so, or just accept it.

    There seems to be plenty of "mwah" in this bass, without a lick of "meow" :bassist:. But I'm thinking I'd take higher action and less "mwah" to get rid of that clacking.
  6. When the string contacts the fingerboard, there will be sound.

    How loud it is depends on technique.

    Therefore, the answer lies in technique.
  7. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Now that I think about it, I probably should have been clearer. There are 2 separate issues, both of which I (should not) have classified above as "fingerboard clacking":

    (1) The slight, abbreviated single "click" sound that is sometimes made just after attack. This I can live with, and seem to be able to minimize with technique.

    (2) What we would normally call "fret buzz" on a fretted instrument. It is not a single "click," but a "clackety-clackety-clack" every time I play a depressed/"fretted" note on the B string. It is only an issue on the B-string, and it is an issue on pretty much every note other than open B. I have a much harder time putting up with this, and adjusting right-hand technique doesn't seem to make much difference, other than perhaps playing with my thumb.

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