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Fretless neck buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by plong123, Mar 10, 2013.


  1. plong123

    plong123 All Your Bass Are Belong To Us

    Nov 19, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Hey guys. I just bought a used bass and am beginning to notice some buzzing in the neck. Since this is my first fretless bass, I was surprised to hear what I considered the classic "fret buzz" sound on my fretless. The neck is pretty fine in either direction, sounds smooth on runs in either direction, but there's an awful bottoming out that happens around the seventh fret of both the E and A strings. (also a slight reoccurrence above the fifth fret of the G string).

    Here is a link to a video my wife was kind enough to shoot for me this evening:

    http://www.twistedtomorrow.com/fretlessbuzz01.mp4

    As you can hear, the bottoming out is so severe to render the bass practically unplayable in this condition. Bass information: Carvin AC40F, neck-through. Standard truss rod in headstock.

    Is this a normal thing? Is it just a slight truss rod adjustment away from an easy fix, or do I have to take this to a shop?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    You just bought a used bass. Are you using it in the exact condition you received it in? Or have you checked it out... IE: done a set up on it?
     
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    If you are happy with the action on all strings as is, go ahead and loosen the truss nut 1/8 - 1/4 turn. If it doesn't clear up, run it through a complete setup.
     
  4. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    Is there back bow?
     
  5. OnederTone

    OnederTone Aguilar Everywhere Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Thornton, CO
    [​IMG]

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  6. plong123

    plong123 All Your Bass Are Belong To Us

    Nov 19, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Thank you all for responding.

    Slowgypsy - No, I have not yet done any kind of setup on the bass. I have had it for a couple of weeks now, and am just now noticing the severity of the buzz. Maybe it's been there the whole time, maybe it just developed, hard to say.

    96tbird - Yes, I'm very happy with the action everywhere on the neck.

    Strat Hater - I am not sure what you mean when you say "back bow".

    funkyebk - +5 for vision and follow through. Well played.
     
  7. OnederTone

    OnederTone Aguilar Everywhere Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Thornton, CO
    Remember that fretless basses are finicky things... for optimal tone every thing has to be in balance. On a fretted instrument, a little neck movement from weather and humidity may go unnoticed until something "just feels weird" on a fretless, sometimes opening a window can throw everything out of whack and turn your bass into a sitar.

    Be prepared to get very familiar with the truss rod.
     
    bass nitro likes this.
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You have to be really attentive to details if you want a fretted bass to play with lowest possible action. You have to be equally attentive to tiny details to have a fretless bass play its best. Even a slight ( measured in thousandths of an inch) irregularity in a fretless fingerboard will cause all kinds of grief.

    Problem is that you are now in a rarefied territory. You need to find somebody who understands how a double bass is set up, and at the same time understands electric fretted basses and the unique space in that continuum that is occupied by this instrument. Sorry, but's it's not an easy spot to fill. And the chances of you doing it on your own to optimum levels are remote.

    Sorry TB, but there aren't many techs out there (or even manufacturers) that fully understand fretless bass guitars. It's a passion of mine, but I have to say that they are the most problematic of the instruments I play and service, and that includes all orchestral strings, electric and acoustic guitars and basses and a a whole whack of others like mandolins, banjos, lutes, etc. But when you get them right, it's pure heaven.
     

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