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Fretless too noisy!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, May 31, 2007.

  1. I recently decreased my attack and increased my headroom.

    No matter how light I play on my TF Fretless P it clacks like a b***h - sounds like it's coming from around the 6-11th fret but also sounds like strings are hitting the fingerboard at the "start of it". My fretted's aren't doing it, but none have actions as low as my fretless.

    I'm not sure if the clacking is a symptom of an action that is too low, but thats my intial thought.

    Any other ideas?

    Also, I can't work out how to tune the hipshot between E and D I've read the FAQ's on some site and tried it but still get the same problem (only less but still consistenly ) so I will probably take it to a shop to learn how to tune that I'm just ranting that one out really :)
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    It could be low action, or maybe an EQ adjustment.
  3. Wow! Quick service :) Thanks!!

    What EQ settings should I target to see if I can reduce the clack??

    I run an Eden Nemesis NC420 cab with 320W amp, pushing 200W through the single cab.

    I already re-EQ'd it, for the better, after my guitarist complained I dropped out of the mix on higher up notes.

    Basically I rolled a lot more bass off (it was on -1 from zero as it was boohoo) and increase the mids and treble, plus some gain and hey, a little master won't hurt :)

    Then, I cranked it up 20% more than usual to resolve my hard attack habit a week or so later!

    One extra bonus is that the switch on the fretless actually changes the tone between pickups now LOL. Before, I had one strong and 2 tinny choices. Make that choice :)
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When I experience the "Fretless Clack" I think it's usually 1200hz and above. The bass should own the 600-800hz range, but leave 1000hz and above to the puny guitars. I think your problem may be in that mid and treble increase. I feel that mids are treble for bass.

    Leave that high pitched stuff alone and focus on the ground shaking lows.
  5. Thankyou for the advice I appreciate it. I will look at the EQ again tonight at rehearsal, I am more of a "that will do" guy than a tone hunter as such.

    Again, thanks. I appreciate the answer AND the fast service coming with it. I've waited longer on guitar store "advice lines" and they are PAID to answer!
  6. I was at rehearsal and gave that advice a go, rolled the treble right off and messed with the bass and mids.

    Net result - The clack buried under the mix fine, but on some songs I started dropping back out of the mix on the D and G strings again (treble up resolved that last time). Guitarist also told me soundmen will fix the clack by clipping it at the board anyways...

    The room we were in was not as acoustically pleasant as the other one, so I struggled for a while, then moved my fingers over the pickups closest the bridge and the clack went away, but my EQ was crap to me until I got a break in the music to switch the pickups to suit new position.

    Would a position change like that indicate an action issue perhaps? Anyone want to buy a Fender TF Fretless P? For the money I spent on that, it's the most trouble of 4 basses probably coz I luv it the most! :)
  7. Not sure about the shim.

    I have a hard attack which I'm EQing away with volume increases. Last night I cranked it higher than I have before. No matter
    how light I played it was there. Going heavier didn't bring it out much more, but evey not it was there. It was cold last night compared to todays lovely 25 degrees celcius.

    I'm not 100% on the setup and need to learn more about setting it up, but it has a low action.

    Spacings between fingerboard and closest part of string are:
    4mm at the 15th fret marker.
    3mm at the 7th fret marker.
    1mm at the nut. The strings all appear off the board OK, but there is a slight right angle up the neck that I don't see as obviously on the fretteds but yeah, not sure :)

    And by the start I meant the 21st fret end, not off the nut to the headstock.

    If I don't get this sorted soon I'm getting "my" music shop to order in a red MIM Fender Jaguar for me to test out, and a black Aerodyne so a friend can try that out, so I'll bring the fretless in and get it checked out, they'll like that they didn't want to see it go.

    Thanks Joshua.
  8. if your cab has a horn, you might back off on that a bit - turn the horn down. when i get clack on my fretless, its either too much horn or i'm "fretting" the strings with too heavy a hand.
  9. Yes, the cab has a horn. I've heard some bass players just pull the wiring off of them. :D

    I don't recall a switch for it, but I'll re-read the manual.


    Nope. But Fender provided the tools I need to break it trying :eek: :spit: :crying:

    Thanks, I have read it, and if you assure me I can't kill my bass trying it myself I will take your word, re-read those instructions and have a go at it.

  10. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    You may want to try lowering your pickups, especially the neck pickup.
  11. I did as you suggested, tuned it, fretted the 1st at the marker with my left, and fretted the fingerboard where it meets the neck.

    Looking down at it as if I'm playing it then the neck curves slightly away from the strings a bit and the strings are touching the fingerboard at both ends of the string. Not sure if thats normal.

  12. Sorry :)

    Yes. I've got what you are describing.

    The strings touch the fingerboard near either side of the neck too.
  13. Should I have that business card width from finger to finger or just around the 7th fret?

    And yes, I can take it to someone to get it checked which at this stage seems the best idea, this bass wasn't cheap!
  14. Yes it's got that, mid point between the 2 hold points is enough room to slide a card under it.

    The bass does certainly rawk and I have TB to thank. I didn't even know fretless basses existed after 10 years of self taught playing!

    I appreciate all your help.
  15. I've got a Tony Franklin Fretless and I've noticed a lot of 'clacking' as well. I've always played with an extremely heavy hand and thought that was probably the cause. I've just started trying to lighten my touch and it is still there.
    I picked up some gauges over the weekend so I can measure relief and action. I've already adjusted the neck a little to flatten it, just from eyeballing it though. I paly on working with it tonight to see what happens.
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    The clacking sound is confusing. There are a few possiblities as to what causes this sound.

    1. Strings are bouncing off the pickups.
    2. Stings are bouncing off the end of the fingerboard.
    3. The string is being pulled away from the fingerboard.
    4. The string is being pushed into the board.

    The first remedy is mechanical. Lowering the pickups to an acceptable height will fix the problem.

    The next three are matters of technique. In the second scenario the strings are being overplayed. The strings begin vibrating with so much intensity that they rattle off the end of the fingerboard. The fix is to raise the strings or change plucking technique.

    Items three and four are self explanatory.
  17. The little bit I've messed with mine, I believe it's the end of the fingerboard that's being hit. I do have low action and play hard. Mine isn't enough to be a big problem, hence my slow speed in looking for a solution. For some reason I've always used low action and I'm sure most of mine could be eliminated by raising it.

    I'll do some recording tonight to see if we're talking about the same thing.
  18. btsabq


    Jan 18, 2007
    I have the same clacking going on with my (fretted) P-bass. Probably as a result of poor technique (#2 above) - digging-in too much. The bass is tuned to D natural and has Dadarrio mediums (.105) on the 4th string.

    Does string tension come into play with this situation at all? Would heavier gauge strings be tighter and therefore minimize the problem of hitting the fretboard? Any recommendations of strings to use for a “tighter” drop-D tuning in this case? (I can start another thread if needed)


  19. I think tension does have some to do with this and the drop D tuning problem mentioned earlier in the thread. I had very heavy strings on before, E was a .115. I'm using TI flats now.
  20. btsabq


    Jan 18, 2007
    No shim in my particular situation.

    I went ahead and ordered some La Bella Electric Bass Hard Rockin' Steel Stainless Roundwound D Tuning, .054 - .111, M70 Strings based on some reading over at the Strings Forum.

    Hopefully these strings will help with the clacking by the increased tension. If this improves the situation, but not totally, I may try the first 4 strings from a 5-string D'Addario EXL220-5 set where the strings are .125, .095, .075, .060

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