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Fretnoise, string floppyness... technique?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WovenGraphite, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Guys I have a question on neck length and its impact on string tension.

    I have been playing for 15 years on a Status 4 string. I love it. Recently, I shed some bucks and bought a Zon Studio 5.
    Eventhough I tried the bass and felt really comfortable (the 19mm spacing was the way to go for me) it's only when I played enough home that I realized I couldn't really do anything with the fret noise.
    I brought it to Joe Zon (I live in the Bay Area) and they recrowned the frets and set the action pretty low as I asked them to.

    Also, I setup the same string set as on my Status for the four high strings (pretty light 45-90). The B is a 128.

    The fret noise is terrible and I am wondering if it's not the tension of the strings. The neck has 22 frets instead of the 24 on my status.

    So is it the action? The strings? The lentgh of the neck?
    And ultimately, simply my technique on 5 strings?

  2. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    The 45-90 set is on the light side, the 128 is about right for the B. But that all depends on what you are used to. You could be experiencing a combination of light strings, low action, and heavy technique. Is the Sonus a 34" scale bass? Is your Status a 35" scale bass? The number of frets don't come into play but the scale length sure does. The longer the scale length (distance from the nut to the daddle) the higher the tension for a given string. So you might be running too light of a set on the Zon.

    I don't like switching strings more than I need to, but some basses need to have the right set for your style and the way the bass is built. I own a Sonus 5 fretless so I am aware of the way the bass is built. If you feel that the action is too floppy then go up in gauge and try that. You also might want to try a set of the stock Zon strings for that bass just to have a reference.
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    The 22 vs. 24 fret thing makes absolutely no difference as far as tension--more or less frets do not change the scale length at all.

    As I recall, the Sonus Studio is 35" scale rather than 34", and that would change the tension compared to your Status...but if anything, it would give you more tension, and thus probably make for a little less fret noise, not more.

    There are two things I can think of. First, the Zon may have less neck relief than your Status--that is, it may be flatter and have less "arch" for the strings to vibrate. That makes for a lower action in the middle rnages, but it can also make for more string buzz. Unfortunately, while many other composite-neck builders (Modulus, Status, Curbow) have chosen to add neck relief adjustment, Zon necks can't be adjusted.

    The second thing is, if you're like me you may not change strings all that often. New strings will definately be more likely to give you fret noise than older ones. They have a brighter tone, and also have not had the windings compressed or worn down over the frets.

    Your technique on 5-string might be responsible, too, but only on the B string.


    PS: Just thought of one more thing. Are you using the same string brand/type on both basses? Because even when the gauge is the same, the tension and stiffness can vary between different string brands depending on things like the shape and thickness of the coree wire, the number of windings, etc. Also, some string types are just brighter sounding than others, or have rougher windings...
  4. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Thanks guys.

    Yes I am indeed using on both basses the same set of strings from Zon! I like very much their hex core.