G String buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Slaphound, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Hey gang. Last week I bought a set of Super light gauge strings for my bass. After some tweaking, I was able to rid myself of some of the buzz and overtones I was getting but I was still getting a strange buzz on my G string. I say it was strange because if I pressed on the string behind the nut, I was able to remove the buzz. Same thing was happening with the A string but I was able to remove that buzz with a little tweaking. The action is perfect for me.

    Ok. So. I took a piece of paper (a small piece) and I placed it under the string. Tuned up and Voila.........no more buzz.

    My questions are these. Why did the string buzz in the first place? Is this a common solution to a common problem? And, Is there a better solution?
  2. My instinct says the nut slot is cut a little too deep. The buzz you hear is the string vibrating against the first fret when played open. When you put tension on the string behind the nut you caused the string to vibrate less and eliminated the buzz. You may have noticed there was no buzz at fret one and above. When you inserted a piece of paper into the nut slot, you lifted the string out of the nut just enough to allow it to vibrate without contacting the fret. It is a temporary solution in my mind. A better temporary solution is to make a paste of super glue and baking soda (though some forgo the baking soda), and put a smidge into the nut slot. When it hardens, take an appropriate file and re-cut the slot, but not so deep. The best solution is to have a new nut cut for your bass. The nut material and the way it is cut are some of the most important and oft overlooked aspects of how your bass plays and sounds, and money well-spent.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    Youngspanion likes this.
  3. Its apparent that the nut slots are cut for specific gauge strings. Once they are cut for a heavy set, then the super lights won't work so well. If they are cut only for light gauge, then the heavy gauge needs to be cut wider and a bit deeper. But then........ooops! Cant go back to light gauge. Sigh
  4. It kind of depends on how much variation there is between gauges. A properly cut nut can be slightly wider than your current gauge and accommodate a variety of gauges (if it's not too extreme). So, for example, if your nut is cut to accommodate a set of .055 to .110, and you decide to install a set of .045 to .100, or even .040 to .090, that should not be an issue. Side-to-side wiggle is not the issue with your bass as the downward pressure of the string will inhibit wiggling (again, within reason, if the nut is not cut dramatically wider than the gauge of the strings).

    But a nut cut too deep will have the same effect regardless of gauge: Buzz at fret one when played open.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015