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Getting rid of subtle open string rattling at the nut...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by pd_5string, Aug 10, 2002.

  1. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    Hey folks,

    I noticed on my Fender that I get a really, really faint rattle on my A string when I play moderately, and it barely comes through amplified...I generall only wrap my strings one and a half times (one pinky length on the silks) around the machine heads, but I found that wrapping three times (two pinky lengths on the silks) makes the string enter the nut at a lower angle, probably causing a little more downward pressure, and cancels out this little issue (I also noticed that the A string can wiggle a tad back and forth in the nut)...

    Any of you try this and/or have any luck? I was all set to do the crazy glue/baking soda, re-slot routine, but this seems to work fine...I am sure I should have another nut put on, but if this works, then that is cool too...other than this I FINALLY have my Fender playing awesome. The stats that work for me are:

    .015 relief, measured at 7th fret with straight edge and feeler gauges

    5/64 action for all strings.

    It is nice to know that if anything goes out of whack, I just return to these settings, and play away.

    The bass plays great now, and I will stop bitching :)
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member


    That's pretty much a standard design flaw of Fender style headstocks, and the reason some manufacturers use the tilt back design, to increase the break angle over the nut.

    There are three options. Fix the nut(which usually makes it better but doesn't fix it completely), use a string tree that covers all of the strings, or use extra string wraps around the post to force the string downward.

    I prefer the third method. Works like a charm, no modifications to the bass.
  3. I agree with Jeff.

    Wrap more string around the post. I usually have two to three wraps on my A string on my 4 in line heads.

    Any less and there isn't enough force for a good angle to break over the nut.
  4. Hi_Im_Mark


    Mar 9, 2003
    Hey...I just started playing the bass about 3 months ago, and I noticed a have the exact same problem. I get a very faint rattling noise only from the 'A' string. I'm very new to the world of guitars (being a brass player) so could someone help me solve this problem. I would appreciate an explanation in plain English (sorry, I don't know very many technical terms yet).
    I have a Fender Squire P-Bass if that helps.

  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Mark! Welcome to TB and the wonderful world of bass!!!:D

    Anyway, what Embellisher described in the above post may help out a lot! What you do, when re-stringing the bass, is to leave enough extra string to wind around the tuning peg at least a few times. Then, when you're turning the tuning peg, keep the string winding downward, towards the headstock.

    What this method does is to force the string windings downward, increasing the angle the string has to pass over the nut. This will help the problem, though it may not eliminate it entirely.

    If it's still a problem, you may need the nut replaced.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Good info! I'm moving this to "Setup".
  7. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    One thing that I noticed with my MIM P-Bass was the lighter gauged E-Strings (about .95) would vibrate in the nut because it was cut to big for them. I just used the simple solution of getting E-Strings that are bigger (around 1.10). It solved the problem like a charm.
  8. I follow Jeff's third option! More windings on the E and A string to help keep the break angle nice! I also use 45-105 strings on the P, keeps the sound nice 'n' fat!:)

    (Yes, before I knew much about break angles, I had this problem. Cost me in a couple of sets of strings that I'd cut too short.....but there you go, you learn from you mistakes)
  9. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    i had a similar problem with my olp mm copy, here's what i did, i grinded down the string ferrel(string guide) to make it shorter,(it will change the angle of the string contact point) i then used a lighter set of strings and it now does not rattle ever, i has to do with geometry of the headstock like some other cat said earlier this is a common problem with mex fenders or squires,and especially with copy basses, even though my olp is a liscensed copy and made JUST LIKE THE REAL ONE, they cut corners and use inferrior parts,especially the nut! if you dont want to grind or cut your ferrel you can just as easy put a piece of rubber for spacer between the string and the contact point of the ferrel,wich is what i did till i could get to my dads house and use his tools ,good luck!:bassist:
  10. tortburst


    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    I'm having the same problem on my E and A strings. Bought a used Fender highway one p bass and had it setup. They cut the strings too short.
    I could try bringing it back and ask them to give me a new set of strings for cutting the length too short. This way I can try option 3.

    If that doesn't work, and I'm too cheap to spend money on a new set or installing a new tree, could I use a rubber band.

    I was thinking of taking a rubber band and looping it around the E and A string thereby connecting them and possibly reducing the vibrations either produce.

    Does that make sense?

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