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Hot Weather + Buzzing?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by SonorousC, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. SonorousC


    Jul 11, 2017
    Unfortunately, I am having some buzzing issues with my bass and am wondering if anyone may have some insight as to why. I will offer as many details as I can that may be relevant.

    · The bass is actually a left-handed bass, converted from a right-handed bass. The sound post was not moved.

    · It has been very hot and dry where I live. However, I keep the bass indoors in a room with air conditioning.

    · The last time I had a proper set-up done on the bass was about four years ago.

    · The buzzing is the worst on the A and G strings. The buzzing on the A string actually sounds more like grinding.

    · When I press my hand on the top of the body, underneath the fingerboard, this will attenuate the buzzing.

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. Touching the corpus robs it of energy/vibration. That's why it dampens the buzz, and is the same reason your bass isn't as acoustically loud if you hold it incorrectly.

    Sounds like a trip to the luthier is in your future.
    Matthew Tucker likes this.
  3. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Are your strings very low over the board? If so, and if you have an adjustable bridge, the obvious thing to try is to crank it up a bit. Otherwise, as KFS says.
  4. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    To a luthier, on the other hand, the obvious thing to try is to immediately check for an open seam - likely considering your observation that pressing on the top attenuates the buzzing/grinding. Tap hard with your knuckle or a soft mallet around the rim, top and back, and if the sound changes from a solid thunk to a clicky clack, you have found it.

    Sure, you may have fingerboard buzzing too, needing a fingerboard dressing, but cranking up the strings won't fix these unless you crank them up a LOT, in which case the problem will still be there, but hidden..

    Much less likely, but possible, is something coming loose internally such as the bassbar - but I hope not!

    In any case, a luthier would be able to locate the problem quickly :)
    Lee Moses and KUNGfuSHERIFF like this.
  5. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    OK, seems there are 2 approaches suggested so far:
    • if you have very low string heights, try raising your adjusters a bit & see if that helps, and if it doesn't go see a luthier;
    • go to the luthier straight away, and make sure not touch your adjusters under any circumstances, as our resident luthier assures us that is quite pointless to try.
    Take your pick.
  6. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Not to derail the thread, but OP mentions that it is strung LH. So if I understand correctly, E string is over the soundpost and G is over the bassbar? If so, is there something systemic about the setup that over time may have caused the problem and therefore OP will have more issues in the future as compared to a conventionally strung bass?
  7. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I doubt it. The string balance is usually affected; typically the low strings are not as powerful on a bass strung as a lefty.
    But I can't think of any way that a bass strung this way is any more prone to buzzes than a "normal" string-up. SonorousC asked why it would be buzzing; most likely is an open seam or fingerboard bumps, and probably a combination of the two.

    Of course I'm recommending go to see a luthier. Last setup was four years ago; would you run a car four years without an oil-change or brake check? Gluing up a seam is cheap. Fingerboard dressing isn't rocket science and has lasting benefits for the player without screwing with string heights. And if its something worse, wouldn't you want to know now rather than later? What's not to like? :rollno:
  8. Definitively, no. My first bass, a stout Hofner ply, got a quick-and-dirty righty-strung-lefty setup likely before I was born, was played professionally for many years, and was left in storage for almost a decade. There were no structural problems at all aside from an overly long soundpost. If the setup is well done, it shouldn't be a major problem.

    Pulling the string away from the bass bar rather than toward it costs you some pizz punch, but that's about the only difference.
  9. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Thanks Matt and KSF for your insight. Always wondered about the ramifications of stringing Lefty. I'm a Righty, but it seemed to me that sound would suffer not having the E over the bass bar. Apologies to OP if I derailed, but there maybe some usable info from previous posts. No need to elaborate further, don't want to get too far off into the weeds about OP's original issue
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    One of my basses has a seasonal soundpost buzz with very similar circumstances as you describe; press down on the top and it goes away. A slight adjustment and it will be good to go until the winter buzz shows up in late November....

    I know there are a few lefty guitar shops and lefty electric bass shops. Is there any place for just lefty double basses? 'Pretty specialized market! I made a lefty telecaster and electric bass with a student this year and I just had a lefty Irish bouzouki in the shop this week; they were all a constant challenge for a righty person!
  11. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Yes, I'm thinking of opening up a Lefty double bass shop. I'll call it "The Tax Shelter".

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