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How can I tell if the nut slots are too low (fretless)?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I have a five string fretless bass that's consistently had some issues with buzz on the lower strings. The D and G are fine, the A is good most of the time, but the E and B will buzz with any more than a medium-light touch. The buzzing is mostly in the lower end of the neck, say the first six or seven frets. I've loosened the neck about a 1/4 turn, but I hesitate to do any more because the mwah on the top strings is perfect as it is and I don't want to lose that. Could a new nut (or even some sort of filler like a couple strips of paper) be what's needed?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You really don't need any height for the nut on a fretless. Strings can rest at the same level as the fingerboard.
    A low nut would only be an issue for open strings anyway.
    What you describe means the neck needs more curve. Loosen the trussrod.
    Sgroh87 likes this.
  3. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Simple answer: The nut slot is too low when the open strings buzz.

    More complex: The nut slot is too low when there is back buzz. Back buzz is when the buzz is between the stopped note and the nut.

    Most importantly, if it doesn't buzz through the amp it doesn't buzz.
    JLS likes this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    First raise the bridge saddle on the strings that are buzzing. Lower tuned strings have more excursion and need more height than higher tuned strings.
    If that doesn't help get your fingerboard planed. Either flat or with more relief on the low side.
  5. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    202dy had it right. The nut will only make open strings buzz with the usual case that you can get back buzzing if you finger the notes two lightly. It sounds like you have other setup issues. Either you need more relief in the neck (not so likely if the buzz is at the higher positions), the bridge should be adjusted, or there is a problem witht he fingerboard that needs to be addressed (leveled).
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    any buzzing on fretted notes means the nut is not the problem.

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