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How do you eliminate fretting noise?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sync00, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. sync00


    Nov 23, 2005
    When I fret a note there is a clanging noise as the string contacts the fret. I can eliminate the sound by fretting really slowly and gently but this isn't feasible when I'm actually playing.
  2. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    first thing to check is if it is in tune. If it is way off the strings won't be tight enough and when you play it will rest against the fret
  3. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    4 methods I know of that could eliminate unwanted noise including:

    - Notch Filter: identify the frequency that causes the unwanted noise and notch it out.
    - EQ: similar to notch filter, but you cut the offending frequency.
    - Noise suppressor (noise gate): provides a setable signal level threshold below which all sound is removed. So you could set it that only the note being played is heard, and fret sound is removed.
    - Technique: modify your technique.
  4. sync00


    Nov 23, 2005
    I'd like to modify my technique but I guess I'm too dense. I can only think of one way to fret a note.
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Boss have a really good noise suppressor.

    That's the one I use to remove noise.
  6. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    I'd say work on your technique instead of hiding behind effects..but thats just me... :ninja:
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    how bout do both.

    Work on technique, and use effects to enhance your sound :)
  8. That noise will get drowned out if you do your fretting as you do your plucking.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Bass is a little noisy. Nothing to get worked up about.
  10. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Yes enhance your sound, but don't hide your bad technique behind effects.
  11. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    define bad technique.

    Who says what is bad technique?

    Is bad technique about what you think you hear, or what you think you see?

    Does the audience of 500 really give a damn about technique in general?

    Do they care about what effects you use?

    Why am I not allowed to hide behind my effects rack?

    So many questions, so little time :)
  12. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I put new strings on my bass and it sounded clangy for a while. Could that be causing some problems?
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have a little time.

    1. It's using poorly developed and inefficient skills to play an instrument.

    2. People who are better than most of us that can explain why their technique is better decide.

    3. Both. Generally, what you see affects what you hear. If you play with sloppy technique, you will usually sound sloppy.

    4. No they don't, but the people who might hire you do.

    5. Sometimes they do. I've heard an occasional audience member say things like, "Turn that crap off and play!" to overprocessed guitarists before.

    6. You are. It's your funeral. Stand with your effects, don't hide behind them.
  14. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    open notes only....yup , that's the ticket! ha!
  15. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    If the strings are low. IMHO there may be some clack even with the best techinque.

    It doesn't show up in the amp or the mix don't worry about it.

    The proper way to fret is right on the fret too btw.

    You will figure it out as you play.


  16. While watching DB teacher of mine play w/his group, I noticed a lot of string noise, etc. If I were playing it would bug the heck out of me, but in the context of the band he was playing with, it sounded great(not specifically the extra noise, rather the overall mix). I'm very critical of my own sound & technique, but I imagine most non-band member/musicians don't notice much short of a complete train wreck. BTW, does anyone know, in railroad terms, the difference between a train wreck & a derailment(hmm- both music/TB terms)?
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    The advice is right here... work on your technique. THEN use the effect as a tool, not a crutch. You'll be much better off in the long run. If you can't use any technique at your disposal pianissimo, you still have work to do IMO.

    I don't use any effects to reduce unwanted string noise because I don't get any. I worked on getting my touch developed to that point and it did take a while. OTOH I regularly use fret noise as a part of my arsenal, it can add a nice flavor to the mix, it only happens when I want it to and it's free.
  18. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Hang on a minute...

    So are you saying that the elite, define bad technique.
  19. As both a Pro Bassist and recording engineer I can tell you that some "noise" is inevitable from any instrument you play. When you solo the tracks of some of the best players in the world you might be surprised at both what you do and don't hear. :D

    Now to try and help you minimize it....MOST pros that I know actually play with a higher action than you may be accustomed to including myself. I have set up all the basses that I have sold here and maybe someone who bought one from me can chime in about their opinion on my setup. I have seen a number of Will Lee's basses, Michael Rhodes, Mike Brignardello, Rocco Prestia, Abe Laboriel, Willie Weeks, Bea Speers, Jim Montgomery, Etc etc etc...all top players to be sure and the common theme is that ALL of them play with their action higher than what I consider to be "low". I have never seen Jamersons Setup but Bob Babbitt (and others) once said that he could not even play Jamerson's bass. I have also heard from a couple of people who knew Jamerson that he did all of his Finger plucking with his index finger only (which is pretty amazing!!) and had a visible muscle that was easily seen and very pronounced on the top of his hand!!

    I have spent a lot of time to try and improve my technique and play with an even amount of attack on the strings with both my left and right hands. While this is good advice it is not the end all be all and certainly won't end all extranneous noise. I think it is important to develop a muting technique of some kind that is both effective and consistant. I use both of my hands to mute especially when playing 5 strings or fretless and I have practiced enough that it is just as natural for me to do it as it is to play across the strings and up and down the neck. I have found that the best way to develop any technique is to start off slowly...as in playing slowly!

    Spend the time to figure out what works for you and what does not. I have average sized hands, Chuck Rainey has some of the biggest hands I have ever seen, and Pino Palladino has the longest fingers I have ever seen!! The one thing in common we all have is that we all mute and approach our technique differently. I try to play somewhere between the 2 as my goal. Where chuck plays really smooth (personally, I think he is the Eric Clapton of bassists!! Slowhand....) and laid back (but he can JAM and play his @&& off when you call his number!) Pino is very melodic and can get somewhat busy but in a VERY tasteful way. Chuck plays with his index and 2nd fingers mostly (as well as a very interesting slap technique he has!) Pino can play with all 5 fingers of BOTH hands which is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!!

    What does ANY of this have to do with technique?? Both of these guys are 1st call players and if you listen to their tracks they are really busy in places and play some fairly interesting lines in interesting ways but they play SO clean! That is the goal to strive for...play fast, play tight, be able to really work the baord but play clean!! Unfortunately, there is only 1 way to be able to do that and that is technique and practice. There are no shortcuts to get there. I used to play about 4-6 hours per day everyday at a minimum when I was a kid. I am now 40 and still play at least 1-2 hours a day everyday whether I am doing sessions or not. That is on TOP of any sessions that I do that day!!

    This is the only way to get there in my opinion and though I know that some will say that playing with their action higher is uncomfortable, if you work on it, the strength in your hands will increase and your speed and comfort level will increase as well. I recommend starting at a little higher action than you are comfortable with and build on it from there. Try to raise it just a b it at the time. It won't take long before you get to a point where you will not only hear less noise but you will find your "sweet spot" and notice a pretty dramatic improvement in your tone as well. By raising your playing action a bit, you have also gotten the string a bit further from the pickup (you may have to adjust them if you go a lot higher) and in my opinion this helps to open up the sound quite a bit. Will Lee swears that is where his tone comes from but I know there is more to it than that!!

    Try a combination of these things and I promise you will see results very quickly, typically within a few weeks at most! Remember, whatever you put into it is EXACTLY what you are going to get out of it...Hope that helps!


  20. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    This may seem like a silly answer. But if you play fretless, you'll have no fret noise. To me, the two main points of playing fretless is the feel and the sound. Always when I play fretless I get compliments on the tone (the sound): it is punchy with a strong fundamental, and a sweet. slightly blossoming sustain.

    There you go. Silly perhaps, but serious.