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Low-action fans: how much fret buzz can you stand?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CrashAlpha, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. CrashAlpha


    May 16, 2012
    Just curious: how fussy are people who like low-action basses - from nut to heel - about a bit of fret buzz?

    If the sound doesn't appear when playing with the band or affect the tone through the amp, how fussy are you about eliminating every single hint of buzz from every single fret?

    And if you do tolerate buzz, how about during recording?
  2. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    I have one bass that gets plenty of fret buzz but I like it that way because I use it only for certain genres...or playing RHCP tunes. :smug:
    The action on my other two are just high enough to create no buzz.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Depends what genre I am playing, if I am in a rock band setting I like a little clank. Listen to all your favourites play live, almost everybody has a little clank, at least mine do and it was a great reassurance when I heard them do it.
  4. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    Yeah exactly.
    I'm pretty sure I've heard Geddy Lee make use of it, in addition to others.
  5. I read a quote from a studio engineer once, something to the effect that all great bass tracks are very noisy and percussive when soloed. I don't let fret buzz worry me at all, unless it's actually bad enough to prevent the string from freely vibrating.
  6. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    My main bass is set pretty low. With good technique it's easy to get a clean sound, but when I dig in I get a wicked sizzly grind on the top end and high mids... awesome. :)

    Edit: Thought I should add this. The bass is a Warwick Streamer $$, and I followed Warwick's setup videos on their youtube page to get it to their exact specs, then lowered the whole bridge evenly until I got that nice grind.
  7. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I hate buzzing of any kind when playing here at home by myself, but in a band, it doesn't bug me. Fits in with the ambiance of the band. :)

    Just last night, I took a new bass to practice, and it was buzzing like a mo-fo. I thought I had it dialed in okay, but I was wrong. And it's not even a metal band or anything.
  8. +1 Yum
  9. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    Some buzz is ok (works great with distortion!), notes loosing their sustain and low-end punch are not ok.

    My four string has what i consider a crazy-low setup (below 1mm at the 12 fret on the G string), the five string is a bit higher due to the fact that I mostly play it with a pick.

    Said that - I can play clean and get enough dynamic range just by using a light touch.
  10. Vintage Guy

    Vintage Guy Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    I used to be really anal about perfect noiseless setup on all my bass's. However to do that there is an issue sometimes with higher than normal action. Now I set them up to play comfortable,and if there is a little buzz,so be it. I play hard,so it's tough for me to get a bass that doesn't buzz and clank.
  11. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Upland, California
    Ive also got a little bit of buzz when I dig in, sometimes if I can't get enough fat resonance out of my 'C' note on the 3rd fret A string, then I'll use the 'C' that's on the 8th fret E string.
  12. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Fret buzz used to make or break a bass for me. Couldn't stand it. Basically, if I had it set up to the optimal performance for me and it still buzed, it was out the door. Now I'm a little less fussy and can stand a little buzz here or there but nothing excessive...especially in the lower registers.
  13. My basses are setup so there is no fret buzz with a “very light” touch and a little buzz if played hard.
  14. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    I keep my action low so it's nice and easy to play. When I play unplugged, sometimes I think there's a bit too much buzz, when I also play a lot harder to try to hear it obviously. Once I plug in, my touch lightens up considerably, and the buzz is mostly eliminated. Sometimes I want a bit of buzz/aggressive tone, so I just dig in a bit more, and when I want a nice clean tone, I lighten my touch and increase the volume. Problem solved.
  15. Ken J

    Ken J Hartford Hot Several Brass Band Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Middlefield, CT
    Im as low as I can go.
    I got rid of my frets.
  16. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    My basses are now set up where I get no buzz when playing finger style, but I do when using a pick.
  17. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    As long as the note does not fret out I'm cool, low action+round wound= buzz no way around it.
  18. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Part of the reason I use flats is because I can't stand extra finger noise and fret buzz. I'm a big fan of TI's and those can be a little more buzzy than other flats but I think that is more a result of the guage than anything else. There are lots of variables at play besides action, such as attack and string type.
  19. As long as no fret buzzes more than the others, I WANT fret buzz. I like it to sound like a slight distortion.
  20. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
    Controlled fret buzz is ok for me. Every note choking out is not cool.