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New Bass, some problems and setup Qs

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CoarseBass, Apr 20, 2003.

  1. CoarseBass


    Dec 28, 2002
    Well, after my poor P Bass clone lost a few frets, due to it's low quality construction, I deemed it time to buy a new bass. After playing a bunch, I picked up an Ibanez BTB400. It's sweet. 35" scale, 24/22 frets, active with sweepable mids, nice body, well balanced, all and all a great bass for $525.
    However, after 2 weeks of ownership, I'm having trouble.

    Fret buzz has been pretty bad. It buzzed on nearly every note, up to around the 12th fret, so I raised the action a bit. After a week of tweeking the action, I brought it back in to Performance Music center, and they did some trussrod work. That helped. The action, however, was still rather high, higher than my old P Bass, and there was still some buzzing.

    At this point, I've isolated the buzzing to the 2rd-7th frets on the E and A string, while the D and G buzz less noticably. I've got 110-45 gauge Fender strings on there, adn thre action set medium-high. Too high, really. The neck seems to bow out forward a good bit. I've also noticed some frets seem slightly elevated off the fretboard, in the middle. I love this bass, but I want to know what I can do to stop the buzzing, and lower the action. I almost think I might have gotten a dud, and should see if I can get it warrantied. Sometime this week, I'm gonna go back to PMC and talk to them about taking time to get a good solid setup done.

    Also, on the E string, and to a lesser degree the A string, it has a "chorusy" type sound when palyed above the 13th fret, getting more and more "chorusy" with each fret up the neck. What could cause this?

    Thanks a lot for you're help,
  2. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    That is a bad sign, asuming you mean that the neck bows out toward the strings. It should bow slightly back, a little bit away from the strings. The neck needs more relief that it has now, and that could cause all of the problems you described. The workers at the place you took it to have its trussrod adjusted should know that. So either I have the wrong idea about which way the neck bows, or they don't have any idea how to adjust a truss rod at all. And if the place is anything like guitar center, it probably is the second choice.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I agree with Ben. It sounds like a relief problem but you mentioned a couple of frets that appear high. If it does have some high frets there is no way any amount of setup will get the buzzes out and still have reasonably low action.

    I would be very leary of the skill level of the person who adjusted the truss rod. There is no excuse to return a new bass to a customer with the problems that you describe.

    My guess is that a clerk with just enough knowledge to get himself in trouble worked on your bass.

    I would give the store one more chance and if they fail to correct ALL of the problems I would demand a refund.

  4. CoarseBass


    Dec 28, 2002
    Sorry, I think I gave you guys the wrong idea. The bow of the neck, meaning the actual curvature, is nto towards the strings. It curves back, as it should. I meant that the neck seem to angle outward (towards the strings) from the body more than I'm used to.

    I'm gonna give the store one last chance...then try to get my money back, or a warranty bass form Ibanez.

    Hehe, till its all set, I'm playing my fretless P clone:D
  5. Hey, I had the same model Ibanez. It was a really cool bass, sounded pretty nice. Unfortunatly, it had pretty sick quality issues. The neck had high frets and constant problems with never being able to get the action where I wanted it. I eventually just traded it in for a fender Amer Stnd Jazz, which was very different. If you can find someone to really set it up, its a great bass, otherwise the action probably isn't goin to get anywhere near where you want it.
  6. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    You might should go have them fix these problems or give you a refund. Since the neck is not the problem as I thought, it is actually worse, in that the problems are much more serious, and maybe harder to fix.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    If the "tech" attempted to adjust the rod on the fly, he would have struggled to have set the action without it first allowing the neck to settle a bit.

    Returning a new purchase to the dealer is always good advice. You can't go wrong. But, if they are unable or unwilling to help, then take the following advice for what it is worth.

    It sounds like relief issues.

    TYPICALLY, if the bass has fret buzz at the lower frets, the neck needs more relief, if it buzzes at the higher frets it needs less.

    If you are game to mess with it yourself, I would suggest:

    1. Use a straight edge on the frets to check if there are high frets. The straight edge should rest fairly level accross any combination of three or four frets. If it doesn't, the high one will be obvious.

    2. Loosen the strings, then LOOSEN the trussrod (counterclockwise) about 1/4-3/8 of a turn. Let the bass sit overnight, tighten the strings to tension and check everything out again.

    If you still can't get rid of the buzz and get a good action, repeat step 2. If you repeat this more than a couple of times and it still doesn't help, it is probably something else.

    I would also suggest that you buy a new set of the strings that you prefer before you tweak all this stuff. That way, when you re-string it will make for less work. Otherwise changing the strings means pretty much starting over.

    Since it is new, it is possible that the neck is going to be a little wacky for six months or so, depending on how green the wood is. Some do it, some don't.


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