Set-up question (new strings)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassbourne, May 1, 2020.


  1. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    So I switched from medium Fender nickel-rounds (45, 65, 85 100) to Fender 9050L flats (45, 60, 80, 100) and now I have a lot of buzzing on the D and A strings in particular. The buzzing starts around the 6th or 7th fret and increases as I go up the neck, peaking around the 12th fret before slowly phasing out as I reach the end of the fretboard.

    The bass was set up perfectly with the medium rounds (nice low action, straight neck, no fret buzz anywhere) and I was hoping to not have to raise the action too much, but I'm guessing that's the answer? More relief and then raise the saddles too?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  2. AEVAREX

    AEVAREX

    Jun 10, 2013
    Western Ma.
    I would try a slight truss rod adjustment to add a touch more relief before bringing the action up any. The two smaller diameter strings in the new set may have reduced the tension and allowed the neck to loose some relief. With low action and very little relief even the smallest reduction in tension can cause issues.
     
  3. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    Exactly what he said.
     
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  4. dramatwist

    dramatwist

    Sep 27, 2019
    ...have a good tech set it up for you...
     
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  5. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Thanks for the response. The Fender rounds were actually 45, 65, 85, 105. I accidentally wrote 100 for the E.
    Would you still recommend adding more relief? Also, would the fact that the buzzing goes all the way up the fretboard mean the saddles may also need raising or could more relief fix that? I ask because I heard that buzzing from too little relief usually affects lower frets and buzzing from too little saddle height affects higher frets. I could have heard wrong though...
     
  6. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    This will definitely be my plan B if it's not an easy fix for me.
     
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  7. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    Without actually having the instrument in front of me it's risky to give specific advice, but in this case I'd bet you need to loosen the truss rod a very small amount.

    It's pretty much a given with my own basses whenever I happen to switch string gauges. When I went from 45-65-85-105 to 40-60-80-100 last fall I had to loosen the truss rod about an ⅛ of a turn to add relief.
     
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  8. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019


    Here's a little vid of me playing it. Excuse the noodling and background noise. Also I haven't tuned the bass up or checked intonation yet. Will tune before further adjustments obviously. As you can see the fret buzz is worst on the D string around the 12th fret, but starts around the 6th. The A string seems better now after a slight truss rod adjustment and saddle raise. I'm guessing I should just continue to raise the D then?
     

    Attached Files:

  9. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Ah okay thanks. Maybe it needs a little more relief still then.
     
  10. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I would NOT adjust the truss rod for action height purposes.

    The truss rod needs to be adjusted FIRST for proper relief for the set of strings you are using, regardless of how high or low you plan to set the action. That settings can vary between players, as well as the method of determing the proper relief. Me personally, I set my neck ruler-straight, then I add just enough relief for my eye to detect (with the strings at pitch). This has worked for me for a long time. However, there are measurements available and suggested by good guitar techs. And I believe those same techs will agree with me that setting the truss rod adjustment is a separate procedure from setting action height, although they do interact. (And, gosh, I hope one of those great guitar techs come along and straighten out my explanations here!). Also, if the relief is properly set and you have buzzing problems, you could have a fret level issue.

    Once that relief is set, the action height can be set and buzzing problems can be investigated.
     
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  11. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Thanks for the tip. Which strings and gauge do you use or does that vary? My neck is fairly straight now with a small amount of relief (definitely less than a credit card). The only real buzzing left is on the D string. Haven't been able to adjust the D string saddle height yet as one of the screws is tight and the tool I have sucks (the handle is loose which means I can't get any grip on the screw). About to go and buy a new one.
     
  12. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Hopefully someone can describe the process of determining a high fret and how to figure out which fret is the offender. It might need some leveling or something as simple as tapping the fret back down into its slot.

    My case in point: I just went to a lighter gauge set of strings (EB Power Slinkies to EB Super Slinkies) and as a result, the slightly lesser tension caused the neck to be straighter. The maker of my bass sez it’s okay to loosen the truss rod with the strings tuned up to pitch. So without looking at the action height, I loosened the truss rod until I had the relief that I was going for. Then I set the action down lower as desired. The reason for all of this is that I just turned 62 and I’ve used big strings and a fairly high action because played pretty hard all my life. But I’m seeing a few older (okay, vintage...:D) players talk about having hand problems from age. I don’t have any problems just yet and I know that I can’t play that hard forever. So I’m training myself to player with smaller strings. And I set the action so that it rattles considerably if I play too hard.
     
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  13. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Good to know! I play quite hard too most of the time, so I'm sure that doesn't help the buzzing.

    I'm hoping the D string just needs a little raise as the buzzing is gone on the other strings now and the D is the only one I wasn't able to raise much due to a stiff screw. Will give that a go first. If not, I'll either take it to a luthier or go back to medium rounds until I have the funds to buy some medium flats as there was no problem at all with those.
     
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    You heard correctly.
     
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  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    THe way I read it you need to do two things:

    1. Tune the instrument - there's no point making adjustments when the instrument is out of tune. You need to bring the strings to tension.

    2. Raise the D and G saddles.

    EDIT:
    Just re-listened to the vid. All the strings are out of whack. Tune the instrument. Measure the relief at the 7th fret while fretting at the first and 17th fret. Measure the height of each string at the 12th fret and report back.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
    One Way, Vinny_G, imabuddha and 3 others like this.
  16. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Thanks for the response.

    As mentioned in my post with the video, I did indeed forget to tune before making the vid. However I've been tuning before making any adjustments. I've set the intonation now too and I just checked the measurements.

    They are the following:

    String height: 0.3 cm at the 12th fret (on all strings).
    Relief: 0.1 cm at the 7th fret.

    Not sure if you work in inches. Hopefully these numbers are of use to you.
     
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  17. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    That's a lot of relief and a lot of string height. There shouldn't be any buzz at all with those settings. Are you sure about those measurements ? In the video the strings don't appear to be anywhere near that height.
     
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  18. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    Here's a couple of photos. The first is the relief (with the first and 17th fret pressed) and the second the string height. The left side of the ruler is mm. So I guess that's roughly 0.1mm relief and 0.3 mm action.

    95332461_563917787587080_5633752690002493440_n.jpg 95838882_2897184963702129_3155248855868506112_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  19. bassbourne

    bassbourne

    Nov 20, 2019
    And a little update.

    I tried raising the D saddle as that's the only string that still had quite heavy buzzing (especially between the 8th and 15th frets) and it didn't seem to be making any difference. I don't want to continue to raise it even further as it already feels a little unbalanced now when playing.
     
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    WOW! I can't see how you would get string buzz with settings that high That's 3 times the relief I normally set and almost twice the string height. I'm out of ideas.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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