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Severe fret buzz in only 1 area

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Musicman1901, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Hello everybody. I have never been comfortable doing set-ups myself for the most part but I am sick of spending money on it and was thinking I may be able to diagnose and fix this problem without taking my bass to a shop. I have a Wal MKI that is having some very bad fretbuzz issues. The buzz is the worst on the 1st fret and slowly gets better as I go up the neck. Once I get up to the middle area of the neck the buzz is gone unless I dig in harder. The buzz is so bad on the 1st fret the note barely rings through. If I pluck my open strings hard enough I even get fretbuzz on the open strings. I tried raising the saddles a little but it didn't help. Is this a truss rod issue? If so what needs to be done to help fix the problem. Thanks everybody.
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Yes it sounds like the truss rod needs adjustment. Loosen it a quarter turn and see if that helps.
  3. thebassbuilder


    Mar 7, 2012
    Spartanburg SC
    guitar builder, Meyers Guitars
    Try two things.

    Adjust the truss rod by turning counter clockwise and do it a 1/4 turn at time. After each 1/4 turn re-tune and play the bass again. As long as you do not have to put any searious relief in the neck (neck shaped like a Utoward the strings) you should be good to go. If the relief starts getting to high for your taste, then you need a new nut cut.

    I am not sure where you live but the temp change could have made you neck relief change. Or your bass has had the strings changed so many times it has cut the nut down to far and is starting to rest on the frets.
    Try turning the trus rod. This is simple and can always be turned back. Just keep a mental record where you started in regards to neck straightnes and amount of turns, if you want to put it back to the way it was.
  4. Need a new nut cut? It is an old bass. (1984) Is it possible I could need the nut replaced? I just went to adjust the rod a little and realized it's metric and I don't have the allen key to adjust it so I'm gonna have to see if my friend has one I can borrow. I hope a quick adjustment to the truss rod fixes it.
  5. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Do this. I can pretty much say this will fix the issue.
  6. I turned the truss rod a quarter turn then waited a bit and turned it another quarter. I would say 80% of the buzz is gone. It's still buzzing on the first fret of the E string and on the open D if I dig in. I did notice that the strings are sunk into the nut pretty deep compared to any of my other basses. I'm wondering if the nut could be part of the problem. I didn't think anything of it until it was mentioned and now that I look the strings really do look unusually deep into the nut.
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    It's not a question of how far below the top of the nut the strings are, but of how much clearance there is over the first fret. Press the string down between the second and third fret and look at the clearance of the string over the first fret. The string should just clear the first get by the thickness of a piece of paper or less. The nut is too low if the string is actually touching the first fret. Check all strings this way.
  8. Thanks for the tip turnaround. I checked them all and the E and A strings have just a tiny bit of clearance. The D and G strings are touching the frets. You think a new nut will fix the issue? I am also still getting TONS of buzz when I fret the first fret on my E string.
  9. Kamatori


    Jan 20, 2012
    You could cheat a little and slip some paper or foil in the nut slots. It works in a pinch but a new and properly cut nut would no doubt be better. The fret could also be lifting, so try tapping it in on the G side with the back of a screwdriver.
  10. Thanks for the tip
  11. Isotonic


    Oct 19, 2011
    Round Rock TX
    There are series of four videos on YouTube sponsored by Elixer strings. In them John Curruthers (famous tech) goes through the basics of setup in four steps. They are very straight forward videos that have helped me to understand the setup process, and it is a process. All of my basses are now setup perfectly.