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Solving this problem, once and for all

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by yyz, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. yyz


    Aug 17, 2004
    Bumpass, Virginia
    I don't want this to sound like a "noob" question. I've been playing for 2 years and I don't play with a band so I usually practice without an amp. Well, ever since I started playing I developed an aggressive finger attack. And for 2 years I've been playing like that and I always noticed a clicking sound whenever I pluck the strings. It wasn't an issue up until I started getting serious about the bass. I've tried everything I can to fix it. There's one problem though, I know that raising my action up will fix it but I have a lot of trouble playing with my action so high. I've just become so acustomed to the low action. Could someone please give me some tips on how to get rid of this "clicking" sound? Thanks for the help.
  2. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Well, a clicking sound isn't that bad. Just ask Steve Harris...

    One thing that I've noticed and you could try: I also get a clicking sound if I stop two strings at a time on the same fret (a perfect fourth) and play the higher one. Let's say that I'm playing an A on the D string, 7th fret with my index finger, but I'm also pressing the A string with the same finger, maybe because I'm playing an alternating root-fifth bassline. Most of the times I'll get a click along with the A note. If I want to get rid of it, I must move my index finger according to the string I need to fret (Don't fret both strings. Just the one you need. Hope you understand what I'm trying to say).
  3. Playing closer to the bridge can help you... also, make sure your volume is at a good level. A few times I'll wonder why I'm really digging into the strings and then realize my amp is way down. :p
  4. yeah play closer to the bridge if you can so your not pressing the strings onto the frets.... And just try to play lighter I suppose, I dont think there is a way to play low action with a big attack and not get the clack sound?
  5. It's all about the way you attack the string. Just practice plucking without making it click. There's a point at which you should probably raise your action to avoid clicks, but it's pretty low. If you know how to pluck the string, you won't have any trouble when you barre the strings either. The trick is to pluck the string in such a way that it vibrates in a plane parallel to the fretboard, and not to pluck too hard until you want to make it click.
  6. long fingernails also causes "clicky" sound :eyebrow:
  7. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY

    I had a similar clicking sound. From the way it sounded, I could have sworn it was originating from the guitar itself. After weeks of trying to figure out what it was, I was shocked to find out (through experimentation) that it was actually the edge of my index finger's fingernail. The nail was faintly contacting the string with nearly every strum.

    I clipped and filed, and voila! No more clicking sound.

    I know you are a fairly experienced player, but don't overlook that as at least one possibility, yyz.
  8. Rocinante_x1

    Rocinante_x1 Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

    Aug 22, 2004
    Washington State
    Yeah. i get that clicking sound alot. I sorta like it with certain songs. but I know what its caused from. its caused from striking the string Downwards (towards the pickup) it can be fixed by pulling the string upward. thats all.
    I hope it helps.

  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Use a lighter touch.
  10. OrderingEntropy


    Jun 17, 2005
    As a general rule, I play with a soft handed atack when im just grooving. However, in the rare instance that someone talks me into playing metal, i play agressively. The clicking can sort of add to metal if you do it right. If we're talking about the same click.
  11. Boom Belly

    Boom Belly

    Jul 20, 2005
    I too am bothered by a clicking sound, so much so that once in a well someone in the audience will mention it during the break.

    The funny thing is it doesn't happen all the time, and depending on what amp I am using sometimes not at all.

    Maybe it's just one of those things in life you can never really
    quite figure out.

    p.s. I have been playing bass for 25 years and still have no answer.
  12. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    Well if you practice without an amp you tend to attack aggressively because otherwise you can't hear yourself. So start using an amp (and on a proper volume, too) or use a lighter touch.
  13. Some amps or EQ settings may mask the problem, but I recommend practicing with the most unforgiving setup possible so you can tell it's there and work to correct it.
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I think Phe and Lemur have good ideas. I notice in your profile that you have a Tascam "trainer", use it along with some decent headphones whenever you practice if you can't use your amp. Also make sure your string height is realistic, to get the action really low pick-up heights and neck adjustments can be in order. I'm am often surprised what people put up with in regards to there set-up, it's not that they are ignorant or anything, it's just what they are used to. Sometimes thing can go out of wack gradually and it's hard to notice, so make sure it's cool.
  15. You could try turning up your volume on your amp way up... that'll be sure to keep you from digging into the strings. :)

    Especially if you have noise-sensitive neighbors...
  16. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Relax your hands.
    Practice playing everything at slow tempos with a very light, repcise touch.
    Relax your hands.
    Raise the action on your bass until the click goes away, then gradually lower it as you adjust to playing with a light touch to avoid clicks.
    Did I mention to relax your hands? That one's important :)
  17. You could try lowering your pickups. I was in the same boat as you. Although I prefer a little clicking sometimes to accent certain songs. I lowered the pup on my P-bass and it helped. If you're plucking aggressively, you shouldn't lose much volume.