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String buzz G5123B

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by OkieDownLow, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. OkieDownLow


    Sep 5, 2013
    I've had my Gretsch G5123B for about a month and a half. Last night I decided I was ready to tweak the setup more to my liking. It had quite a bit of relief in the neck. I prefer a neck that is as close to dead flat as possible. So I tweaked the truss rod a little and got it nice and straight. Played like a dream but buzzed quite a bit on the 3rd and 4th strings on the low frets. OK, no big deal put a little relief back in and get on with life....

    So I reset everything to where I started and began to really pay attention to how each string sounded up and down the neck. Even with a fair amount of relief, the 3rd string has a tendency to buzz below about the 7th fret when played with the right hand above the neck pickup. If you pluck near the bridge it doesn't buzz very easily. But if you want a rounder tone from plucking near the neck, you have to play with a very light touch to avoid buzzing. For some guys it might be fine, but it doesn't suit the way I like to play and my other bass (and previous basses) were not so touchy. I'd raise the action a smidge but it's already higher than I think it should be. Not quite sure what to do about it. Any suggestions?
  2. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    It sounds like you have made sure the neck, bridge, nut are all square, so ... could you be having a problem with your strings? I mean, I'm no expert, but can't see how one bass would be any different than another once all that stuff has been taken care of. String tension will be a little lower than the published figures, right? because you're using 34" scale strings on a 32" scale.

    My G5123B's neck is a little high around the 9th fret, which of course can cause some buzzing, but it sounds like you've ruled out anything like that.
  3. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    Definitely verify what strings you are using.

    With floating bridges like that, also make sure that the buzzing is not due to the bridge. Is the string getting very close to the body of the bridge and not just touching the saddle anymore?
  4. TGLbass


    Aug 20, 2010
    For the neck= put a capo on the first fret- hold down E string at 12th fret- feeler gauge @ .015-.017 -- slider under string at the 5th to 7th fret. That's where or close to where the relief should be-- the rest may be the nut the frets the bridge etc etc .

    Roundwound strings may always have a little buzz here and there. Some basses you have to play closer to the bridge to keep the buzz down.

    Sometimes you can't hear the buzz when the rest of the band is playing. Listen to Chris Squire bass isolated track on the song "Roundabout". He has lots of fret buzz. It was part of his sound. There are alot of examples of buzz that are much less noticeable . Bad buzz- the worst scenario is when the buzz causes the string to sound dead cause it kills the vibration. John Enthwhistle=" some fret buzz is alright- just make it buzz the same all over the neck".

    There can be problems with high frets and heel up type warping. A good repair guy can figure out the tricky stuff.
  5. OkieDownLow


    Sep 5, 2013
    I'll dig out the capo and the feeler gauges tonight. I'll also put a straight edge on it. Maybe there's a hump in a fret somewhere that I'm just not seeing. Might have a set of flats I could throw on it as well. I'm a fairly new convert to flats but I've been digging them on my Jazz. Wish I had tried them years ago.

    There's good buzz and bad buzz, if that makes sense. If it were a not-so-obnoxious, Entwistle type buzz, I could work with it. But this is an overpowering and not at all cool sounding BWAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNGGG. It's more "oh crap his bass broke" than "Eminence Front", if that makes sense.

    If it only buzzed when the string is played open I'd blame the nut, but that wouldn't have any effect on fretted notes. The action is high enough that there's no way it's buzzing at the heel. And if you place the neck by your ear, you can tell the buzz is coming from the fret above the note you're playing.

    If I don't find something wrong with the frets or the setup, I'll try different strings.
  6. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    For a minute there I was confused by that, but I think by "above the note", you mean towards the bridge. So it does sound like the action is too low for the strings. Mine came with some fairly light gauge GHS flats, and I upgraded them to a La Bella set where the A string was the same gauge as the GHS E string. A lot smoother now.
  7. Projectile


    Feb 5, 2009
    It sounds like you have a slightly high or low fret. I'd invest in a fret rocker. It's just a straight edge that you can lay over only 3 frets at a time. It will rock like a 3 legged table if the fret in the middle is high, or if one the frets to the side is low. That will narrow it down right away to what fret(s) are giving you problems. If it's only one or two high frets, then you probably don't need a whole fret job. Just a little bit of filing on the problem area might clear it up. Tiny, almost invisible differences in fret height can cause buzzing when you are playing with low action.
  8. OkieDownLow


    Sep 5, 2013
    Yes Donn, it's buzzing on the next fret closer to the bridge.But the action is too high as it is. It is most certainly not low. And again, it's only one string that's bugging me. I'll get some measurements tonight. A change of strings wouldn't hurt. I don't love the ones that came on it. Need to dig around and see if I have a spare set lying around.

    Projectile, I think you might be right. I'm going to get out the straight edge tonight and give it a closer look.

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