String clacking revisited

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by GraffixNyc, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. GraffixNyc


    May 3, 2004
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    ok. I have a spector euro 5 and I play 1/2 step down. My action is as low as possible without getting any buzz. When playing with my right hand I get a clacking sound. I know this topic has been visited and revisited and what I learned from reading topics here is that some people say raise the action and others say if you raise that action there will be more clacking. I'm positive the clacking is coming from my hand hand when I attack. I also read try playing with a lighter touch and turn the volume up but I get the clacking even if I'm not playing too hard. I really love having low action and don't really want to raise it if I don't have to but I would really like to get rid of the clacking sound. Is there something I can do with my right hand that will make it clack less? I'm pretty much self taught so I'm leaning more towards that it is a technique problem more so then a set up issue.
  2. I used to have the same problem many moons ago. :) It was my right hand technique. Make sure you are plugging the strings parallel to the bass and are not pushing them down on the fretboard while plugging. That caused the clicking noise in my case.
  3. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I also used to have the clacking problem. It is a technique-related thing but just keep practicing and it should fix itself. The fact that you notice it's there is already the first step in fixing it. Part of it has to do with how your fingers are addresssing and plucking the string. Part of it has to do with the sychronization between your right and left hands. Just relax. Think of your left hand as how a horn player might think of his fingerings and think of your right hand as a horn player might think of his blowing through his/her instrument. The right hand is what gives us our voice (if we pluck w/the right) so it takes awhile to develope (if not a lifetime). Try playing very simply and focus on not clacking. The clacking probably starts happening when you try to get busy and tense up. I think I discovered I had the clacking problem after I had already been playing for 6 or 7 years.

  4. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Oh yeah - forgot to add one last thing:

    I've noticed that the most difficult thing about playing the bass is to learn how to make the stuff you don't want to sound not sound. Control. Muting.

  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Use a lighter touch.
  6. Diowulf

    Diowulf Guest

    Aug 4, 2004
    San Rafael CA
    Whats the matter? you don't want to have that Steve Harris clacking? :)

    j/k...I had a little problem with that, when I sat down one day and really payed attention to my right hand technique. I noticed that I was plucking the stings down toward the bass and not toward me. So this might be your problem too. Also strightening your wrist might help that, and don't have it rest on the body itself.

    hope his helps.
  7. That would most likely solve the problem if he'd complain about fret buzz.

    BTW, where in Cologne are you? I used to live in Braunsfeld.
  8. Everyone has overlooked the fact that you tune 1/2 step down. That means string tension is a bit less. Hence, the tendency to "clack" is increased. Try a slightly heavier gage string. This will increase the tension and reduce the "clack". Of course you may have to adjust the truss rod a little, depending on how drastic a gauge change you've made and how springy your neck is.
  9. Sounds like a technique issue, but make sure the treble boost on the bass is turned down. Spector's treble control can get a bit sizzly at high positions.
  10. whiteXcorpse


    Oct 21, 2004
    this might just be my imagination, but it seems if my fretting hand and plucking hand aren't totally synchronized I get alot of clicking. Try palying slowly with the same attack and see what happens...
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    buy a new bass.

    it pains me to say this, but i suffered as you do, with my warwick, until i bought a MM. my warwick clacks like crazy. what i've learned: i can either play REALLY lightly, raise my action to a point that i don't like, knock all the highs out until it sounds like mud, or play my MM. my MM doesn't clack one bit, and the action is what i like to think of as stupid low. i also played for a year in a band that tuned down a half step and it didn't effect the MM at all.

    ps. nickel string as opposed to steel helped a bit, but not much.
  12. GraffixNyc


    May 3, 2004
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Thanks for all of your input!
    I'm now on a mission to correct this problem!!!