String click

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Titanium, May 15, 2022.

  1. Titanium

    Titanium

    Mar 20, 2021
    Hello, I just restrung my bass for the first time yesterday, and I noticed after I put the strings on that there is a clicking sound that wasn’t there before, immediately after plucking a string. Im guessing they’re hitting the frets, but I can’t see where. I went with a lighter gauge string, so I’m guessing that might have something to do with it. My question is, what’s the proper way to remedy that? Is it as simple as raising the saddle height, or is there a better way to go about this?
     
  2. Samatza

    Samatza

    Apr 15, 2019
    Australia
    Usually with lighter strings you need to adjust the truss rod to set the neck relief correctly.
    This is the most probable cause of the clicking you are hearing. I’ve also found that with lighter gauges you need to readjust your plucking to compensate.
    There are lots of setup videos already available, if your not confident in doing this yourself go to a good guitar tech for a proper setup.
     
    Goatrope and Titanium like this.
  3. ^^^This.

    Whenever you install a set of strings that are different from the old ones, the first thing you should do, after the new strings have had enough time to settle and are tuned to proper pitch, is to check the amount of the neck relief and tweak the truss rod accordingly. Going to a lighter gauge means you may need to loosen the truss rod; tighten it if you're going heavier.
     
  4. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Yes, you may need to adjust truss rod relief and saddle height. I'd also check intonation as changing gauge often affects that as well.
     
  5. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    If you're playing fingerstyle (especially if you're digging in hard close to the neck) that clicking noise might be the strings slamming into the last fret. It typically happens when changing to lighter and more flexible strings (or if the neck has a "ski jump"... but hopefully that's not the case here).

    Raising the saddles might help but in my experience you will probably have to raise the saddles a LOT to get rid of the clicking (assuming the clicking isn't caused by something else) unless you also adapt your right hand technique or change the position where you attack the strings (which will obviously affect your tone, not necessarily for better/worse, just different).

    Going back to less flexible string might actually be a better solution than making compromises with your setup or style of playing. At least it was for me. With the exception of Pyramid Golds and some Thomastik strings I never use lighter than 45-105 (and live in constant frustration over the poor selection of short scale strings that doesn't behave like rubber bands...) because being able to dig in hard close to the neck without buzzing/clicking is a huge part of my playing style, at least for some songs/genres.

    Loosening the truss rod (which is something you would usually need to do when changing to lower tension strings) will not get rid of the clicking IF it's caused by slamming the strings into the last fret. In fact, it might actually make it worse. Which would need the saddles to be set even higher to get rid of the clicking. Compromises...

    Any issues caused by the truss rod being too tight (not enough relief) when changing to lighter strings would normally manifest itself as fret buzz in lower frets and that doesn't seem to be the case here.

    Finally I just want to say that it's difficult to diagnose these things online and the clicking might of course be caused by something else. But I strongly suspect "last fret clicking". It's not easy to spot, the strings will only VERY briefly slam into the fret when you attack the strings. It can be VERY audible though and extremely annoying.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
  6. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I had that problem once and found that the string that my right-hand fingers would land on in the follow-through would click against the first few frets. The nut was cut too low and needed to be replaced or repaired if you know how to. You can test that by putting a piece of card stock in the slots.