String noise

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by KingRazor, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. When I play faster, up beat songs I wind up generating a lot of string noise because of the way I pluck. I tend to pluck downward at an angle. Only thing is I can't really figure out any other way to play these parts. At least, not one that's healthy.

    I've tried getting heavier strings to see if that might help since they don't move as much when you play them but it hasn't done much. Thinking of maybe trying flat wounds or pressure/ground wounds?
  2. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    You are going to have to explain this one further. I understand downward strokes with a pick. I understand down thumbing. How in the world do you finger pluck down??? o_O
  3. download_zpse582f0e8.jpg

    The above quote is from David Hodge's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar".
  4. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I make the strings rattle on the frets as well. As long as it can't be heard through the amp it's alright. Just don't bother.
  5. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Excuse me but that is an upstroke when finger plucking. I don't care what any book says.
    Finger and string noise to include fret buzz: 1) Playing too hard; 2) Action too low, 3) Sloppy technique, 4) Tone control wide open exacerbates finger noise.

    Fret Buzz can be from all of the above plus uneven frets, so you'd need to have a luthier check and level if needed. Also improper neck relief needing a truss rod adjustment.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  6. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    But yeah it is easier to play clean on flats. Mindset; Approach, and Technique means far more than equipment. Leland Sklar is probably the epitome of clean play. The man is damn near perfect.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
    michael_t likes this.
  7. I can play slow songs pretty clean just fine. It's fast songs where I have string noise issues.
  8. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    One of the reasons I now only use flats.

    Edit: nevermind, I misread the OP.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
  9. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    FLATS ARE NOT A CURE FOR BAD TECHNIQUE!!!!! The reality that you are digging in harder on the faster songs and this is the source of your problem. Lighten up your plucking or raise your action.
    elgecko likes this.
  10. I've tried playing softer, but at that tempo the noise still happens just because of the angle at which I need to hit the strings in order to play that quickly. I could play quarter notes instead of eights maybe but it wouldn't sound right.

    I would prefer not to raise my action if I can avoid it because the lower action really helps make it easier to play.

    I've noticed the problem is worse on the lower strings, particularly the E. It's not really a problem on the D and G.
  11. If you need to adjust the "angle of attack" in order to play faster, that sounds to me like a technique issue. The angle at which to hit the strings should stay consistent regardless of the speed of playing.

    That said, I tend to be able to play more consistently with hex-core strings when playing faster as their stiffness seems to provide better feedback under my plucking fingers. For example, when I tried the DR Sunbeams (round core, 45-65-85-105) and the DR Nickel Lo-Riders (hex core, 40-60-80-100) back to back last year, I found the Lo-Riders easier to play faster on for their stiffness despite being smaller in gauges.
  12. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Just use a pick. Adjust your tone. Only the Ox was 'Lord Thunderfingers' all other mortals (except Steve Harris) use a pick for fast work. I do. And yes, it takes work to acquire a good smooth pick technique.
  13. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Yes, this is why it is bad technique. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Fix one or the other or fix both...
  14. The same thing happens to me sometimes but I don't necessarily consider it a bad thing. Many bass players use the string noise as part of their sound but that may not be the sound you're going for. Have you tried playing a bit closer to the bridge so the strings don't vibrate so much?
  15. You just have to do short movements using mostly the middle joint of your finger instead of moving the entire finger with the knuckle joint...
    Levin likes this.