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String sounds when fretting

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by 555, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    Whenever i play a note, i always get some sort of string sound like a metal click on my left fretted hand. I've read many thread's on similar situations and most of them just advises to play softer and keep your fingers as close as the string as possible but then that just slows down my playing :meh: Look at metal players, they play their basses as hard as crap eg: ryan from mudvayne, i dont notice any fretting sounds from him. It can't be my bass either because i heard a clip from someone on this board whos got a harley 5 string bass which only cost 80 Euro's and it just sounds so sweet with no fret noises. Do i needa an amp with a tweeter because this is what i've read that gets rid of that annoying sound.

    Thanks all! (sorry for the long ranting lol) :hyper:
  2. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    Oh and also the set up of my bass is perfect (well i think so anyway) innotation is correct, strings are in tune, action not high or low, just in between which is comfortable to play. I also use Ernie Ball strings.
  3. need to change your technique. simple answer, if your set up is good to you, th eonly thing left is your technique
  4. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    Techique? like fret lighter? that just never works though.
  5. I'm frustrated by the same problem. I have three basses, and I get it with each one of them.

    It's particularly noticeable on the E and A strings, when I fret a note as the string hits the fret there is a definate audible "click"

    Not fret buzz due to action height, or neck relief but just the click as the string hits the fret.

    It's very frustrating, but I guess it's just a technique thing.

    Any tips?


  6. some clicking and clacking is unavoidable. In fact, when doing hammer-ons (using left hand to sound the note by fretting the note hard) this will be noticeable, but often this is desired as part of the "attack" of the note.

    When fretting otherwise, do it gently and try to coordinate your right hand going for the string w/ the left hand fretting. Thus, the right hand will automatically mute a lot of this sound out.

    It's mostly about technique and little to do about set up, although high action and looser string tension will create more "clicking".

    And as far as using an amp with a tweeter. A tweeter will help bring out the highs more clearly. This is opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. I'd say your most likely not in the market for a tweeter at all
  7. Thanks for the tips, I figured some clicking is inevitable on a fretted bass, but I'd really like to minimise it as much as possible.

    ....off to practice ;)
  8. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    I still don't get it, my innotation is pitch perfect, my action is moderate (any lower will result in clicking)
  9. Kwaito


    Feb 15, 2004
    are you sure you don't mean that your right hand is digging in too much and causing the "clicking" you speak of? - think Steve Harris, Billy Sheehan, Flea, etc.
  10. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I have the same problem and have largely minimized it through a combination of the following:

    -Having my bass set up by really good tech. I had it dialed in about 98%, intonation perfect etc. He got it that last 2% and it was a dig difference. He made a ton of very small adjustments that collectively have my bass playing much more naturally than it was before.

    -Switching to a lighter gauge of strings. Less tension = less effort to press down, therefor less noise upon contancting the frets.

    -Moved my right hand position closer to the neck (just in front of the neck pickup vs, directly over it). Not sure why but this made a difference.

    -Forcing myself to play as lightly as possibly with everything I do (still working on this).

    -Using left hand mutting whenever possible, i.e. my finger remains on a previous note as I fret the first one, but lifts enough that it chokes the note off. I find lifting makes fret noise as often as fretting does.

    -Changing my EQ setup on both bass and amp to have just enough mid and high to get the job done. This masks whatever extra noises I do create.

    -Enabling the compressor and limiter features on my effects unit.

    Collectively this has made a massive improvement in my sound, I'm still working on getting my technique to be as smooth and gentle as possible, but I think the results are good so far.
  11. Start playing Fretless! :bassist:
  12. I was having the same sort of problem with my bass awhile back. Sure it can be technique, but I had never had this problem in the past with any other bass.
    What I discovered to be my problem was neck relief/truss-related.
    Sure, there are basic standards for how much relief to have, but not all basses play properly set to these standards. I found that although I had a small credit-card thickness relief at my 8th-9th fret, this was too much. After adjusting the relief down to a very small amount (gotta have some), the fretting noises practically disappeared, the notes sounded better, the action was better and the bass was sounding alot more like I remembered it should. I play at A440 tune, and I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the extra string tension on the 35" scale. This is the first 35 incher I've ever owned, and there is definately more string tension than on other long scale basses.
    Something to check into..

  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    You know Magneto I never noticed fret noise being a problem until buying my ESP either. It too is 35" scale, my first extended scale bass.
  14. I agree. Same thing I noticed.. BUT.. the bass didn't make these noises when I first got it, so I felt confident that there wasn't some sort of neck/fret problem.
    The setup was extremely fast out of the box. The first bass I ever had to RAISE the action on instead of trying to lower it. There's that sweet spot on virtually every bass, where neck angle, string height, and intonation all seem to come together perfectly. It's sometimes hard to find and keep, but it's there.

  15. i had this problem while trying a new bass in the store... the dude there says the reason is my technique... apparentlyi push down on the string toward the fretboard instead of plucking it across the fretboard.
  16. i've decided that the guy at thestore was wrong... I went to a different store and played an ernie ball Sterling, no click at all.... funny thing is it was a brand spanking new bongo that had the click... and the guys at long and mcquade keep their instruments in top shape... so could different instruments just play differently?
  17. It could be anything from the setup on the basses, the type of strings on them, EQ settings on the amp you were testing with, etc.. Keep in mind that certain EQ frequencies amplify the noises we're talking about. With some settings, the sounds of your fingers rubbing on the strings sound louder than the actual notes being played.
    For me, most times, it's the setup. A higher action means more than just having to press the strings down further. It means you have to press them harder and faster. It also creates more tension on the notes you are fretting. It feels tighter and harder to press down. Each time you move to a different note, you're fretting faster. This faster movement can easily cause slapping and fretting sounds.
    More often than not, in store basses won't even have a decent setup, and honestly, I wouldn't even consider buying a bass until they can prove that it can be setup nicely. I don't care what name is on the headstock.
    My technique is not perfect, but it moves closer to perfection with a really good setup. With a bad setup, I feel like a beginner..