Strings click on fret when playing - need advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rumble On, May 29, 2018.


  1. Ideally you create a quick youtube video of the problem so that every one can see and hear it :)
     
  2. It doesn't sound like bad technique, but it's hard to "diagnose" here.
    Usually all the string noise comes in when you have a lot of treble in the signal, but you say the treble is all the way off in the amp. ANother simple thing you can try is to roll the tone down on the bass and see (or hear) if you still get the click through the amp.
    With the bass unplugged it could be normal and common, take into account that new strings tend to be bright and therefore, noisy
     
    Rumble On likes this.
  3. Bioflava

    Bioflava Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    Based on your description, it sounds pretty normal to me. Remeber that what you hear through your amp while practicing alone is totally different than what you hear in the context of a band. You should be muting the strings so they don't ring or make a ton of noise, but a bit of string noise is party of the sound of bass guitar IMO.

    This video is on the basics of plucking-hand-muting, but might give you some insight:
     
    Boogie Woogie and Rumble On like this.
  4. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    Ontario
    Maybe it is hitting the frets above where you are fretting.

    This can be caused by too little relief and high action to counter it. If you want to learn how to set up a bass - now is a perfect time...

    There are a number of threads on here about it. It is easy but you do need to do things in the right order...
     
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  5. Sounds like the strings hitting the frets when you are plucking the strings. I would suggest raising your action (the strings away from the fretboard via the bridge screws) and see if it goes away. If it does, that’s your issue.

    My setup is a compromise of finding the sweet spot where the strings aren’t hitting the frets and close enough action to where its not a struggle to fret the strings.

    If you are coming from guitar, you will naturally want to get the strings closer than what will probably work with bass.

    A good setup is a must, starting with getting the truss rod set for the neck to be flat enough to play, with just a touch of relief (bow).

    Technique will also play into this, so try and pluck the strings more horizontally than vertically if that makes sense. In essence, striking with a pick is more horizontal, thus less clicking of the strings on the frets.

    There are bassists (Geddy Lee, Steve Harris) that incorporate the sound of the strings hitting the frets into their sound and it works well. I can get a great growl this way as long as the action isn’t too close to choke out the notes on the frets.

    I hope this helps. There are lots of videos and how to versions on how to get a good baseline set up for your bass you can do yourself with a few tools. Good luck.

    I’m almost certain this is what is going on, and not a mechanical issue with your bass.
     
    Rumble On and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  6. madbass6

    madbass6 Inactive

    Jan 13, 2009
    I do not give consent to use any of my photos ! please respect that. thank you.
    Sounds like its time for a set up!
    action mite be to low!
     
    Rumble On and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  7. Thump C

    Thump C

    Dec 20, 2016
    Post a picture of your bass so we can see how your bass is set up?
     
  8. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    Ontario
    Those of your recommending he change his right hand attack...

    He stated the click happens when he frets - not when he plucks. Definitely a setup issue or he frets quite abruptly and hard...
     
  9. kurth83

    kurth83

    Mar 28, 2016
    I get this if I fret hard, I refer to it as 'clank' though.

    I always thought that it was a technique thing, and I can relate since mine isn't that good either.

    I have to work harder to avoid clank as I move up the fretboard, the first 3-5 frets I don't get it at all. So I would expect a higher action to increase clank, the opposite of what some said.

    My strings are ultra-light - this could make for slappier strings because the tension is low, making it easier to hit other frets when smacked down hard, especially as you move away from the nut.

    My action is low - which as far as I can tell helps.

    And unlike what some have suggested, it has nothing to do with plucking, I can get plenty of clank purely from the left hand.

    Try a hammer on (but without first fretting a nearby fret) on the E string around the 9th fret and you should get a nice clear clank, and the B string is even clankier, I am pretty sure that is what the OP is talking about, or at least that is what happens to me.

    Hoping to glean some ideas from this thread too.
     
  10. Since you are a beginner I’d say that it’s a technique issue that you eventually will get on top of. You’ll eventually learn to press down on the strings to fret a note with less power and more smoothly. You actually need less force to fret a note than you think you need. Lower string action or strings with less tension might help.
    Another thing that helps an awful lot is to learn to keep your fretting fingers as close to the strings as possible (eventually resting lightly on the strings) which helps to minimize the clank from pressing a string down too violently and even more importantly allows you to mute strings with that hand.
     
    Rumble On likes this.
  11. Since you are a beginner I’d say that it’s a technique issue that you eventually will get on top of. You’ll eventually learn to press down on the strings to fret a note with less power and more smoothly. You actually need less force to fret a note than you think you need. Lower string action or strings with less tension might help.
    Another thing that helps an awful lot is to learn to keep your fretting fingers as close to the strings as possible (eventually resting lightly on the strings) which helps to minimize the clank from pressing a string down too violently and even more importantly allows you to mute strings with that hand.
     
  12. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I put up with that sound for a couple of decades, until it got so irritating I had to make a change. I switched to LaBella tapewound flats and never looked back. Great tone, great sustain (way different from the tapewounds of the '60s I started out with), great feel on the fingers and they work just as well fretted or fretless.
     
    Mili and mikewalker like this.
  13. Shishka Bob

    Shishka Bob

    May 28, 2017
    CT
    Normal. When you turn up decent you won't hear that click over your amp.
     
    Mili likes this.
  14. OPie Taylor said it was when he fretted...i.e. before plucking....

    Either A or B or both...

    A. Action way too low.
    B. You are working waaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard fretting a note. Play the frets, not the board. You will touch the board but that is NOT the focal point, the fret is.

    Have it set up by a tech (good idea anyway) and if possible, play it in front of tech and ask them what they think you are doing incorrectly...

    My late big bro played bass for close to fifty years. He preached to me from when I was just a little crumb snatcher, conservation of energy. Use just enough to play the note/phrase and no more...unless dynamics call for more at a spot then after, back off. Work on touch while playing notes....slowly.

    Tips I got from him: Never 'slap' a fret hand finger down on a note to fret it (unless called for) as it WILL snap, crackle, pop...and most folks have four fingers on their fretting hand. Use all four.. Conservation of energy... Never slide up and down with the index finger. Force yourself to use all fingers available...

    Get a veteran bass player to teach you a couple of slow 'lounge walks' with the backward downs... Those are some of the best exercises on the planet one can play to limber up fingers, improve touch and accuracy, crossing strings up and down, and stretching fingers...and to listen too....

    And get a metronome. Most folks hate a metronome because a metronome will light your ass up every time you daydream... Some just toss the metronome in a box because of their own timing issues, not the metronome... One of the funniest things I've heard "I can't play with a metronome at all but I have perfect time...ask my drummer." Says a lot for both he and the drummer... :bag:

    Enough of my blathering.....

    Good luck with fixin what needs fixin.... and learning bass...
     
  15. Spidey2112

    Spidey2112

    Aug 3, 2016
    Yep... female listed, though... we can't agree on everything, right? :D
     
    Rumble On and Loring like this.
  16. What type/brand of strings? I would think some noise or “click” would be normal, but I’m not so sure how it is picked up by the pickup as it will only pick up the vibration of the string. My son has a MIM Jazz Bass, and it will clack when fretted, but not picked up electronically. The only time it is heard is when when the amp is quiet. He’s done a lot of recording work with it, and it’s never show up on tape.
     
    Rumble On likes this.
  17. BassikBrad

    BassikBrad Bass Face Brad Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2018
    Las Vegas. New Mexico
    I gave up using flat wound strings because of that irritating clack noise.
     
  18. bumperbass

    bumperbass

    Jun 19, 2012
    Geez. A picture of your action/relief, etc, please?
     
  19. I believe flatwound strings make a bit less fret noise, not sure why but I just made the switch and I believe that is the case.
     
  20. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Almost there. IME this is the type of noise associated with undeveloped left/right synchronisation. For maximum fluidity, notes should be stopped by the left hand at the same time as played by the right, not before. If the note is stopped (LH) before being played (RH) there will be a click. If you stop too late the note will be dead or might ring a little from what essentially becomes a LH hammer-on preceded by a thud. Try to play legato, giving each note as much of its full value as possible, and listen for dead air between the notes - work on synchronisation to eliminate/reduce the dead air and the clicks will soon disappear.
    YMMV...
     
    Rumble On and mboki like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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