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tacoma thunderchief fret buzz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by howie, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    hey everyone,

    i just received my tacoma thunderchief in the mail today and it sounds great! however, i am experiencing some fret buzzing approximately between the seventh and eleventh fret. can this be fixed by a basic setup, or should i send it back for a new one?

    i am new to the acoustic bass world so i am not really sure how to adjust the string height. any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. First, check the neck relief. Start by holding down the E string at the second fret with one hand, and on the 12th with the other. Look at the gap between the string and the frets in between those two points. You can move that around the neck and check the other strings. You are using the string as a straightedge. One way to test the relief is to feel it by holding the upper fret position with your right thumb and using your right index to tap on the string. You can feel how much travel you get before the string hits the fret.

    I own a fretless Thunderchief, and have played a few of the fretted models. If you haven't played much ABG it can be an adjustment because the action can seem high if you are used to an electric bass. You need enough relief and string height to let the strings move without hitting the fingerboard. You can get the action lower but you will have noise if you play hard.

    The setup is a composite of relief, nut height, saddle height, and the strings being used. So I won't give you had numbers for relief and string height. But I'd start by making sure that you have about 1/16" of relief at least, and that the strings aren't too low.

    Also, you have a bolt-on neck, so it is possible that somebody shimmed it in an effort to get the action down. It might be too much shim if that is the case.

    Good Luck.
  3. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    hey, thanks for the replies guys! i think what i need to do is losen the truss rod just a tad. from what i gathered from the gary willis setup guide, that will raise the strings a little. i don't think i need much, just enough to raise the string very slightly. does this sound like a possible fix?

    the fact that the you can't raise the saddles like you can on an electric just kind of threw me off and made me a little concerned. also, the bass is brand new so i think i can rule out the possiblity of that someone else shimmed it previously.
  4. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    hey everyone,

    basically i am just concerned because i bought this bass brand new. is the general consensus that this is something that can be fixed by a basic setup, or should i just send the bass back? i hope i didn't get a lemon.
  5. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    hey joshua,

    thanks for getting back to me. i just made the truss rod adjustment about fifteen minutes ago, but doesn't it take the wood awhile to set? i loosened it a quarter turn as i have read that a little bit goes a long way. i'm really hoping that does the trick. the fret buzz is pretty much only on the G string, primarily at the 8th and 9th fret.

    as far as taking it back to where i purchased it, i purchased it from samedaymusic.com so that option is out. they do have a 30 day return policy so i'm trying to figure out if i should just send it back for a new one or if this is something that is easily fixable.
  6. howie, were you able to get an idea of how much relief there is in the neck? Also, you could just have a high fret, or just a high fret end on the G side. There is no real rule on how much truss adjustment a neck will need. The idea is to go slow. But you don't have to treat it like a glacier. If you are seeing some relief using the "string as straightedge" approach, then you might want to check the leief on the frets near the problem area. You might be able to find that high fret end that way.

    If you feel like you are over your head on the Tacoma, or don't want to have it checked out by a lutheir, then returning it might be the best choice. I am basically my own luthier, though I have a few pros that I use if it is either critical or if it needs tools/jigs that i don't have. That said, I haven't seen many off the rack basses that wouldn't benefit from a pro setup. That would include checking the neck for straightness and checking the frets for level. It would be great if a new bass was 100% perfect, but most aren't. Part of the beauty of basses like a new Sadowsky is that you can have 100% confidence that the setup is perfect. That isn't the reality with most sub $1000 basses.
  7. joninjapan


    Aug 13, 2003
    Tokyo, Japan
    If you know a good guitar/bass tech, get a set-up done... but I would suggest you change your strings at the same time (I did not like those metalic sounding rounds), and that may involve a new nut. I did this with my Tacoma fretless, TomastikInfield Jazz Flats and the set-up, in my case it was a must since the TI Flats are somewhat lower tension strings. One advantage I had is that I also know the Tacoma rep. here in Japan, his tech is a true wizard, the difference when I got my bass back was unbelievable.
    The bass was great when I got it and amazing after the set-up... :D
  8. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    hey everyone,

    thanks for all of your feedback. i got the bass back from the tech at a local music store the other day and it definitely sounds much better. i think a couple other things could just be:

    1. i am just not use to the sound of acoustic intstruments as i have been playing electric for 10 years and never really played an acoustic bass before.
    2. i am not use to playing with a pick and was playing pretty aggresively with one when i was getting the unwanted buzzing sounds.

    thanks again everyone.