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TBers I Need Help… New bass buzzing like crazy

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ejaggers, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    I bought a Squier VM SS Jaguar from a music store site unseen. The store said that since it’s used, there is no warranty. The frets were horrible so I took it to a luthier that filed the edges and set it up. I think they need to be filed even more, but the major problem is that it still buzzes, although the action is not low. I took it back and he raised it a bit, and said that’s all he can do.

    What can I do about this? Is it that a better luthier can do something different? I don’t want to pay twice and still have a buzzing bass. I change the strings that came on it, which were buzzing, to GHS pressure wound. So what can possible be the problem. Is there someone in the Dallas/Ft Worth area that can fix it?????

  2. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Check the nut, the neck, and the bridge. If all else fails, buy a replacement neck.
  3. The tech that did the setup should have given you an explanation of where the buzz was coming from and what it would take to fix the problem.. If he can't do it, take it to another Tech. Or, learn to do setups and diagnose your problem. You can learn quickly, there is a lot of info here, in the sticky notes and on You Tube.
  4. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    + Infinite to this golden piece of advice. Learning to do your own is fun & more cost efficient.
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    a little buzz never hurt anyone!

    maybe it's your touch/technique. my bass buzzes off & on depending on me at that moment. i own my buzzing, though! it sounds like growl if you work it the right way. i hope you find peace! gl
  6. Sounds like a warped neck to me. This guy has done several for me.

  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Take it to a decent repair guy. The guy you took it to sounds like a pretty bad tech. It sounds to me like it just needs a fret level and recrown.
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Moved to Hardware, Setup, and Repair. Good luck with your bass.
  9. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    All good advice:

    The nut looks off to me, and the buzzing sounds like it's possibly coming from the bridge. How do you stop a buzzing bridge?

    I am questioning the tech’s ability, because he did a setup on my Coronado II, and a different tech pointed out a few mistakes he made. But I don’t really trust the second tech either because he’s all about the $$$ instead of quality customer service. I can do simple setups myself, with emphasis on simple.

    When I play aggressively it buzzes, but none of my other basses buzz using that touch. I’m not convinced that growl comes from buzzing.

    Actually it’s driving me nutts, and for me, that’s a very short drive.

    I doesn’t look warped, and the tech said he did a TR tweak. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check this guy out.

    He also said he could try recown & leveling, but the tone of his voice meant “no guarantees”. Although the stores said it was used, it came with the plastic still on the PUP’s and PG, so it looks new too me. A new bass should not need this done. My tech wants $100 to do this. The bass didn’t cost but $130, $60 for tech, and $25 for new strings. It’s not worth much more than this.

    Replacing the neck on this bass is definitely not worth it. I bought this bass because so many TBers recommended it in the SS Jag club. I wanted a solid body SS bass, and my first mind told me to get a Mustang.
  10. RLowVaughn


    May 12, 2012
    Sounds to me like you have a neck/truss rod adjustment problem.

    The first thing a good technician should do after the frets are leveled and fine tuned with a fret rocker type tool (rocker levels any combination of three frets) is adjust the neck. With a capo holding the strings down on the first fret and a finger holding the strings down where the neck meets the body there should be a .015 gap at the fret midway between those two points.

    Second should be the string height (action) at the bridge. the strings should be 4/32's of an inch on the E string going to 3/32's to the G string....lol, he said G string....

    Third should be the height at the nut, the strings should be .022 inches above the first fret.

    If all those numbers are kosher and the frets are properly leveled and dressed then more than likely the neck on your Squier is warped/twisted which means you'd be best advised to take the neck off throw it away and buy a new neck because if the neck is twisted you only make one adjustment right by making another adjustment wrong.
  11. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    You could be throwing good money after bad but, I'd get the fret job done by a competent pro.

    Better yet, use this as an opportunity to try it yourself. The money you've spent is already wasted if the bass is junk. You might be able to use it as an experiment to increase your set up skills. Giving someone another hundred bucks seams silly when you could use that money for tools to do the job yourself. If you ruin the bass, who cares? It was already junk to begin with . I'd bet that you will be able to get it into a usable state with a little work and you will learn something that you can use on your current and future basses.

    Good luck!
  12. If you don't have a trained eye it's easy to miss a slight warp. Of course it could be something else entirely. $100 for fret level/recrown? Seems high to me. Seriously, take it to this guy. He will tell you what's wrong, most likely for free unless he has to take it apart, and then you can decide from there. He couldn't stay in business for 20 years located right next to UNT school of music if he didn't know his stuff.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    ^ this. Your tech sounds like an imbecile. A good tech will be able to spot anything that cannot be fixed and explain why, not just tell you that "that's the best I can do".
  14. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Couldn't have said it better....
  15. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    Okay I took it to sky music today, and Eric said that my ex-tech could have rounded the frets better, and I agree. But for the most part, he said the fret job wasn’t bad. But for the buzzing, he’s gonna fix the nut, tweak the TR some and set it up. This has already been tried. He also said that this is the nature of a SS bass, which concerns me a little because my Coronado is SS and there’s no problem with it. Oddly enough, they had a SS Jag there, and the frets were horrible like mine were, and it buzzed as well. So I’m wondering if the Squier VM Jag is junk????

    I’ve been an advocate for Squier because of my P, but I cannot recommend the VM Jag from what I’ve seen so far.
  16. Mossmatic

    Mossmatic Compulsive Modder

    Jul 19, 2012
    ++1 On that... I've been doing set-ups, repairs, etc. for some time now... It's not a full time gig, mostly word-of-mouth recommendations and what-not, but I would NEVER tell a customer "that's the best I can do" and hand their guitar back.

    It sounds to me like he's either a complete hack and can't figure out what's wrong with it, or he just doesn't want to bother.

    Not too long ago, a guy brought me an old (late '80s/early '90s), plywood Epiphone P-bass that had a buzzy neck and was lousy with dead spots. Sure enough, it had a twisted neck. He had a particular sentimental attachment to this bass and asked me what could be done to fix it. Personally, I thought he would have been better off to find a dumpster for it and have done with it, but I told him his options.

    The first was basically a non-option, as I really couldn't see attempting any heroic measures (removing the fretboard, planing the neck flat and putting a new fretboard on) to rescue a 20+ year old $99 bass. The second option was to simply replace the neck. I actually tried to find another neck for the bass, but since the neck pocket was not of "standard" Fender dimensions, I had no luck. But at least I told him what was wrong with it and what could be done about it. I wasn't going to make any money off of it, but I couldn't just tell him he was SOL, and that he should just learn to learn to live with it.

    Now it's not really possible to diagnose your bass without actually seeing it, or hearing where the buzzing is coming from, but there are a few standard causes of buzzing that any tech worth his salt should be able to identify!

    If you've got a wonky fret (or frets) it's not too hard to identify the offending frets (which would either need to be filed or reseated) and remedy the problem.
    It doesn't require a full-on fret leveling job on the entire neck, but I imagine since he figures you won't pay him 100 clams (which is high in my book too) to do the job, he's probably not inclined to do anything at all.

    It could also be the nut. In which case, you would either need to have a new nut installed, or a little minor filing of one or more of the nut slots (most likely the latter, which is also a quick job...) Another thing it might be is; there's just not enough downward pressure on the A string. On a SS bass with lower string tension, this could very well be the case. I have a MIM jazz bass that had that problem. The slot was fine... all I had to do was install a string tree that covered the A-G strings and the problem disappeared.

    Another common problem with cheap import basses is they come with cheap import bridges that can rattle like nobody's business. Just replace the bridge... Problem solved. It doesn't even have to be an expensive Badass (though I do recommend them) or Hipshot bridge. You can get a standard Fender "bent metal" bridge for $15 or $20 from Allparts, or wherever... Or pick one up cheaper on eBay.

    Lastly, it could just be loose tuners. 2 minutes with a screwdriver can cure that. Or sometimes the import tuners are just not solidly constructed and have a lot of play in them. If that's the case, you can get a set of hefty, vintage-style Wilkinsen tuners for $30 or $40, (depending on where you buy them). I have a set on my jazz bass, and not only do they hold tune forever, but the added mass also improves sustain (not that I lose any sleep over sustain).

    The point is; these are all easily and inexpensively remedied problems. And I've encountered all of them on numerous occasions. Often times, I won't even charge them if it only takes me a few minutes, and that translates into return customers and recommendations. Any tech should be able to spot these right off the bat... If they can't be bothered to even tell you what the problem is, then they don't deserve your business, and if they honestly can't figure it out, they don't deserve to BE in business!

    This isn't rocket science, it's common frickin sense...
  17. Let us know how it turns out. If anyone can fix it Eric can. He better after the high praise I've given him! He's kept a couple of my bass necks from being fireplace logs.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I can't speak for the short scale, but the 34" scale that they are selling for $179 at GC is pretty awesome, and not just for the price either. The ones I have played sound and play great.
  19. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    Will do.

    Thanks for this post!!! This is really good information.

    BTW, Eric also mentioned that he didn't like the way it was strung, and the A string was cut too short to string it the way he'd like. He wanted more downward pressure on the nut, which to me is equivalent to having a string tree. This is also the way I string mine.

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