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Unacceptable action, or Normal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Guild B301, Jun 1, 2020.

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  1. I’ve been playing a long time, and am content, with regard to basses I like. However, am I always interested in trying out new gear. I have recently played several NEW basses in stores, and have found that many of them have a lot of “fret buzz”. I cannot put up with it, and consider it a defect. Many years ago, this would have been fixed, or removed from the sales floor.

    One particular bass I tried recently, (Squier ‘70’s Vibe Jazz Bass), had fret buzz across all 4 strings, from the 15th fret upward. It annoyed me beyond belief. The bridge was already run out almost all the way toward the sharp, and the saddles were too high already. The neck had a lot of relief in it, so that any more adjustment would not have done enough to stop the fret buzz. Not with decent action, anyway.
    I don’t mind adjusting and doing a set up to my liking. I thought they should have returned this one to the manufacturer.
    Then again, I have friends whose basses buzz all over - and they seem to ignore it. Or either, they are partially deaf. Is this something that any of you would put up with, or do you still expect more?
    How many of you play with fret buzz?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
  2. slapshot


    Dec 22, 2018
    SE Michigan
    I couldn't put up with it.
    Guild B301 likes this.
  3. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Basses get built and then shipped around the world to destinations representing a broad spectrum of climates. It is unreasonable to expect them to be fully setup until they find an owner. Smaller shops may have the bandwidth to spend 30 minutes setting up all new arrivals, but larger shops often do not. On top of that, some people even like a little buzz, where as others like mile-high action, or anywhere in-between, so both factory setups and in store setups tend to be middle of the road or higher.

    Looking at a very inexpensive bass and postulating that it has reached its practical limits in terms of setup means you have a keen eye and found a bad bass, which we must stipulate until someone proves otherwise with a screwdriver and hex wrench.

    Still, there are a lot of good basses out there available for purchase.
    jd56hawk and Guild B301 like this.
  4. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a shop to set them up, when the employees have time, but this could NOT have been fixed. I thought they should have sent it back to the manufacturer. I think a bass that cannot have the fret buzz fixed should be unacceptable.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Sounds like it's just badly set up. That's common these days in stores.
    Helix, 75Ric and Guild B301 like this.
  6. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Vote with your dollars. Let the store know why you’re not buying a bass from them.
    SirMjac28 and Guild B301 like this.
  7. What I was trying to make clear, is that this Could Not be fixed with a proper set-up. Unless the action was so high it was unplayable. I think a guitar with fret buzz that cannot be stopped, is unacceptable.
    westrock and dkelley like this.
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    What makes your think it could not be set up properly? Certainly nothing I read in your post would prevent that.
    Bassist4Eris and Helix like this.
  9. Thanks. If you raised the strings, or put enough relief in the neck that it didn’t buzz, the strings would have to have been about 1/2” off the fingerboard. I wish you could have seen it - and tried to play it.
  10. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Fret buzz that cannot be stopped is pretty rare. 40 years of teching in 4 different stores and haven't run into much of that. (actually, cannot recall a single instance, but I'm old).
    Guild B301 likes this.
  11. Good. I’m glad you would consider it unacceptable. It was that bad.
  12. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Please don’t get in to a prolonged argument with Turnaround regarding the bass you played. We have had much heartache over the years with members calling out genuine experts. Many have left us because of it. I, for one, would like to keep him around a while longer.

    If he says it can be setup, I would bet my mortgage payment and diaper money that it can be setup.
    Qlanq, Jeff Scott, Joshua and 6 others like this.
  13. I've noticed a big difference in stores - all the instruments at a high end shop are perfect; the instruments at a good local store are playable; and at a national chain they varied from OK to unplayable.
  14. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I call that earning your salt.
  15. I am not trying to argue with anyone. I just wanted to get across that this bass should not have been left on the sales floor. I appreciate all the experts knowledge. Sorry if it seemed that way.
    Helix likes this.
  16. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I think everyone would agree that the big chains will put unplayable instruments on the walls. But that doesn't mean unfixable. My local branch of Canada's big chain store does not have ONE SINGLE gigging musician on staff.
  17. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.
  18. John B jr

    John B jr

    Oct 16, 2016
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Shelter-in-Place sacrifices: I ordered a bass without playing it and it's buzzy too. The string height is a little higher than my other basses and the neck has a bit of bow to it. Getting at the truss rod looks like a hassle until I can get a new pick-guard or route this one out. Even then, some necks are not a perfect match for the body. It might need a little shim or someone more capable than me to do a set-up.

    I'm sitting here with an open pack of GHS Pressure wounds with my tools out and will replace the original stings shortly. After that, it would be nice if music stores and luthiers became essential businesses. In the mean time, I play extra lightly above the 13th fret and only go up there when the song requires it. And sometimes, I just rock the buzz for now. I have faith that it can be squared away. "Faith + a 180 day return policy. In the mean time, there's a good deal today at Guitar Walmart Center on a MIM P for you "turques".
    Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 2.58.47 PM.png

    Editing to add: 15 minutes later, the new strings have a bit more tension and a bit less diameter. Raised the E and A at the bridge and the Mendel is ringing true. Sweet!

    So the action isn't exactly "butter" and I'll have to get over to my strobe tuner to make sure the intonation is still good. So, yah, never mis-under-estimate the power of some new strings. I also have some Fender 9050s that y'all recommended. They are interesting because 100 - 50 is a nice tight grouping.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    Guild B301 likes this.
  19. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    It's a $400 instrument and they don't want to invest much labor (which is dollars) into the instrument. If you don't buy it, someone else will. But it sounds like the neck needs to be shimmed. Set the neck flat, shim the neck so that the angle lines up well for the saddle adjustment, do a regular setup. I would expect that on a $1500+ instrument, but I wouldn't expect that to be done on a $400 instrument.
    Guild B301 likes this.
  20. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    having worked in various type of Sales ...

    items the store makes more money on are usually working better and well kept ..!!

    crap we made no money on , just sat in whatever condition ..

    if you job is to 'sell' stuff ( commission type sales ) you can't spend your day cleaning and adjusting every bass/gtr ..! while undoing damage from children that think the store is their personal playground ..!
    but that was at a local mom/pop type store with 3-4 stores ... pre-internet sales days
    wmhill likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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