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Unwanted hammer-on sound

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by StuntBacon, Feb 26, 2016.


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  1. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    Hi guys, I play a Sadowsky Metro Will Lee model Rv5.

    I hope I'll explain my problem properly - essentially, when you want to fret a note, you want to press your finger down, and then pluck immediately, of course, but I don't get the proper pluck sound, because, at the moment, no matter how softly I put my finger down, I get the sound of the fretted note. I do not get this problem with other basses. There's also a little bit of clack as well. This occurs mostly on the E and B strings. This is not a problem if I can mute the strings with my other fingers on my left hand.

    I've tried turning off the tweeter on my speakerand turning the treble down on the EQ but that didn't do as much as I'd hoped. Straightening out the neck did help bit, but not enough to fix the problem altogether. I've asked bass playing friends about this but I mostly get "this is precisely why I don't use active pickups" as a response. I have a feeling that it could be a pickup height issue, that lowering the pickups would help, except I put them at the heights Sadowsky recommended for the bass. I certainly don't want to have to adjust that, as I want to have the pickups closer so my touch can be lighter.

    This is, quite frankly, a curse - I love the sound my active pickups give, but they're so damned noisy. I want that Tal Wilkenfeld sound - modern, lots of expression, but warm. And I want to achieve it with a soft touch, which she seems to be able to do. So do I have to compromise? Or am I missing something? Forgive me if it seems that I'm being a bit neurotic, this is just doing my head in. I think that covers everything - I'll respond to answers in seven hours or so, as I'm about to slumber. I thank you for your answers in advance.
     
  2. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Sometimes it's a combo of string type on a particular bass and pickups/elecs being able to accent it.
     
  3. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sounds like a setup issue. How about raise the strings a smidgen?
     
  4. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    I use Elixirs - are those notorious for being noisy?
     
  5. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    Alright, raised the strings - problem is still there
     
  6. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I think you need to try a bunch of different strings, or woodshed more with that bass. When you try to setup you bass so you can play with the lightest possible touch you make it so every other playing noise is amplified, think about it for a second the softer you play the less the string vibrates, if you compensate for that with extra gain on the preamp, or moving the pickups closer to the strings, all the playing noises that were there before but not an issue are amplified as well and it looks like they became an issue.
     
  7. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    You are fretting with too much force/velocity
    You are in-fact hammering on.
     
    lz4005 and pcake like this.
  8. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    Try fretting at the moment of plucking
     
  9. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    By definition though, aren't we always technically hammering on a little bit when we're playing? it's just about doing it softly enough that it's not audible? That the problem, it's very much there, even if I'm just barely pressing it. What kind of strings would one recommend that would keep the brightness, but sound less noisy?

    Will White that makes sense, so I guess the answer is compromise?
     
  10. 202dy

    202dy

    Sep 26, 2006
    If there two events, a hammer-on clack/click/metallic sound followed by a plucked tone the problem is not the hardware. It is a technique problem.

    Learn to pluck simultaneously when the string and fret come into contact.

    If there is one event, a simultaneous clack/click/metallic sound and a plucked tone the problem is not the hardware. It is a technique problem.

    Use less force with the fretting hand.

    It may also help to make sure that everything else in all cardinal directions are muted at all times.
     
    lz4005 likes this.
  11. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    I would say it's one event - you don't hear the tap and then the pluck, you just hear the tap. The thing is though, I experiment with fretting just one fret slowly and EXTREMELY lightly, and I still can hear the tap. I don't get this problem with other basses, and I'm not saying this to defend my technique, but I've not found a way to NOT make a sound without muting, and that simply can't be normal - anyway, I'm having someone look at the pickups/action tomorrow, to see if I've adjusted them incorrectly - I'm fairly new to adjusting my bass and it's entirely possible that I've made a mistake. But when you say mute everything in all cardinal directions, that's interesting - So if I'm fretting with my pinky, it's fine to have another finger on that hand mute in the direction approaching the headstock, but what about the other direction? I can finger mute with my right hand to some extent but it's nowhere near as efficient.
     
  12. 202dy

    202dy

    Sep 26, 2006
    It's called floating thumb.

    Scroll down the the video. Adam Nitti starts talking about it around 2:15. Closeups around four minutes.

    Yes. It's awkward when you start. The payoff is well worth the effort.
     
  13. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    yes, I've been trying that for a while, it is quite difficult to get that technique up to speed, I haven't figured out how to anchor my thumb as well as the average technique yet, but it does very much help with preventing the bottom strings from ringing. One guy reckons it's helped his speed, though I don't know how.
     
  14. 202dy

    202dy

    Sep 26, 2006
    You don't. That's why it's called floating thumb! If you must anchor anything (why?!??) you wrist is completely available to hold onto the guitar and can be moved back and forth easily to support the movement.
     
    JustForSport likes this.
  15. StuntBacon

    StuntBacon

    Feb 4, 2010
    The reason I anchor is because for me it feels like it's easier to play with a lighter touch. Using the forearm to rest on the bass helped a lot, however. I may have misinterpreted what was happening, I thought that floating thumb players kind of anchored on different strings (albeit very lightly) depending on which string they were plucking.
     
  16. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Then raise it more and/or adjust your technique.
     
  17. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Again- some string types are clanky on certain basses- I've had it happen, changed string type, and no more problem.
     

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