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what is this rattle sound?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by P bass guy, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. I'm getting a rattling sound when I play and I can't figure out where it's coming from. The lower the note and the more I dig in the more I hear it. I do have fresh rounds but it's not fret buzz. Its not nut related, get it on fretted notes too. I've raised the action. I've lossened the truss for more relief. Put it back where it was so I know the truss rod works. I was wondering if the rod was broken and rattling but it seems to work. I've checked every screw and none are loose. I'm at a loss.I hear it unplugged. Starting to think I'm loosing my mind and maybe it's normal and I just never noticed. What could I check on next?
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Mystery rattles can be really frustrating. It could literally be any loose part on the bass. Check your strap buttons, bridge springs, electronics cavity cover, tuners.
    You may need to play the bass while another person listens for the rattle and pokes around on the parts to see if it stops when they touch something.
    skychief likes this.
  3. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    All of the sources of rattles that I've encountered...

    - Tuners; loose gear, tuning ear or sleeve
    - Strings due to poorly cut nut or not enough down pressure from the string
    - Strings themselves, maybe the outer wrap loose from the core
    - Truss rod
    - Wiring in contact with the underneath of a pickguard
    - Springs on a traditional bridge
    - Rattle from the string against the frets north of the fretting point
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'll add strap locks to the list, especially if sitting down and there's no load on the strap.
  5. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    Yes I forgot about that one!
  6. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    With the bass hanging from thew strap, right hand keeping the bass in position, try knocking on the headstock and the neck (the area around the first few frets). If this reveals the rattle, chances are the truss rod is defective.
    Been there...
    The you either repair it, wait for humidity and temperature to change (which might change there wood/truss rod interaction) or just live with it. Or scrap the neck...
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Every single time I've had a rattle, it was the strap locks.
  8. Trus3683


    Feb 14, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    1. The string isn't strung far enough down the post to create a proper break angle. This causes a rattle since the string isn't placed properly. If you press down a string with firm pressure between the nut and tuner, and play that string hard, does it go away? If ao, restring further down. Test with each string. I find this most common on the A string of Fender type basses.

    2. Strap locks, or straps like the PW locking strap. This occasionally startles me. It shouldn't happen while standing with the strap if it is the culprit.

    3. Certain bridges being too high risen, saddles may rattle from not having enough pressure exerted on them by the string due to its height. Touch it, see if it stops.

    4. Saddle springs. Touch them, see if it stops.

    5. Truss rod. As mentioned, knock the headstock. See if you hear the rattle in the neck. It could also rattle if it isn't tightened. In that case it would need an allen adjustment.
  9. This:
    With the bass hanging from thew strap, right hand keeping the bass in position, try knocking on the headstock and the neck (the area around the first few frets). If this reveals the rattle, chances are the truss rod is defective.

    Yes, that produces the rattle. When i loosened the truss a 1/4 turn last night before posting, it was tight and then turned in one big slip... did add relief and turned okay when I tightened back up and it flattened back out... So I figured it still works... But yeah, I actually think the rattle was worse after I adjusted it and yes, thumping the neck as described above produces a rattle.

    Is there any fix?

    Actually, I really always wanted a jazz bass neck on this bass.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I came across this yesterday. It was driving me nuts. It was the last thing I checked.
  11. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    I had a rattle--turned out it was the amp. Amp tech found a few things on it that really rattled on bass frequencies to include the manufacturer's nameplate. No more rattles. I actually never considered the bass but only because it didn't rattle on my other amps.
  12. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Of course it was the last thing you checked. Why would you keep searching AFTER you found it?
    BadJazz likes this.
  13. Smart @rse !! :smug:

    ........ but good point.

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