Where is my buzz coming from?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by coreman, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. coreman


    Jan 14, 2004
    I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this question so I apologize if it's not.

    My problem is that recently I've been getting some distortion coming through both my speakers and direct out (comes out the club PA) when I hit one fret in particular on my bass. That one fret happens to be the fifth fret on my E string (the A note). Basically, it's the classic fart sound that sounds like the speakers have crapped out. I know it's not a blown speaker or faulty bass head because it probably only happens a few times per show and sometimes not at all for a 2 hour gig. Also, I can play my open A string and it NEVER makes the sound. It's only this one fret that has this problem.

    This is the strangest thing I've ever seen. I have no clue as to what's going on here. I was thinking it could be how I have my action set up but I've had it set the same way for months and months. I don't see how it could be a faulty pickup or else it would happen on other notes right?

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. coreman


    Jan 14, 2004
    haha Yeah, sorry for the lack of info.

    The bass is a passive 4 string Ibanez Cimar. The only things I've checked for sure so far are the cables. They're fine. The only other that I haven't yet are the strings. They're pretty old to say the least. I'll change them and see what happens. I'll experiment with the pickup height but wonder how that would help since I've never touched them and didn't get this problem until recently and it's only part of the time at that. Thanks for the help. Is there anything else it might possibly be? Ever heard of this problem happening before?
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Could be something entirely non-electrical. Do you notice anything different about acoustic the sound of the bass when you play in that area of the fretboard if the bass is unplugged?

  4. coreman


    Jan 14, 2004
    Yeah, that is a good idea to check it unplugged. Actually, I do hear a difference in the entire E string when compared to the other strings when playing unplugged. The best way I can describe it is to say that it just doesn't sound smooth when compared to the other strings.

    I know it's not my action being too low because I don't get any rattling at all. It's also not because I play that particular fret harder either although that's a very good suggestion too.

    I also remembered that I've gotten the distortion thing when I've detuned to drop D. The thing is that it was still on the fifth fret on the E string but in drop D so would make it a G. I frequently detune this string to a low B and C as well so maybe the string is just fried from me detuning it so much?

    I just can't figure it out. I'm going to get new strings this afternoon and that will hopefully fix it. If not then at least I will have ruled out the strings being the problem.