why are fret buzz can't be heard on the amp?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bushy, May 31, 2018.

  1. bushy


    Mar 8, 2018
    Is it because my bass guitar is still new? Do I adjust something on the neck? The buzz isn't bothersome though. I've actually tried a more high end bass guitar at Guitar Center not using an amp and I could also hear the fret buzz (is it because the bass is new?). I know it's just the strings hitting the frets and such, but is this normal?
  2. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    It’s all in the setup, some people like a little fret buzz, some don’t.
  3. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
  4. Rompin Roddy

    Rompin Roddy

    Jun 29, 2016
    Some players like buzzy frets, like on a jazz or a stingray for example (Flea comes to mind). And to clarify, I mean the rattling sizzling sound, not fretting out and loss of sustain.

    You typically get it when you have the action set real low, sometimes you can play light with no buzz, or pluck harder to get it sizzling. Some players like to raise their action so they can dig in and get no buzz.

    It's obviously most noticeable playing unplugged. Less noticeable plugged in. And hardly perceptible within a mix. But it is a type of tone, and it all depends on what you like or what the music calls for.

    Sorry I'm not 100% sure on your English, but that's what I find to be the basic gist of fret buzz. If you're asking for a more technical explanation of why it sounds a certain way post amplification then I'm sure someone else can provide you with more information than I.
    NOVAX likes this.
  5. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    I'm assuming you are new to bass, forgive me if I am incorrect. The absolute correct answer is to get a professional luthier/tech to set up your bass for you. The easier/more practical answer at this stage of the game is to slightly raise your strings, until you are happy with them. Too low = fret buzz; too high = difficult to play.

    Start by raising the saddle screws in the bridge, turning each 1/4 turn clockwise, then checking. Slow and steady!!

    Bass bridge.png

    Don't forget! Too high makes it harder to finger the notes! Find a happy medium. Keep in mind, this will affect your tuning and intonation. Retune once you find your happy zone, worry about intonation when (again, assuming you are new) that matters to you.
    zon6c-f and BassplayinBob like this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    You can control the amount of fret buzz and rattle you hear by adjusting the uppers mids and high frequency tone controls on your amp. Some amps really emphasize this sound, while others do not. It depends upon the center frequencies and bandwidth of your tone controls.
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Has the bass ever been set up properly? If it's new and has never been done I'd start with that. Are you familiar with how to do a complete setup? If not I'd suggest having a qualified tech or luthier do it. It begins with adjusting the neck for the proper amount of relief and that can vary from bass to bass. Once that's been done by adjusting the saddle heights of each string you should be able to reduce or eliminate any fret buzz.

    The other issue that could be in play here is new round wound strings as most basses are strung with will be noisier before they're broken in a bit which will only add to how much fret clank and fret buzz you hear. You're playing skills and technique can also be part of the cause. So there can always be more than one reason for it but in any event any bass or guitar will benefit from a proper setup so I'd suggest beginning with that.
    zon6c-f likes this.
  8. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    The reason you don't hear most of the fret buzz through the amp is that the buzz is coming from the spot where the string hits a fret, which is away from the pickup. This is why you can set up a bass super low and still hear something other than clank and buzz from the amp.

    Check out the sticky post on setup in the Hardware, Setup, and Repair forum. It's pretty easy to do your own setups with a few basic tools.
  9. BassplayinBob


    Jan 8, 2016
    Go to YouTube. Search “how to set up bass guitar” If you’re going to be a bass player, then learn how to set up your own bass, it will save you a lot of money long term and you’ll have control over your instrument.
    NOVAX and zon6c-f like this.
  10. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    Typically you will hear fret buzz through an amp if the strings are new, so that the buzz causes some harmonics to be pronounced (and creates new ones). If the strings are old, the sound will mostly remain on the fretboard, and you may hear some "clack" more so than "buzz" through the amp.
  11. cool breeze

    cool breeze

    May 13, 2016
    If you not fretting the note correctly or applying enough pressure on the string it can also cause a buzzing effect. No criticism.
    Loring likes this.
  12. Fret buzz also affects your sustain. I'm in the "fret buzz bothers me" camp. I have pretty high action as a result because I play hard with a pick and don't make much of an attempt to control my dynamics.
    wildman2 likes this.
  13. flatwound strings may also help.
  14. Engle

    Engle Supporting Member

    To answer your question: Yes it's normal
    I find I sometimes don't like to play my basses that are strung with roundwounds at home because I can hear the buzz acoustically. The same basses played louder in a rehearsal/gig setting will be fine.
    alesreaper9 and NOVAX like this.
  15. FenderB


    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    I believe it also happens when you don't fret a note correctly. I cannot do the one finger per fret technique so when needed I really have to stretch out to fret a note with my little finger. Since I can't get the string all the way down on the fret and/or my finger placement is incorrect it causes "fret buzz".
    cool breeze likes this.
  16. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Exactly! If you hear it unplugged, but it's not apparent at volume - it's not there. I call it Zing- that tiny little buzz that fades in less than a second. Some people can't stand it. It's inaudible when amplified, and accepting it is part of getting a dirty gnarly low setup. A perfectly silent and zing free setup is usually uncomfortable to me. My two cents.
    Enjoy the party!
  17. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    "when you hit an open e, and then slide up to the 12th fret octave and discover that the e up there is closer to d# - then you discover intonation"
  18. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I don't fret about the buzz. :)
    Moosehead1966, mech and alesreaper9 like this.