worn out strings = fret buzzing?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by slipkorn917, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. slipkorn917


    Sep 6, 2010
    i've had the same strings for the past year or so on my bass, and i've been constantly tuning up and down on them from E to A to B and all that, but recently i've noticed i have a lot of buzzing in my frets. not sure if this is a truss rod problem or a string problem, but i think a string change could probably improve this? thanks in advance.
  2. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    There are some good stickies in the bass guitar forum, concerning basic setups.

    I ain't saying it's impossible for the strings to be the cause, but IME fret buzz is a setup problem.

    A couple considerations:

    1. Buzzing on all strings?
    2. Buzzing all up and down the neck?
    3. Buzzing just in the first five frets? Just above the twelfth fret?
    4. Buzzing only on a particular fret?

    Hope that helps!
  3. slipkorn917


    Sep 6, 2010
    mostly buzzing on the first few frets, like the first 5 or so, on all strings but especially on the E string.
  4. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Do you know how to check neck relief?

    Buzzing only in the first five frets can be an indicator the neck is too flat, and needs a little more relief. Or that the nut is cut too low, but IME that tends to occur on only one string at a time. (I.e., a particular slot was cut too low, or the slot wore out. It's a possibility if you're detuning and retuning a lot.)

    Read the setup sticky, and get a good sense of how the fretwork, nut, neck relief, and bridge saddle height interact. It'll be time well spent!
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Tuning up and down like that puts many varying tensions on your neck. I would imagine you need a good setup. If you are going to tune up and down like that you should probably learn how to do basic setup stuff yourself. A drastic change in tuning requires a neck adjustment (unless you have a really stiff neck) and intonation set at least, and maybe a bridge height adjustment to keep things equal with your other tuning setups. But READ A LOT before you start turning a truss rod! There IS a point of no return on them and you can damage something.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    It's not the strings. None of mine on a dozen basses are less than a year old, and they range in age from 2 years to 40 years.

    It's the setup.
  7. Buzzing on the 1st 5 frets would indicate a slight bit of back-bow. Change those ancient strings, and then check your neck relief.

    Hold down on the 1st, and last fret (pinky) simultaneously while reaching your thumb up the G string as far as you can, and lightly tapping down. See if there's a slight gap from string to fret.