Yes! Another "why does my bass BUZZ thread?"

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ninkompoop, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. ninkompoop


    Apr 20, 2003

    I am sorry to make another thread about this, I have gone through the archives for ideas and have tried some different adjustments and it has helped, but I would like to try and get a more direct answer about this problem.

    I have a Spector NS2000/4 neck thru. From what I have read about Spectors, the action should be able to go pretty low with a proper setup. So far I have adjusted everything a few times trying to get it setup perfectly. I have a feeling the relief may be setup in its optimum position (for this bass in particular), although, I am also thinking I could be wrong about this because my bass definetly does not play like butter!!!

    I am not a big guy, and my little hands and left wrist have really been taking a beating due to my high action. Naturally, I would like to get my action as low as possible without any buzzing, as seems to be the goal to most bassists setups.

    Basically, my issue seems to be in the uppermost frets, about 15 to 24. At the moment the action still feels too high for my liking, and these frets will buzz if I am not very gentle when plucking them. If I lower the action, these frets will not play at all. The strings (more so on A and D) will be basically resting on the fretboard . I don't even know if the truss rod goes that far down the neck. These frets are basically where the neck is attached to the body, which really scares me, since I don't think the truss rod extends this far. If this part of the fretboard is too high compared to the rest of the neck, that would probably cost a fair chunk of money to fix (I dont have money). I am not sure how well I am explaining this, so if anyone is willing to help and doesn't understand what I am trying to say, please ask. I'd really like to get this setup done on my own, without bringing it in, if possible. I am thinking it must need another adjustment in the releif, however it seems whenever I tweak it to a different position, it may correct the original problem a bit, but will create new buzzing further down to the 5th frets and below.

    I am not sure what I am expecting anyone to suggest..but if you have any ideas at all please reply. I spent alot of money on this thing, and would really like to avoid putting even more money into it, just so it works properly. I bought it new, so as far as I know, it should work properly already. It is still under warranty. But I like this bass. Spector said if the bass is pretty much beyond repair they will see what they can do about replacing it. However, they don't make the neck thru's anymore, so I would really like to avoid having to exchange it for something like a Q4. A Euro would be nice but somehow I doubt they will do that. hehe. Anyway, enough of my babbling. If you made it this far Thank you for reading my cry for help. Any suggestions would be very much appretiated!
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If the bass is still fairly new, the neck is going to move around. The best tech on the planet could have set it up at the factory and it would still probably buzz after sitting in your house for a while.

    Typically, consistent buzzing high on the neck means that there is too much relief in the neck.

    If you are tightening the rod and getting buzz down on the low part of the neck, then you may be over-adjusting. You really only need to be working in 1/4 turns with each trial. With some basses, very small adjustments make all the difference in world.

    You also have to let the bass sit a while after turning the rod. It has to settle in a bit.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    "The best tech on the planet could have set it up at the factory and it would still probably buzz after sitting in your house for a while."[Quote Chas.] There is a lot of wisdom in this statement!

    There is a very good reason that the truss rod is usually made very accessible and a tool is usually sent with a new bass to adjust it with. Truss rods are MEANT to be adjusted as needed. It's a very simple procedure and anyone who can follow simple instructions can learn to do it in a few minutes. It's OK for a beginner to take his instrument in to have it set up the first few times. It's foolish not to learn to do your own setups eventually though. It's simply not cost effective to hire it done over the long haul.

    It's very much like paying a garage to check the oil in your car.

    Lets say that you have two basses that need the minimum twice a year setup. At $30.00 a pop, thats $120.00 per year. In only five years you have wasted enough money to buy a decent bass.

    If you own five or six basses, you should be allowed to claim them as dependents on your income tax. Not to mention that a good deal of the time you are playing an instrument that's out of adjustment untill you find the time (and money) to have it adjusted.

    Another problem with carrying a bass back where you bought it for setup is that it's usually done by a store clerk who probably knows less than you do about setup. I've redone more setups that were done behind the counter at the store than you would believe.

    There is also the possibility of running into this scenario: You have just had your ax set up and the action is so low that you can fret it with a feather. You get to the gig that nite, pull your bass out of it's case and start to check the tuning only to discover that the frets are buzzing so badly that it's unplayable. It's nine PM, the show starts in ten minutes and you are standing there with a bass that don't work.

    I'm sorry but the "tech for hire" can't help you at all and the setup that you just paid for is useless.

    A quick search will uncover at least a hundred descriptions of how to check the relief. Notice that i said "check". You don't have to adjust or change anything to check it and then you KNOW for sure whether it needs adjusting.

    "[quote chas] Typically, consistent buzzing high on the neck means that there is too much relief in the neck. "

    By the way, Chas., I believe you have a typo in your post. Didn't you mean "too little" relief ? :)

    By the way Ninkompoop, If you need one on one help to solve your prob, just ask. I'm sure Chasarms, Hambone, Merlin and many others will be more than glad to help you through PMing. I am available too, of course. Good luck with your problem.

    Harrell S.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Indeed. It is absolutely a sympton of too LITTLE relief. My brain was thinking too MUCH rod tension. But, since it may confuse future readers when they see your post, I am not going to edit it.

    I've owned a Modulus so long this trussrod stuff just confuses me :)

    Think of it like this:

    The trussrod works by its ability to vary its reinforcement of the neck structure. The less tension on the rod (looser), the more the neck bows forward under the stress of the string tension.

    So, since only one end of the neck is fixed in place, in addition to making the bow in the neck more or less pronounced, turning the truss also changes the position of the nut relative to the bridge. That is, if you lay the bass on a bench and view it from the side, excessive relief raises the nut higher than the bridge, as the neck is bowing upward.

    Overtightening the rod actually will allow its own tension to exceed the ability of the strings to pull forward and the neck will actually bow backwards. Or using the bench example, the nut will actually be below the bridge.

    This "relative position" idea is even slightly exagerated with a neckthrough bass as it is so much stiffer closer to the body and there is no slop in the neck joint as with a bolt on.

    I did a small illustration help represent this. See attached.
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    A pix is worth a thousand words! Excellent post, Chas.
  6. ninkompoop


    Apr 20, 2003
    Hey again.
    Sorry I haven't replied sooner, I have been busy the last couple days. Thank you very much for the suggestions, today I will add a little more relief to the neck and see what happens. I can already see that the 'bend' in the neck starts at around the 9th fret, which is why I have been hesitant to add more relief. But I will give it a shot. Will post back with results soon.

    Thanks again!!