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Yet Another B String Problem...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Crazyfist, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Here is a little back story before I get to my current situation...

    I bought a second hand Ibanez BTB 405 (35" scale, two truss rods, 5 string) and I didn't notice that there was anything wrong with it.

    Recently I've noticed that there is a problem however and it is driving me crazy.
    There is a lot of neck buzz on the B string alone. Played through an amp, there is a sort of "planky" tone, and the duration of the note is not very long at all in comparison to the other strings and my other 5 string bass!

    I adjusted the right truss rod (looking down the neck), turning it about a quarter of the way. Still having no effect and after turning it to the left again a little bit, I replaced the string, winding it all the way down and the problem is still there.

    I am quite frustrated at this, I'm not sure if it's actually supposed to make that sound or if it really is a flaw of some sort.
    Is there anything I can do to try and fix this?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Hi Crazyfist,

    I think you may want to post a sound file demonstrating the problem.

    Several questions:

    1. By turned it (truss rod) a quarter of the way, do you mean 1/4 turn, or multiple turns?

    2. How old are the strings?

    3. How does the B string nut slot look? Is it too tight for the current B string?

    4. How does the saddle slot for the B string, does it fit, or hang over?

    5. How low is the B string? Is it hitting a fret?

    6. Does the truss rod actually straighten or allow the neck to bow?

    7. Is this new or or has it happened since you bought the bass?


  3. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks for replying! I'm not sure how to post a sound file, sorry, but I can answer your questions!

    1) Multiple turns, I started out turning it just a twelth, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

    2) Pretty much brand new strings, of the Rotosound variety.

    3) It fits just right, the string is a 130 gauge

    4) It's a weird kind of saddle, the string goes into it a clips underneath the bridge, but otherwise it looks fine!

    5) The action is fine, in my opinion, but yes it is hitting the fret in front ever so slightly, but also when I play it open.

    6) I adjusted the truss rod attempting to loosen the neck, if that's what you mean!

    7) Since I bought it, I've only really started taking notice now though.

    Thanks again for replying, from the absence of views on this thread it seems like a very obscure problem!
  4. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    2 truss rods in a fiver? Got it customized?
  5. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Nope, it's just the way it is when it came out of the factory (as far as I'm aware!) :)
  6. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX

    Thanks for the info. And yes, the BTB405s have twin truss rods.

    So, to make sure we're tracking here, I'll repeat some points.

    You get a buzz on any note played on the B string, even open...

    You think the string may be hitting a fret near the nut.

    The string seems to be seated in the nut and saddle okay.

    Next questions:

    1. If you raise the action, does the buzz go away?

    2. Can you get the truss rod on the low side to tight up when turning? I'm definitely not an expert on dual-truss basses, but I'd like to know the rod's not just spinning and that's the best way I can think of to do it.

    3. If you look down the nect from body to headstock, does the edge of the neck looks concave, flat, or convex?

    For right now, since it's buzzing open I'm going to focus on neck, truss, and string height. There may be a fret issue, but raising the action should take that and a bunch of curvature out of the equation.

    The tension on your Rotosounds may be less than what was on it originally and it could be backbowing because of it.

    So, will the truss tighten up, and will raising the action make it go away.

    One other issue is a bad string, but that wouldn't cause a buzz.

  7. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    You may just need to adjust the string height at the bridge for the B string. I had to tweak the B string height on my fiver a few times before I finally got it right. A simple little twist with an allen wrench.
  8. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    All this arbitrary cranking of the truss rod without measuring the neck relief makes me cringe. Please watch this video so you know how to check and set the neck relief. Once the neck relief is set on both truss rods you can make slight adjustments to compensate for your personal style and technique. Aggressive plucking/picking technique = slightly more relief. Since you have two truss rods you may find benefit in having slightly more relief on the heavier strings since they have a larger vibrational path.

    This is the only way you can rule out the truss rods and move on to other diagnostics.
  9. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    The point isn't to crank the truss, or set neck relief. It's simply to confirm the truss rod isn't broken and has the expected effect on the neck when adjusted.

    This could obviously be a lot of things, but at this point, I am leaning toward a backbow caused, or made worse, by changing to Rotosounds.

    Of course, that's just a guess for the present.

    All the best,

  10. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Maybe I am misunderstanding something so I hope this doesn't sound argumentative as that's genuinely not my intent...but how and why would this be accomplished without checking the neck relief?

    The idea of 'sighting down the neck' as the OP did would require superhuman vision to discern the .020" or .030" movement that would result from a quarter turn of the truss rod, especially since one wouldn't even know which way to turn the truss rod unless they had checked the relief.

    I guess my point is this: since it's so simple to check neck relief (it doesn't even require any tools) why would anyone not do it before fiddling with the truss rod(s)?
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I have owned a lot of 5 string basses. One of the best low B strings I had on a bass was an Ibanez 305 34" scale 5 string bass.
  12. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks man, I had a look at the video and the other 3 steps, this looks to me like it could works out really well if I follow this!

    One problem that I have is simply that he just has to adjust the one truss rod in the video, and he's measuring the E string.
    How would I go about adjusting two truss rods? It seems quite logical simply to measure the B and G strings, but how close to the fretboard should they be?

    Also, he measures the E string from where the neck meets the body. On the G string side, the body meets the neck a bit further down. Would I measure it from there or the same place as where the upper half meets the body?

    Wow, this is getting pretty technical!
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I had a 6 and they do indeed run double truss rods. Biggest problem I can see is that you are adjust one truss and not the other. That is probably going to lead to neck warp. The BTB is setup with parallel rods, so whatever you do to one rod, do to the other. You should also use a wrench that tells you how much pressure you apply (I cannot remember the name for the life of me) Get a feeler gauge as well, you cannot guesstimate distances this small.

    Read through Jerzy Drozd's setup guide, he will actually explain double truss rods. It is where I learned and the only setup guide I have found that mentions them.

    The BTB B is not world class but it is not garbage, it is mediocre, you should get decent sustain out of it and not be horribly buzz-y.

    Have you check the frets? The frets in my BTB were garbage and cracking after a couple years, didn't stand up like my MIM Fender has over the years. Highly unlikely the B string frets are going before the other strings, but it is a possibility.
  14. MrChrizmo


    Mar 31, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    If all other strings are fine this would be my first setup step too.