A string buzz (but only after a second)

Hello everyone!
Back after a little while of inactivity to ask a question about my string buzzing.
My bass was like this when I got it, but it wasn’t really a big deal until I started picking and now it’s a pretty big issue.

From my tests, this is what I have found:


  • Open A string - no buzz, at most just a bump against the fretboard after a second
  • Open A string plucked a little aggressively but not too hard - light buzz after just under one second
  • First fret - almost immediately a fairly big buzz
  • Second fret - same as first but a little quieter
  • Third fret - sometimes there, sometimes not. quiet
  • Fourth fret - same as third
  • Fifth fret - none
  • Sixth fret - surprisingly, pretty buzzy
  • Seventh fret - Just a bit less than sixth
  • Eighth fret - weird, annoying, constant high pitched buzz
  • Ninth fret - barely any
  • Tenth fret - same as ninth but a bit less
  • Eleventh fret - only if I pluck hard
  • Twelfth fret - same as eleventh
    Others above that vary but aren’t that important right now.

With a pick, it’s a different story.

I will only write the frets that are different than fingerstyle.

  • Second fret - same as first
  • Third fret - a bit less than second
  • Fourth and fifth - both much quieter than second and first but still obvious
  • Sixth - none
  • Seventh to twelfth - all pretty much the same. A good bit of buzz.

I think that may have been too much information. I hope someone can help me out!


First: kudos for trying to address this in a systematic way and collecting all the data/information. However, I am not sure anyone can parse this information to draw some meaningful conclusions.

Second: you said the bass was like this when you got it!?! From that I assume you have never done a setup!?!? How long have you been playing this bass - half a year? A year? You really NEED to get this bass checked/set up!

Normally, I would encourage you to do it yourself, but if/since you’ve never done it and the neck might be fairly “out of whack” at this point, perhaps it is better to find a guitar store or luthier in your town and ask them to check your bass and set it up. Throw in a new set of strings while you are at it.

I am not sure what the rates are for this in the US, but it will likely set you back at least 75 dollars, perhaps more. But, it will be worth it!

Once you get your bass back from the luthier, learn how to do a set-up yourself (there is ample information on that to be found here) and check your bass at least twice a year!

Good luck!


Please remind me as to what bass this is.
It sounds like your bass is in desperate need of adjustment…
…and @joergkutter beat me to everything I was going to say.

The sooner you get a setup done the happier your playing will be. :+1:


Sounds to me like you need to have your frets leveled. It’s not difficult to do yourself if you have the right tools but I would highly recommend taking your bass to a pro unless you are willing to risk messing it up and having to re-fret it… which is also fairly easy to do… if you have the right tools. Though getting the right tools is going to cost 2 or 3 times as much as just getting professional fretwork done. :smiley:


It was a used bass which played pretty well so I guess I didn’t feel the need for a setup- also yep it’s been 5 months since I started really playing it. Would you say Guitar Center does a fine job at it or should I go to a specialist?


Music Man Ray34 :slight_smile:

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I am not from the US, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you really… I am sure @eric.kiser can chime in with a better opinion :grinning:


I reccomend finding a luthier to do the setup. My experience with using someone from Guitar Center has been hit or miss. The luthiers in the Atlanta, GA area usually charge the same or maybe a little bit more than Guitar Center. You want somebody you can build trust with if you need any work done in the future. It’s hard to do that at Guitar Center since employees come and go so much.


Having the folks at Guitar Center is like getting your haircut at barber college.
It’s an ever revolving door of trainees that are taught to do one thing one way.
Sam goes for Sam Ash and any of their repairs (woodwinds/brass/etc).

Unless you are someone who goes to the doctor and says “give me your intern” instead of seeing the doc, don’t use GC, etc.