A-string buzz

Hey friends, brand new to bass and technique. Was on module 1 lesson 5 trying to play on the A string and found out I have a wicked buzz. No other strings. Just that one. And it gets worse when I play on fret 1 but better on fret 5 (that’s the music for that lesson). It’s a Jackson JS2. Can anyone give a suggestion on what I should do? Please and thank you.

3 Likes

When you say “better on fret 5” do you mean that there is still buzz but it’s not as pronounced or is it gone at fret 5? Also any buzz on frets 2, 3 and 4?

1 Like

A few things to look at.

Have a look at your nut. Does it look like the slot is too wide for the string?
I have found that for some reason (that I do not fully understand) the A string is much more temperamental than the others when it comes to nut width/cut.

If you can, have someone else hold the string above the nut (or you hold it with another finger if you can, and then try and see if it goes away.

It may also be that your nut is cut too low in general. Fret the 3rd fret and lightly tap on the first fret. Does it move ever so slightly or is it already on the 1st fret, this would indicate the nut is too low.

Could also be overall setup. Have you had your bass set up properly?

Could also be technique, which sounds odd esp when you don’t see the same thing across strings but you never know. Try fretting with different parts of your finger and see if it makes a difference. maybe the angle of your finger in that area/position is different?

Just some rambling thoughts.

3 Likes

I’m thinking setup as well, although with insufficient neck relief, you typically get fret buzz on all strings. Maybe you just need to raise the A string bridge saddle a little?

3 Likes

Some good suggestions there, @Mike_NL and @John_E . . . :slight_smile:

I would start with the simplest thing: check the A string bridge saddle first

Cheers
Joe

4 Likes

I had a similar issue and thanks to @howard I managed to solve it. How is your string wound at the tuner? It should be wound down (i.e., the string should be exiting the tuner from below and not from the mid/top)

4 Likes

Another good point @gcancella . . … :+1:

Cheers
Joe

4 Likes

Hail @APerk - there are a few issues it could be.
If it’s just on the A string, and it goes away after the 5th fret, it could be the string tension (angle of the string from the nut to the tuning peg (as @gcancella suggested).

A photo of the bass headstock / nut / first fret area would help to diagnose that.

The rest of it would have to do with the nut/bridge/truss rod.
To know what these things do and how to adjust them, there are great resources and videos on this thread:

If nothing above fixes it, it could be a fret at the 5th or below that is too high, and the fix for that would be something I’ve only had other people do on my instruments.

Holler with any further questions or more photos/details!

3 Likes

Ok. String is wound top down. Rattles when open not plugged into amp.

2 Likes

press down with a finger on the string just above the nut about an inch or so, like you are fretting and pluck, does it go away?

2 Likes

yes, it does go away if I do that @John_E

3 Likes

I had this issue on my Jazz bass, same darn string.
I had put thinner strings on (Thomastiks Flats, A string = .070) and the buzzing started.
Switched back to the correct size strings for how my nut was filed (ended up with Labella flats (A= .085) and the problem went away. Perhaps your nut is worn or the wrong size strings for the nut are on the bass.

4 Likes

Right on.

It could be string gauge - if the string isn’t wound tightly down to the bottom of the tuning peg, it might be that the down-tension - the tension pulling it tight against the nut between the nut and the tuning peg - is not high enough, and so you’re hearing a rattle.

Either way - a new string with a proper wind might fix it.

3 Likes

Ah yes, also check that the wind goes from top to bottom, basically what @gio said.

And at least 2 full turns around the tuner.

1 Like

I’m planning to do the opposite. I want to tune one of my (future) basses to D standard using .050-.110 strings instead of the factory .045-.105. Would I have to mess with the nut to accommodate the thicker strings?

2 Likes

Yes you may.
The thicker strings may/will sit high in the nut (I did this on my acoustic bass via the tapewounds, took it to a tech to do as the file sizes needed were odd (and I haven’t bought any yet).

it will play but you will have action issues, etc.

2 Likes

sigh Thanks. Every time I think I finally have a plan it just gets more complicated. Guess I’ll stick with the normal strings.

1 Like

I feel your pain. I went bigger on some and smaller on others and ended up restringing the smaller and having the nut filed on bigger. Learned my lesson. There has to be a VERY good reason for a different string size moving forward, because I will buy files for them and that’s additional costs. Good news is I dig my setups now that they are ‘set’…until the next one!

1 Like

I recommend just buying a second nut and filing it. Filing and changing nuts is easy, just intimidating the first time.

Hell, buy two - one for D Standard and one for BEAD :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Just as another data point, I bought a set of strings with a .110 E (Billy Sheehan rotosounds) and they worked fine in my bass. I didn’t have to modify my nut.

3 Likes