Clacking/Hammer Issue

When I try to fret, especially on the E and A strings I get a hammer/clack every time my fingers hit the fretboard. Even if I’m playing gently. At first I thought maybe my fretting fingers are beating my plucking fingers to the note, but even when I’ve timed them to hit at the same time, there’s a clack, taking away the purity of the sound of the notes. I’m new to bass and just finished Josh’s course so maybe my action is too high? Not sure. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Sounds like a setup is in order. Action and/or truss rod adjustments too low.


It’s either a setup issue (as mentioned by @John_E ) or a technique issue (which will require time and practice to improve). For me, it is most pronounced on higher frets when going from one string to another (i.e., not having already fretted a note nearby). It also seems to be more noticeable with fresh strings…

Try this: play such that you can listen to yourself only via headphones and see if the “noise” persists. Or, alternatively, record yourself (through a DAW; NOT via your iPhone) and see whether the noise makes it to the recording.

Often, this is only noticeable when you play at home at moderate volume levels, but not a real issue in recordings or when playing at higher volumes. If it does persist even in recordings, you really need to address this (again, either via a setup, and adjustment of your technique, or both).


It sounds like you’re experiencing a fret buzzing issue, particularly on the E and A strings. This could be due to various factors such as high action or technique. Since you’re new to bass and just completed a course, it’s a good idea to check your bass’s setup and possibly adjust the action.

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+1 to the setup suggestions, as that’s always a good idea anyway.


If you can take a quick video with audio of you playing so I could see and hear what’s happening, I could give you a much better suggested fix.
If you can make that work, great!

If not - start with the setup.

Technique wise - if you’re dealing with flying fingers (where only the fretting finger is on the bass, and the other ones fall away from the instrument) that can be a serious cause of clacking because of all the dramatic repositioning.
This video goes over it rather well:

If your fingering technique is solid, it’s much more likely a setup issue.
Clacking usually happens when the action is too low, or if there’s a truss rod issue.

Best of luck with whatever solution you go for!


Sorry for the delay in responding. I split my finger open and couldn’t play for a couple of days, but here’s a link to the video. Let me know what you think…

@ricksuvalle - error message pops up
“Playback in other websites disabled by owner”

Ah now I saw it!

First - the clacking and hammering isn’t all that bad. Remember, you are playing in isolation vs with a band.

Second - what I did see is you fretting way way behind the fret, basically in the middle of the frets instead of just behind the fret. This will diminish a lot of noise.

Third - as always, if you haven’t yet, set or do a setup. This holds true for very bass you ever buy period.

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Thanks for the vid Rick!

You are getting the perfect sound for where you are on the bass journey.
I hear and see what you are talking about, and here is how to fix it.

Set aside dedicated practice time every day (or whenever you grab the bass) to play long, sustained, beautiful notes.
Right now your fretting fingers are very lightly tapping down on the frets and then very quickly releasing.
That approach will have a lot of extra clack, and won’t have the big, full bass sound.

My suggested practices to get long, big, connected notes:

  1. Pick a 3 or 4 fret range on the 5th fret or above (5th, 6th, 7th and(if ya want) 8th)
    Play 5678 on each string to a metronome. Make sure there is constant sound. Make sure the next note starts before the previous note has been released.
    Try it 8765 as well.
    Play it sloooowwwwww!!

  2. If the sequential frets / notes don’t sound good to you, pick a scale or bass pattern you like the sound of.
    Do the same thing: play it slowwwwww with a metronome (or drum loop) and make sure that you are holding the notes down until the next note starts.

There will always be clack and clang from the instrument, but having a firmer and more sustained touch will take care of a lot of that.

And it won’t happen fast.
The reason for the quick attack and release of beginners is because recorded bass lines are fast, and in order to play them with the right touch, you need strong, experienced and sustaining fretting fingers.
They need to develop that strength and experience over time.

So - slow, sustained practice, and it will improve dramatically.


Thanks for the great advice and encouragement! Will definitely give this a try!