Hard, percussive noise when releasing strings

Newbie here, coming up to halfway through the course.

Occasionally, and mostly when faster fretting, I’m getting a hard percussive twang noise when I’m releasing a string in between notes.

At first, I wondered if the action was a bit high, so i’ve tried adjusting the setup. After tweaking the truss rod slightly, I’ve lowered the saddles as much as I can before I start getting buzzy notes. This has helped a bit, but not completely eliminated it.

I have two basses (both 2nd hand)- a squire Jaguar (classic vibe, medium scale 32"), and a std scale Epi Tbird (I keep this tuned down 1/2 step).

Of course, both handle quite differently - it definitely seems more apparent on the Squier. So wasn’t sure it if was a setup thing, or needing to perfect sloppy technique.

When it happens, I tend to feel my fingers rubbing sideways slightly on the roundwound strings. (Ie when combining lifting and moving larger distances between notes).

I wondered if it might be better with smoother flatwounds, or would these just be hiding poor technique?

Many thanks!


Let me hazard a guess: you play/practice at very decent (low) levels in order not to disturb the wife/kids/pets/neighbors and you are not playing with headphones!?!

There is potentially a lot of “noise” from playing bass that you only hear because you have your ears literally directly next to the strings and thus can pick up any string scratching, rattling on frets etc. These sounds can typically no longer be heard when playing louder, through headphones or when recording (and listening back to recorded material).

Now, I am not saying there couldn’t be other causes (technically with the bass, or technique-wise with your playing) for these noises, but let’s look at the simplest explanation first.

If it’s not that, then we need to look further. In that case, perhaps a video of you playing could help…


I’m with @joergkutter, it can be from several things best is to show a little video it would be much easier to decode the problem. It could also be the improperly cut nut slot.

As for technique, I can see that as well. I have several basses with the piezo pickup and the are so sensitive to finger noises. I have/had a major issue with the older Squier acoustic/ electric guitar(not acoustasonic) every time I change Chords I’d hear the squeak.


Hail hail!
Congrats on the halfway mark, first off.

I’d tentatively agree with the other good forum folk with a blind diagnosis.
I’d love to be more specific, but I’d need a video so we could see and hear what’s happening.


Sounds to me like finger flying. It’s pretty normal when you’re starting out to fret a note then completely release it, sending the fingers flying away from the fretboard. This incidental contact with the strings will often leave you with a ringing open string. Try to practice simply letting off the pressure with your fretting fingers in between notes. Keep your hand close to the fretboard so when you come in for the next note you don’t have to slam a finger down to hit it. It’ll help keep the strings you aren’t playing muted and hopefully get rid of some of that noise


Move on, nothing to see here :grin:

Dig in harder on those strings :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Well, this is one of those little nuggets that you trip across while wandering through the forum.

Describes my situation perfectly. I have been getting frustrated going back through the course to clean up bad habits that I allowed to creep in, or tighten up stuff that I didn’t pay quite enough attention to while going through the modules. Started using headphones a couple of days ago and damn! I can focus on real issues and dismiss stuff that goes away with volume.

Thank you, @joergkutter! :beers:

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Happy to hear, @bfrederi1 - at least it helped someone… the OP seems to have gone MIA :joy:

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Thanks to everyone for their helpful input. After some careful observation, I definitely think it’s a technique issue, and Ant’s comments seems to make sense.

Ive narrowed it down to when I’m doing larger changes between frets, when I’m already stretching ( I have quite short stubby fingers :grinning:). In these instances, I’ll release and move at the same time, ie, at an angle. Sometimes this results in catching on the winding of the strings, and sometimes with a slight movement enough to make the open string ‘ding’ against the fret.

If I slow down and concentrate on lifting my fretting finger less, and also straighter/ more perpendicular to the fretboard before moving, I usually eliminate it. While this is sacricibg a bit of ‘speed’ for now, it is teaching me not to rush the fretting changes without the proper technique. With a bit more steady practice, I should be back up to speed again!

Thanks all … carry on chugging :+1: