I know this is a relatively common topic, but I’m seeking as much clarity as possible since I’ve never had a bass that is truly well setup.
My bass is only a month old and from Sweetwater, so it was checked to meet Fender specs before delivery (it’s an American P Bass, I love it). The sound is amazing but the action seemed just a bit too high and strings were hitting the highest fret sometimes.
I took it to a great local luthier for a setup and now it’s ridiculously comfortable. Seriously, I didn’t know it was possible for a bass to be so easy to play. But I’m getting quite a bit more fret buzz one the 1st-3rd frets now. The rest of the neck doesn’t have a lot of buzz, but I play “the money notes” often, so this might be a problem.
The tech said the neck was super straight, so he adjusted the truss rod to add some relief. Maybe it was too much? Maybe there’s no way to have a super comfortable action with no buzz? Maybe there’s some simple adjustment? Help!
Usually fret buzz when fretting open, or 1 thru 5 means the neck still needs more relief (it’s bowed towards the strings). You can tell by holding down first fret on E string with your left hand, 12 fret with your right thumb, and look at the space between E string andbyour 7th fret. Should be space, not touching the fret, and not too much of a gap where its wider than the thickness of a business card. Tons of videos on youtube about this, hope it helps.
If you pluck hard, pluck with a little less force. Might surprise yourself with how little effort is required and the buzz just may go away.
Yes, I’ve been trying to play more gently and it definitely helps. But sometimes you just need to grab a pick and hit hard for some pop punk fun
Yep that’s exactly how much space is there. I am prepared for the answer to be “better technique” haha
Thanks for this tip!
So i had this with my omen extreme. It had super low action because i wanted it to be more melodic than spine shaking.
Playing it with almost no pressure there was a mild buzz up to the 4th fret or so. If i played harder or added distortion, it smoothed out.
It was fun to play like that, but i wanted more of an all around instrument, so a little tweak to three truss rod clears it up. But the advice given here is spot on. If using a capo at the 5th fret, you should have a little gap at the first fret. I use feeler guages and keep it at about .022. That seems real good. But again, it’s all opinions. Make it play like you want it to play. It is little, you are big.
Ha, those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones! Are you getting this on all strings, or just one or two? If it is just on one, I would try raising the saddle height in micro adjustments until the buzz goes away and see if the see how much you had to raise it. Make sure to tune the bass between each adjustment so you have the right tension on the strings. If it is acceptable leave it.
I have 5 basses, and have one that gives me problems that sound similar to yours. Most are from Sweetwater, so most had the same factor spec setup before being sent to me. I received most of them with really high action which made them difficult to play. I had a luthier do a setup on one because I needed a few frets leveled. When I went to pick it up, no buzz anymore. Next day it buzzed like I had never brought it to him. It took me awhile to make the proper truss rod adjustments and saddle height adjustments to get rid of the buzz again, and I can say they were all small adjustments. I live in SW Florida, and the humidity really affects the necks on my basses.
All that being said, when I was new, my first question to Josh Fossgreen was about string buzz. Being new, I still wasn’t pressing down hard enough, or not close enough to the fret, which went away as I played more. I can also tell you that I could never get my first bass set to my liking, so I traded it in for another that didn’t give me any problems!
To me the only acceptable fretbuzz is no fretbuzz.
Zero, nilch, nada!
Thanks! I’ll try the 5th fret trick to see if I need more relief or what. I’m also waiting to see if it “settles” after a few days. I’m definitely not itching to undo the work I paid a pro for
But bassbuzz is acceptable right?
My goal is to ge the bass set up so well that I can be confident any issues are purely my fault for poor technique haha.
I’m definitely noticing it more on the A and E strings, so maybe I can try moving those saddles a bit.
I kind of like a little fret buzz when you really dig in. Gives a nice snappiness.
I gave the truss rod a quarter turn counter clockwise to add a bit more relief and it seems to be the sweet spot for me. The action is now a tad high on the higher frets, but the overall experience is much better. I can probably tinker with the saddles tomorrow.
Thanks for all the helpful input!
Ah, there it is. The “i can do this” moment we all long for. Kinda flippin’ sweet, ain’t it?
Yes! Exactly what I needed.
Yeah, but that’s not fret buzz. Large diff.
That’s a default state around here.