Plucking noise

I’ve been playing about two months now with a brand new PRS Kingfisher Bass. No matter how “softly” I pluck, I get noise from the strings hitting the frets. Looks like they’re hitting the 24th fret even though there seems to be plenty of room between strings and neck. Almost can’t play my E string without some kind of click or other annoying noise. I realize my technique needs work, but I can’t help to think some of it is the bass itself.

Before I take it in to be “set up” has anyone had this problem? Is it the plane or the pilot? Both?


I’d say chances are that the buzzing comes from the 2nd fret rather than the 24th are rather high.
I assume you’re paying attention to plucking sideways as Josh stresses… in that case, the action is too low, or your neck needs adjusting.
Does the problem still exist when you play on the 12th fret?


I had that problem because the action on my bass was too low. This is the tutorial I followed to fix it


Awesome! Thanks. Yes, happens on all frets, even open plucking.


I agree, your action is probably too low.


Welcome @jerrybracco.

I got two basses recently, one was brand new in the box, one was used from Guitar Center.
I had to do set ups on both of them, and both were opposite each other. After the initial set up I still had to dial them in a little, but it’s way worth it because they both have ultra low action and are in tune to the 12th fret harmonic. I have not spent time to do a thorough intonation on them, leaving them as good enuf for me for now.

My Ibanez SR300 (Used) had action a little higher then I wanted. The neck needed to be flattened a little bit by tightening the truss rod, only about 1/4 turn. Then I lowered the action, and it was great, the way I like it. The next day I changed the strings, put on some Black Beauty’s I ordered online. After the string replacement, I noticed a lot more buzzing around the frets on all strings that the old dead strings were not picking up.
I ended up raising the action slightly, 1/4 turn at the bridge at a time until the new strings rang true on every fret. Results are still great.

The brand new ESP LTD B4-E was the opposite.
The set up from the factory was almost perfect, and I assume it was stellar all the way around when it was purchased from Sam Ash. However, the seller bought it in 2017, and had it in a closet, on the original packaging / box until he sold it to me two days ago.
The action was ultra low, beautifully so, but there was terrible fret buzz, almost deadening the note from the 1st thru 5th fret on all strings.
I noticed this testing it out, and used the fact “I will need to have a set up on it” as a way to knock $80 off his asking price, which was already $250 lower then the $700 retail list price (verified on reverb, which has some 2013, 2016 and 2017 of the same model, new for that price, this one is 2017) .
When I held down the E string ar the 22nd fret, it was laying flat at the 12th fret, with no air gap. This was a case of the neck being too flat, and the truss needed to be loosened about 1/3 to 1/2 turn. After doing so, I had the proper air gap at the 12th fret, when pressing at the 1st and 22nd fret, but there was still string buzz, and the I played Brit’s nick.e round wound strings picks up every bit of it. I spent a bit of time raising each string at the bridge, ever so slightly, checking each string after every tiny adjustment until I got most of the buzz out. The round wound, un broken in strings will pick up some, but each time I play it, I find a fret here and there that had too much buzz, so out comes the hex wrench, and I again, make a slight adjustment until it is better. The action is still super low, I have not had to raise any string anywhere near being too high and in playable, so I, again, am very happy with the result.

Not only do I save money on a set up, that I am too inpatient to wait for a place to open where it could be done, but I really love the hands on, learning along the way, and the overall accomplished feeling I have for doing this on all of my Basses.

I a sure you can do the set up yourself as long as you have the few tools needed, and watch that video posted above, and another good one by the guy at guns and guitars, and you will yield the same satisfaction of fixing your buzzing string problem all on your own.

Of course, we are here to help however we can.


Yes @jerrybracco, that’s how my ESP B4-E was. Not all frets, but frets 1-5. I suspect your neck may be too flat, and would check that first.
If you press the 22nd fret, and look at the string around the 12th fret, is it touching the fret, or is there an air gap?
If it touches, you need to loosen the truss rod.
If access to the truss is at the headstock, turn the wrench from the E string towards the G string. Just 1/4 turn and recheck the gap.

You will probably need to loosen the A and D strings, enuf to move them out of the slot in the neck bridge out of the way. After you do the 1/4 turn (approx 1/4). You need to move the strings back, re tune all strings, and do the test again, holding the 22nd fret, and see if the string is now off the 12th fret, and surrounding strings.

If still touching, do it again until you have a slight gap.

After that, if you still have buzzing with the strings in tune, then you can start raising the action at the bridge a string at a time until all strings sound good on all frets. Some buzz is normal, especially with new strings.


So a quick google search on the kingfisher bass, it seems like although being an awesome bass, it needs work coming out of the box.

I’m still not convinced it’s not my technique, but after reading all the peeps here that took the time to respond, I’m thinking it might be the plane too.

I’ve had a bad experience with adjusting a truss rod on a 1977 Strat, so I will look to find someone to set it up. I really like this instrument and don’t have another $800 to replace it! :wink: