Plucking problem - string clicking


Kevin from California, just completed the course which I found was very well done. I’ve tried a few other approaches online and Josh’s program is by far the most enjoyable and easy to follow. I’ve got some issues with my plucking style which I am hoping to get some feedback on. While plucking at a moderately fast tempo (say 140 to 150 bpm 8th notes) I sometimes am pushing down on the strings with my plucking fingers which causes an annoying “clicking” or “clacking” sound as the string hits the frets beyond where I am actually fretting the string. It’s not fret buzz though. This seems to happen most often with the E and A strings which makes sense as they are thicker and perhaps closer to the frets. I have tried adjusting the “action” as well as the truss rod to provide more clearance between the strings and the frets. At the same time though, I prefer a lower “action” as it is easier to play. Resting my plucking hand wrist against the bass seems to cause the angle of attack to be more downward across the strings. If I lift my wrist away from the bass that improves the situation somewhat but this style seems to put more strain on the wrist. I am trying to pluck more softly across the strings and focus on dragging across the strings instead of downward. This works at a slower tempo (say 120 bpm).

Has anyone else had issues with the strings “clicking” against the higher frets while plucking? When you pluck is it ok if you fingers drop down and touch the pickup? I’ve read that Gary Willis developed the ramp to reduce string “clicking” and I am attempting this approach as well.

Thanks for any suggestions the Forum can provide!




Yep I do something similar.

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Hail Kevin from California!
This is Gio from California.

If you can post some video with audio of what you have going on, that’s always the best way to give accurate feedback.

Otherwise - sounds like (from your quote above) that you’re on the right track. If it has to do with your plucking hand approach/heaviness/weight/angle, playing as softly as possible while still getting a note is a great approach.
Let the amp do the work, and try and get by with as little muscle as possible. (Said the guy who broke his arms for years playing as hard as was physically possible every night.)

Let us know if the light-touch approach gets you anywhere, and post a vid if you can, and we can chime in more specifically.

Good luck!


Just something to throw into this. I find it easier to focus on these sorts of issues with everything turned off and just listening to the electric bass acoustically. You can hear so much more of the buzzing and such this way. Be warned though, it highlights how much is off. A lot in my case. :laughing:

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