Rattly noise

When I play bass fast, i get this rattly noise despite a recent set-up (I am also in drop C tuning if that is relevant). My friend was telling me that this is normal to some extent but I’m not loving the sound. Is my friend correct?


It depends when/where you can hear it and what you like. If you can hear it through the amp and it’s more than you prefer, you either need thicker strings, more neck relief or better technique.

Did the tech set it up for the Drop tuning?

Drop C is pretty low that’s 4 notes drop. Drop D is common enough but all the way down to C That brings significant slack on the string(s). Not only you’d get rattles you should have significant bump in volume as well. You may want to go with the BEAD set up instead.

My thoughts exactly. After a proper setup, you’d expect the truss rod, string height, and intonation to be spot on, so not much point suggesting checking that. Have you tried tuning to EADG or perhaps even even BEAD to see if the problem still persists? What is the gauge of the strings on there?

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You mentioned that it’s when you play fast. Is it happening when you’re letting up on the strings to change notes? When I’m playing at a point where my muting situation is less than ideal I get a lot of quick buzzes as I lift off due to the string still vibrating heavily and I’m not pulling my finger away fast enough.

I think they’re correct.
If you’re down tuned, playing fast, there’s a real good chance you’re going to hear the clang and rattle of those strings.
If you have a heavy attack with your plucking/picking hand, you’re definitely going to hear rattle.

Often, setups are done to get the action very low so that you don’t have to use much force to get sound.
But if the setup was done at standard tuning for low action, it will for sure rattle.

If it’s your only bass and you want to play in standard, you may just have to deal with it.
If you have another bass for more traditional stuff, you could get thicker strings (.125 or .110 for your low C) and re-do the setup after the tech sees and hears how hard you play.
The trade off would be higher action.


I’ve learned a few songs that were tuned to C# and the clanking of the strings is just something you have to deal with. You’re down tuned so far that the string is just too loose so it’s gonna bounce off the frets when it’s vibrating. You could try playing over the bridge pickup where the strings naturally will have a bit more tension, as well as adjusting how hard you attack the strings.

You could also just embrace the clanking and channel your inner Geezer

@selango I would strongly suggest not downtuning to Drop C. Instead, restring to BEAD by buying a 5-string string set and not using the G. That C is still there as the first fret on the B string.

BEAD is awesome and works just fine on 4-strings. You might need to file the nut a little. It’s very, very effective. Check out his BB734A in BEAD in these two:

Seriously, why settle for C when you can get B? :slight_smile: