Hi everyone ! So I got a newly acquired gear, a Cort B4 Artisan Element which looks fantastic (at least to me), feels fantastic and …
sound terrible ^^. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit, but mostly, I got fret buzz on the frets mentioned below :
E : 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th
A : open (if hit hard),1st,2nd,3rd,4th
D : /
G : /
Since I kinda expected that I would have to adjust the truss rod, I tried to follow some tests shown in these 2 videos :
From this, if i understand correctly… : test passed, right ?
Besides that, I also wanted to pointed out that i’m below 2mm at the 12th fret for the E string, something like 1.75 mm. This seemed so low to me (what do you think ?) I had to check 3 times, but there’s no question about it.
So, I think I only need to raise the action for my E and A strings, but do I need to adjust the others as well ?
I’m confused because some people seems to recommend getting all strings at the same height, while others seems to follow the fretboard radius. Is it a matter a personal preference ?
Thank you for your help and advices !
Too low is not necessarily a good thing. Definitely have to take your playing style and plugging intensity into the account. I used to setup so low that I get buzz on most notes when I want to but it gets old quickly. Now I leave a little meat to chew.
One thing I didn’t see on your post is the nut slot. Is it too deep? I don’t really measure anymore when I setup, when it feels right I’m done.
Even for low action, a paper thin gap is really very small. You might want to loosen that truss rod just a tad. As for individual string height, what I do is lower the saddle all the way, and then raise it again gradually until the string doesn’t buzz anymore. Lower strings usually need a bit more fretboard clearance than higher strings, but by using this method, the strings will more or less follow the fretboard radius.
Buzzing on the low frets can be indicative of a truss rod that is too tight. But the fact that it also happens on the open A string tells me your nut might be cut too low too.
You might also have some high frets. You can test this yourself easily with a fret rocker but unless you are esperienced with setups this is adding up to “try it yourself but if you get frustrated or can’t get it like you like it, have a luthier do it.”
Also 1.75mm action height is very low. 2.25 is low.
Here’s the weird thing, though. 1mm of gap at the 7th fret when fretting the first and last frets is way too much, and indicative of needing to tighten the truss rod. Do you see that with both the E and G strings?
OK, first, thanks all of you for your answers. Next, I followed this video (mainly, but some others too) to know if my nut slot is cut too low :
It doesn’t seem so (but I don’t have the tool he uses to check so i’m not too sure for now).
@howard, are you sure about “1 mm of gap at the 7th fret when fretting the first and last frets is way too much” ?
How much I should have ? It’s quite possible my measurments here are wrong because I eyeballed it on this test ^^´
You want between 0.1 and 0.5mm at the seventh fret when fretting first and last. I never measure it myself and just shoot for a tapping test; if the string just barely moves when I tap it, it’s fine; if there is a visible gap that looks like more than a quarter millimeter or so, it’s too much for me. YMMV.
I really recommend Marcelo’s vid here; he explains the tapping test well.
I’ve seen this one too, yes (all the videos I’ve watched are from another thread in the forum). But I don’t think the same measurements apply : as I understand it, Marcello is not using his last fret, he’s using the fret closest to where the neck meets the body to the longer he can reach with his middle finger. Doing it this way gives me the results I’m supposed to have : I reach around the 10th fret, and the string is very VERY close to the fret. I would need another person to test if I can pass a sheet of paper ^^
To note, I forgot to mention that : I really want to learn how to setup my basses because among other things, one of my project is to remove the paint of my first bass, which is gonna involve a lot MORE setup than this one. But learning the instrument takes priority for me, so indeed, if I’m starting to think my buzzing involves multiple issues at once, then I’m gonna jump to my nearest music store. No need to get anxious about something a professionnal will do in a breeze.
Interesting. I’d think that the last fret and the 17th should be pretty much equivalent though; that area of the fretboard (the neck joint) should have almost no curvature.
You’re also right about that. I’m not too sure why I would have that difference in these 2 tests (plus mine is around 18/19th fret). I will check again, but indeed Marcello’s method is pretty straightforward. It could be that I’m just totally wrong when I’m eyeballing the measurement from the first test (1st fret/last fret test) ^^. It’s … very likely ^^’
I like the simplicity of how Marcelo does it.
No matter what though - remember you’re doing this for you, and how it feels to you is much more important than any advice you’ll get from me or anyone else
If nothing else works, one useful thing to try is to adjust your truss rod flat and then check the frets with a fret rocker to see if you have any high frets:
You can get a nice cheap fret rocker/ruler combo from MusicNomad. It’s a cheap tool worth having.
A little off topic - but just a little info from one beginner to another
Your bass makes a little noise when you play it.
If your interest in bass playing comes from watching covers on Youtube remember that the bass sound in those videos is recorded directly from the bass.
It not recorded by someone holding a microphone close to the bass or amp. So all you hear is this really clean bass sound. But in reality you can always hear the sound of your fingers moving along the strings and a little “noise” here and there. But it’s perfectly normal.
If you pay close attention the next time you hear a quiet song with acoustic guitar sometimes you can hear the sound of the guitarplayers’ fingers moving up and down the strings.
Some of that noise you can also hear yourself when playing your own bass. But that “noise” doesn’t come out of the speaker too. It’s only audible to you
I might be stating the obvious. I just thought I’d share
It sounds like a combo of needing truss rod and string height adjusted. I have a couple of basses that are unforgiving if not setup properly, but I can get them dialed in with micro adjustments. Once you get your trussrod adjusted to your liking, raise the strings in small amounts until the buzz goes away. If the strings are too high, then something else is causing a problem, like the nut as others have suggested. This assumes strings are sitting on the bridge and wound in the tuners properly.
This is an important point. Looking at the picture you posted in the Show Us Your Basses thread, it looks like the A string is wound around the tuner post only one to one and a half times:
The string should be wound around the post at least two to three times, and each winding should be lower than the previous one. The tuner for the A string is farthest from the nut, so it’s really important that the string is angled down properly.
Thanks for the reminder. Coincidentally, this was resolved very early since the strings were replaced soon after the photo (which was taken right after unboxing).
I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not to replace strings on a new bass : most people seems generally more inclined to do so, so I did.
Well, if those were the factory strings on a new bass, I’d have replaced them as well, if only because the A and D strings were cut way too short.
I’m never sure either
On a second hand bass I do, cos I have no idea what are on, but my yamaha has D’Addario EXL170’s (or somethin like that) from the factory, they’re fairly good strings already?
Yeah for new instruments I try them and keep if I like them. My last three new instruments had fantastic strings; one was already using one of my favorites (D’Addario EXL’s), my Fender Japan had decent strings that it turns out are also made by D’Addario for Fender, and my Revstar came with very nice Elixirs.
On the other hand, Warwick strings must be about the worst in the world. Like, I kind of want to change them even when simply trying one out in a shop.
Used instruments: yuck, change immediately and clean fretboard too. Your gunk is not my funk.
I often change strings on new basses. I don’t like the feel of Ernie Balls and Fender rounds, so those get changed automatically. That covers my Sires and Fender brands, which is almost all my basses. My Ibanez MDB5 came in CGCF tuning with some heavy strings, so I went BEAD on it.
It’s just strings. I have no problem changing them out to something I like if I’m not a fan of the originals.
Mine were D’Addario EXL165 Nickel Wound .045 - .105. Still replaced them but … I’m keeping them since I usually like D’Addario ^^.