Struggling with fret buzz on first self setup attempt

I’m following Josh’s setup video on my Squier Jazz bass. It’s the cheapest of what I have, so if I royally screwed something it wouldn’t be a massive catastrophe.

I followed the guide for how to adjust the truss rod, and I thought I had it pretty well adjusted based on what Josh showed in the video. However, I’ve hit a bit of a snag while attempting to lower the action. While trying to set the bridge to a medium action height, I had the recommended height Josh gave, but when testing for rattling on the E string, from the 10th fret on (towards the bridge), I can see the string touches the fretboard, causing a ton of rattling. In order to get it so that those strings don’t rattle, I’m pretty much back to the high, nearly unplayable (for me) action height I started with.

Do I need to go back to the truss rod and try to readjust it again? I’m fairly certain the bass still has the stock strings it came with, so could that be affecting it somehow?

I don’t mind taking it to a luthier for a setup if it turns out I can’t do this myself, but I would like to learn how to do setups.


Hi @Sarah_B . I’d check the truss rod again. For starters.

Second, I’d check if there are some uneven frets. If its from the 10th on, it may be this.

Then, if the truss and frets are OK, I’d think about playing around with the bridge saddles. Make sure the saddles are level with respect to the body.

Finally, I’d look into shimming the neck.


Fret buzz in the first ~12 frets is generally a truss rod issue (neck relief), fret buzz in the last ~12 frets is bridge height (action). You can also have one or more high frets that cause a problem, you need a fret rocker or something straight like a credit card to locate them. Shimming the neck is only necessary if the bridge does not allow for sufficient height adjustment.

Here are the fender instructions for doing a bass setup which differ a bit from what Josh says for adjusting the truss rod. How do I set up my bass guitar properly?  · Customer Self-Service

If you haven’t already, just take some time to think about the different adjustments and how they affect the neck to string relationship and that will give you an understanding of what to adjust to solve a problem.

A lot of people think that the lowest action possible is the best but it also comes with some downsides, especially if one’s plucking/picking technique is lacking; playing cleanly is more difficult with a low action. In the end, an instrument that plays and sounds the way you like is the main goal and the measurements are secondary to that.


Right, which is why I’m not going for a super low action. I’m trying for the medium action Josh recommended, but by the time I get it to where there’s no buzz on the further frets, the string is way too high, and it hurts to fret and move up and down the fretboard. I’m thinking I’m just gonna take it in and let a professional handle it. Probably get new strings while I’m at it.


Hi @Sarah_B,

I took it to a guitar shop which has a great bass tech and that gave me a great place to start. Cost about $30.

Since then, I’ve adjusted my bass a bit and had more success. For me, it was nice to know “this is how it feels when it’s properly set up.”

Keep it going!


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Hi Sarah. Go to youtube and search on “Setting Up Your Bass Guitar with John Carruthers.” This guy has 6 different vids on how to go thru a set up, one of the best instructional vids I’ve seen. He’ll show you how to do all this which should correct any issues you’ve got.


I will have to check him out

I did all 3 of mine after watching this and they play great now.

This! I learned a lot from his vids too.

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I upvote John Carruthers too. You can litterally see and feel his years of experience. This is probably the only set of videos needed, just watch them in order and you’re gonna be fine.
I made my setup and got a little help from everyone here (Setup help : BUZzzz Buzzz buzz - #33 by mediaklan). I think it’s a really good thing that you try it yourself.

note : something to consider too, when you will be done with the truss rod, don’t forget it will take some time to settle.

I havent seen Josh’s setup video. But I’m going to share the following website. This is one of the best and most thorough walk throughs for doing a set up. There is a specific order you have to go in; and it does all start with the truss rod. But to get it set up properly, you’ll need a few things. 1) A feeler guage, 2) string height ruler, and 3) capo. These are cheap investments for less than the cost of a single paid setup. If you follow the guide, your instrument should be pretty much spot on.


You actually do not need these things to set it up properly. Capos are nice for convenience though.

I still like Marcelo’s video a lot. Simple, fast , easy, great results.

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I will take a look at those videos and the website, thanks. I might just by those items even if they arent necessary just because they seem to be relatively cheap on amazon


Yeah they do not hurt, just not really needed.

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Screen Shot 2023-06-13 at 3.26.44 PM


Yeah, really Josh’s video has all you need. I have done basically the same thing since my first setup and had great results the whole time.

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I think it’s something about what I’m doing or the bass itself that’s the issue. Either I’m doing something wrong, or the bass is just wonky. Which it could be. It’s a Squier Afiinity jazz bass, and I’ve heard that line can be a little finnicky. But it was cheap, so if something goes super wrong, I won’t be entirely upset.


The Affinity is fine for the price point. I have never seen a bass that could not be adjusted with the techniques in the previous posts. It may be worthwhile to let a pro at a guitar shop do it on the first one.

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