Unwanted fretting noises

Hi, I’m new to playing bass. I got a cheap bass bundle from Amazon and started learning to play last month. It seems like no matter how lightly I try to play, I end up getting some clacking sounds coming through the amp from the strings hitting the frets, and sometimes sounds that are like a quiet accidental hammer on/pull off type thing. When I watch Josh’s videos or others, it’s like they play so fast and perfectly with no other noise coming through at all. I feel very discouraged and wondering why I can’t get these sounds to go away. I’m not pressing down really hard or anything. It’s not like really loud but enough to be noticeable. Anyone have any tips?


Perform a setup, it’s easy (follow all four steps in order. Don’t touch the nut though!)


Hi @Merbear528, welcome to the forums! Don’t worry, you are not alone. See also this very recent thread:

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at one month in this is the least of your worries :smile:

but ok.
setup is a good tip, your action may be too high.

you are probably playing too hard, even though you are trying not too. this is a thing for i would guess every beginner on earth, and to some degree is an experience thing that tends to fix itself in time.

although you have much more important things to concentrate on pay some attention to flying fingers, both when fretting and releasing a note. see josh’s vid if you haven’t already.

also understand that to some degree what is audible to you with your head a few feet from the fretboard is less audible to someone listening even a few feet away.

lastly, DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! seriously, if at one month you are worried about the purity of the notes than you are waaayyy ahead of schedule. you are a beginner, give yourself credit. i have found a lot of problems just naturally fix themselves over time and you can’t even explain how it happened. that is muscle memory and experience which takes time.

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Thanks. Maybe I’m just being a perfectionist and expecting too much. I played drums for many years and it’s hard switching to something new and being such a noob. I don’t have money for lessons right now and I don’t know anyone who plays bass, so it’s frustrating not knowing if I’m doing average for a beginner or if I’m terrible or what.

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i’m sure you probably weren’t properly paradiddling at one month on the drums.

yeah, way out over my skis with the drummer talk.

whatever, you get the point.

This sounds familiar. I’ve only been at it a few months now myself. I have days where I’m feeling discouraged because I don’t think I’m making any progress until I play something or use a technique that wouldn’t have been possible back in January. Stick with it, there isn’t some threshold where you suddenly don’t suck. It’s all cumulative and the best advice I can give is to put your fingers on that bass as much as possible. As far as money, Josh’s free videos on the Youtube page will get you going for now, my personal favorite for starting out is this one. If you can save up and buy the course… it’s by far the best course that I’ve tried as a noob bassist. Oh, also… find some tabs for songs that a.) make you excited to learn and b.) feel like something you can possibly learn how to play at your current skill level. Build that swagger.


Josh made a lovely beginner-friendly vid here:

If you send us a vid of your playing and noise you don’t like, I can do a much better job of diagnosing what is the bass and what is technique.

I have to admit - I got worried when you mentioned the ‘cheap bass bundle from amazon’.
That has some grim potential for bad workmanship.


For me, what you’re describing was a timing issue between when I fretted the note and when I plucked the note. I would fret the note just a bit sooner than I’d pluck the note, so I’d wind up with this weird hammer-on clack and then the note.

Practice, practice, practice. It goes away.

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