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Frets: Good pick for low action and minimal "buzz"?


PhilMan99

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Someday I'll invest in a better bass - in the meantime I'm trying to educate myself.

 

Frets: On my current Ibanez 6-string with TI Jazz Flats, I find that if I don't hold the string right next to the fret - FIRMLY - I get a bit of buzz from the string. This does not seem to be from other frets (presumably no "fret job" or truss-rod issues). I don't have super-strong hands since my playing/practice is rather limited (day-job, family, etc.), but I'm a pretty big guy and have fairly strong fingers. This happens on some notes more than others, and is more noticable on the E and A strings (on 6-string).

 

Are there any good pointers on the 'net for selecting between different fret types? I'll probably go with Carvin someday, and all those fret-types confuse me.

 

I have a very light-touch, but I really want to eliminate that buzz problem on my next bass (without creating new problems!).

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Since it happens in various places on the neck, as well as predominantly on the EA strings, this may very well be a truss rod or bridge issue -depending on where the buzz originates. My guess is that the buzz is from the next fret up, and you can determine that by viewing the neck from the side as you play.

 

A bridge or mild truss rod tweak will probably take care of it.

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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I don't believe the type of fret makes any difference, it's all in the setup and fret dressing. Any mass produced bass will need money spending on it to get the most out of the fretwork whilst if you buy a boutique instrument you've already paid for someone to do that job to a very high standard.

 

Personally I prefer small frets a la Dingwall or my aged Warwick. I'd rather hear the full warmth and character of string on wood with the more precise intonation and bright highs that frets give, than a more clear metal on metal sound. I believe the bigger the frets, the more they interfere.

 

Alex

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Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

I believe the bigger the frets, the more they interfere.

Alex

Lee Sklar would agree with you. I read in an interview that he had his main recording bass refretted with mandolin frets for more precise intonation. Now those are some small frets! :freak:
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Originally posted by Bob Gollihur (bob@gollihur.com):

Since it happens in various places on the neck, as well as predominantly on the EA strings, this may very well be a truss rod or bridge issue -depending on where the buzz originates. My guess is that the buzz is from the next fret up, and you can determine that by viewing the neck from the side as you play.

 

A bridge or mild truss rod tweak will probably take care of it.

I checked for this last night:

* Checked truss-rod adjustment w/feeler-gauge per Ibanez instructions

* Visually checked for string hitting next fret - did not look like this was the case, but I may be wrong. I've had that on other instruments - I don't *think* that's the case (but I'm no expert!).

 

The action is pretty low, and it is a cheap bass - maybe I expect too much. Besides the action being set fairly low, the bridge is really cheezy - some sort of alloy or plastic coated metal. I wouldn't want it any higher - I'd end-up playing everything "stacato".

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Phil, I gave it some more thought. There's a break-even point for string height which is a synergy uniting the string height of the nut with the straightness of the neck and the angle of the bridge. If you're confident after tweaking your bridge and truss rod that's it set to its near-ideal state and you still have random buzzing, it's time to call in an expert. You can still DIY with a few sanding blocks, steel wool, oil and a fret file (all available from StewMac or other hardware sources) but you'll have to spend quality time at it.

 

As a "little guy" myself (5' 11.5") with not-so-big hands, I find I prefer the height to be not so low so I can experiment with harmonic tappings and have some leeway to finger-pluck around with. Using the Carvin setup stats as a guide I actually went a little higher on the action.

 

Another route is string tension. Different strings are rated at different tensions, and either D'Addario or GHS have an online calculator to help you figure them out. A softer string tension may help you relax your attack and keep the cramps at bay.

:wave:

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Do you have the strings wound enough at the tuning machines? If not this can introducve buzzing, namely on the lower strings because you will have even less wrap there do to increased string diameter.
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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Originally posted by musicfiend:

Do you have the strings wound enough at the tuning machines? If not this can introducve buzzing, namely on the lower strings because you will have even less wrap there do to increased string diameter.

3-4 turns on the strings where this is most pronouced (E & A). I thought the wrap just affected open notes...
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