Jump to content
franzbassist

Strange buzz on a fretless neck

Recommended Posts

Hello all

I'm setting up a fretless bass for a friend and I have it playing really nicely apart from one spot.  When I "fret" at the 9th fret of the D string I get a buzz.  It's the only note on the whole bass where this happens and I can't shift it.  I've checked all hardware is tight, tried a different set of strings, higher and lower actions, and varied the relief, but it's always there.

The only thing I can think is that there's a high point on the neck behind where I'm fretting, as if I touch the string behind where I'm fretting (i.e. towards the nut) it goes away.  But can it be really so localised that it will affect just this one spot?

Any thoughts most welcome!

Gareth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uneven board most likely, although taking action up significantly should sort it. Sometimes happens with defretted boards wher the filler has not been fully levelled and sits above the board. Only takes a very tiny deviation from flat for this to happen on a fretless. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried a lined fretless Squier Jazz in a shop the other day and really liked it but it had the exact same problem (could have been 8th fret of the D) -- the assistant gave it to the their tech to try and fix, though I wasn't optimistic ... especally as I could see the lump by squinting down the neck (it wasn't just a raised fret filler) ... after about 20 mins of hanging around the answer came back that it couldn't be fixed and was going to be sent back to Squier ... shame it it was otherwise nice, and on rounds, felt better than a USA on flats that was also in the shop ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an unlined board, but I think I've found the problem: nut cut too low in combination with near flat fingerboard!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 27/09/2019 at 19:41, franzbassist said:

It's an unlined board, but I think I've found the problem: nut cut too low in combination with near flat fingerboard!

I know you're not exactly a novice at this stuff Gareth (didn't realise it was you when I posted above), but it still suggests that there's part of the board around the 9th fret that's uneven. I don't see either of the above - low nut and flat board - as de facto problems on a fretless bass, whilst both almost always are on a fretted. I have the nut on my FLs cut to the level of the board, they're only there to keep the strings aligned with each other and the PUPs, not to add any height. I also have zero relief on my FLs. Having said this, playing style, tonal preference, and music genre will be factors in what works. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Beedster said:

I know you're not exactly a novice at this stuff Gareth (didn't realise it was you when I posted above), but it still suggests that there's part of the board around the 9th fret that's uneven. I don't see either of the above - low nut and flat board - as de facto problems on a fretless bass, whilst both almost always are on a fretted. I have the nut on my FLs cut to the level of the board, they're only there to keep the strings aligned with each other and the PUPs, not to add any height. I also have zero relief on my FLs. Having said this, playing style, tonal preference, and music genre will be factors in what works. 

Hi Chris!

Yes, I agree.  Having played it some more I’m still getting a hint of buzz, so I reckon you’re right.  Going to recommend the guy has a pro look at it to be sure.  It’s playing clean enough, but it could be better! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I had buzz in a few spots on my (also unlined) fretless, caused by 'trenches' worn into the fingerboard after 36 years of use. These trenches were located at points where 'popular' notes live. I faffed around with relief, saddle heights etc, but the buzzing stayed. In the end I tapped the nut off & gently sanded the fingerboard down to where the trenches were either gone, or too shallow to have any effect. Nice.

So if you haven't already, loosen the string & hold it away from the 9th 'fret' as you hold it up to the light & check from various angles

As for the setup, I have my nut slots down to where G & D are level with the fingerboard. A & E slots are VERY slightly above the fingerboard to allow for the increased movement in the thicker strings. Drop the saddle heights and it will sound like a fretless. Higher saddles will make it sound like an upright.

Btw, this was done with the neck set  straight - super-slight backbow, so once strung & tuned it has a nice slight relief, and sounds way better.

Best of luck.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...