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lowlandtrees

Rattle/snap noise on new strings

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I play an MM SUB....love it but changed my strings to Elixir and now when I pluck a string there is a very audible snap/rattle of the string hitting the fretboard. The Elixirs are a lot less tension than the last ones (can’t remember brand). The A and E are worse than the D and G. Even playing close to the bridge the snap is there. Do I change strings to higher tension (I like the strings) raise the action, get used to them...play softer...use the noise as part of the sound (guitarist hates it)?

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Try adjusting the truss rod to put some more relief in the neck and then, if required, raise the action.

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So loosen strings turn it anti clockwise? Sorry....tend to let my tech do all this stuff but obviously can’t at prez.....truss rod adjustment scares me a bit

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If the buzz is when you play lower down the neck, you need to loosen the truss rod.

If it’s higher up the neck, you need to raise the saddles. Intonation will need adjusting afterwards. 

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Might get a fuller response in the 'Repairs and Technical Lounge' although do not disagree with what has been suggested so far!

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Raise the action first. Just take the bridges up until the noises stop. If that's too high, then think about working on the truss rod.

Also, you could think about no hitting the strings so hard.

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No, if the new strings are lower tension than the old ones then the neck is pulling back, resulting in a lower action than before. As the OP says, he usually brings it to a tech so we must assume the saddles are at the appropriate height as they will not have moved, just the neck (or specifically, the nut relative to the last fret and bridge saddles). Adjusting the saddles now will just make the right setup more of a moving target than it currently is. Once the neck relief is back where it was, everything else should be in the right place.

@lowlandtrees it sounds like you just need to loosen the truss rod a small amount. If you fret the strings at the first and last frets at the same time, there should be a small gap between the top of the 8th and 9th frets and the bottom of the string above it. This is called the neck relief. Higher tension strings pull the neck forward and the truss rod is adjusted to counter that pull, leaving the neck with an appropriate amount of relief. The amount of relief is down to personal taste, personally I like very little relief, little more than the width of a piece of paper. If the relief is about the same as the thickness as a business card, then you’re in the right area. There are plenty of youtube videos which will bring you through it in detail. You will only need a very small adjustment to get you back to where you were so it’s nothing to be scared of. Take it slowly, don’t force anything, move in small adjustments and you’ll be fine.

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3 hours ago, Doctor J said:

No, if the new strings are lower tension than the old ones then the neck is pulling back, resulting in a lower action than before. As the OP says, he usually brings it to a tech so we must assume the saddles are at the appropriate height as they will not have moved, just the neck (or specifically, the nut relative to the last fret and bridge saddles). Adjusting the saddles now will just make the right setup more of a moving target than it currently is. Once the neck relief is back where it was, everything else should be in the right place.

@lowlandtrees it sounds like you just need to loosen the truss rod a small amount. If you fret the strings at the first and last frets at the same time, there should be a small gap between the top of the 8th and 9th frets and the bottom of the string above it. This is called the neck relief. Higher tension strings pull the neck forward and the truss rod is adjusted to counter that pull, leaving the neck with an appropriate amount of relief. The amount of relief is down to personal taste, personally I like very little relief, little more than the width of a piece of paper. If the relief is about the same as the thickness as a business card, then you’re in the right area. There are plenty of youtube videos which will bring you through it in detail. You will only need a very small adjustment to get you back to where you were so it’s nothing to be scared of. Take it slowly, don’t force anything, move in small adjustments and you’ll be fine.

Absolutely this. 

If it was set up OK before the string change then all that has changed is the tension on the neck which the trussrod counteracts. Less string tension just needs less trussrod tension to counteract it. 

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Yes that was a great explanation, one which I’ll remember as am now trying to have easy playing basses rather than telephone wires on iron girders style set ups.

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9 hours ago, Doctor J said:

No, if the new strings are lower tension than the old ones then the neck is pulling back, resulting in a lower action than before. As the OP says, he usually brings it to a tech so we must assume the saddles are at the appropriate height as they will not have moved, just the neck (or specifically, the nut relative to the last fret and bridge saddles). Adjusting the saddles now will just make the right setup more of a moving target than it currently is. Once the neck relief is back where it was, everything else should be in the right place.

@lowlandtrees it sounds like you just need to loosen the truss rod a small amount. If you fret the strings at the first and last frets at the same time, there should be a small gap between the top of the 8th and 9th frets and the bottom of the string above it. This is called the neck relief. Higher tension strings pull the neck forward and the truss rod is adjusted to counter that pull, leaving the neck with an appropriate amount of relief. The amount of relief is down to personal taste, personally I like very little relief, little more than the width of a piece of paper. If the relief is about the same as the thickness as a business card, then you’re in the right area. There are plenty of youtube videos which will bring you through it in detail. You will only need a very small adjustment to get you back to where you were so it’s nothing to be scared of. Take it slowly, don’t force anything, move in small adjustments and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for the help.

The MM truss rod is on the body close to the high end of the neck. I assume to loosen the truss rod it is turned anti clockwise? I also assume that you loosen the strings first?

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If your eyes are over the bridge, turn the truss rod towards the bass side, away from the volume knob. Do one tweak and let it settle for a while. After 15-30 minutes, tune to pitch and check the relief again. Repeat.
 

Definitely check a video or two on youtube just so you’re familiar with  what you’re doing. It is intimidating at first, but the more familiar you are with it, the more confident and knowledgable you are, the more likely you are to get it right 🙂

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That’s it. Lefty loosey, Righty tighty. Don’t fear the truss rod. 

The coated Elixirs are on the less noisy than others but the acoustic zing and clang of new strings will definitely be contributing to the problem and making it sound worse to you ears - especially when not amplified. 

You won’t be rehearsing or gigging for a long while yet, so it’s worth seeing how the strings bed in over the next few weeks of playing. 

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On 30/03/2020 at 23:06, lowlandtrees said:

I play an MM SUB....love it but changed my strings to Elixir and now when I pluck a string there is a very audible snap/rattle of the string hitting the fretboard. The Elixirs are a lot less tension than the last ones (can’t remember brand). The A and E are worse than the D and G. Even playing close to the bridge the snap is there. Do I change strings to higher tension (I like the strings) raise the action, get used to them...play softer...use the noise as part of the sound (guitarist hates it)?

 

If the bass played well before, it is probably just that you have a smaller relief due to the lower tension strings, so all you need to do is loosen up the truss rod a little. Don't touch anything else for now. Most times that's all you need.

 

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On 31/03/2020 at 10:40, Doctor J said:

No, if the new strings are lower tension than the old ones then the neck is pulling back, resulting in a lower action than before. As the OP says, he usually brings it to a tech so we must assume the saddles are at the appropriate height as they will not have moved, just the neck (or specifically, the nut relative to the last fret and bridge saddles). Adjusting the saddles now will just make the right setup more of a moving target than it currently is. Once the neck relief is back where it was, everything else should be in the right place.

@lowlandtrees it sounds like you just need to loosen the truss rod a small amount. If you fret the strings at the first and last frets at the same time, there should be a small gap between the top of the 8th and 9th frets and the bottom of the string above it. This is called the neck relief. Higher tension strings pull the neck forward and the truss rod is adjusted to counter that pull, leaving the neck with an appropriate amount of relief. The amount of relief is down to personal taste, personally I like very little relief, little more than the width of a piece of paper. If the relief is about the same as the thickness as a business card, then you’re in the right area. There are plenty of youtube videos which will bring you through it in detail. You will only need a very small adjustment to get you back to where you were so it’s nothing to be scared of. Take it slowly, don’t force anything, move in small adjustments and you’ll be fine.

 

This

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15 hours ago, lowlandtrees said:

Thanks for the help.

The MM truss rod is on the body close to the high end of the neck. I assume to loosen the truss rod it is turned anti clockwise? I also assume that you loosen the strings first?

 

When you loosen the truss rod (anti-clockwise indeed) you don't need to loosen the strings, although if it feels too tight it won't hurt. I only loosen them when I go the other way.

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On 31/03/2020 at 10:40, Doctor J said:

No, if the new strings are lower tension than the old ones then the neck is pulling back, resulting in a lower action than before. As the OP says, he usually brings it to a tech so we must assume the saddles are at the appropriate height as they will not have moved, just the neck (or specifically, the nut relative to the last fret and bridge saddles). Adjusting the saddles now will just make the right setup more of a moving target than it currently is. Once the neck relief is back where it was, everything else should be in the right place.

@lowlandtrees it sounds like you just need to loosen the truss rod a small amount. If you fret the strings at the first and last frets at the same time, there should be a small gap between the top of the 8th and 9th frets and the bottom of the string above it. This is called the neck relief. Higher tension strings pull the neck forward and the truss rod is adjusted to counter that pull, leaving the neck with an appropriate amount of relief. The amount of relief is down to personal taste, personally I like very little relief, little more than the width of a piece of paper. If the relief is about the same as the thickness as a business card, then you’re in the right area. There are plenty of youtube videos which will bring you through it in detail. You will only need a very small adjustment to get you back to where you were so it’s nothing to be scared of. Take it slowly, don’t force anything, move in small adjustments and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for the help.

The MM truss rod is on the body close to the high end of the neck. I assume to loosen the truss rod it is turned anti clockwise? I also assume that you loosen the strings first?

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Thanks for the replies. I loosened the truss rod by less than a quarter turn. Already a big difference as you said. Think I may have to slightly raise the action of the A string but problem solved. The intonation has also corrected. It was slightly flat .....spot on now without correction. I really like this bass even although the neck/fretboard is not the best...it sounds great and cost me £380 on BC. I took it into a shop and compared it to a few new and old fenders and other brands ...it sounded just as good and better than some.

Thanks again.

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17 minutes ago, lowlandtrees said:

Thanks for the help.

The MM truss rod is on the body close to the high end of the neck. I assume to loosen the truss rod it is turned anti clockwise? I also assume that you loosen the strings first?

Yes anti clockwise to loosen. As you are loosening the trussrod and letting the strings pull the neck forwards a bit then it's not necessary to loosen the strings as you are also in effect loosening the strings by loosening the trussrod. When tightening the trussrod it's worth slackening the strings as you are  trying to pull the neck backwards against the string tension. Also it's worth physically pulling the headstock backwards gently by levering against a sofa or suchlike when tightening a trussrod, it helps take the strain off the threads and makes turning the nut easier. 

It won't hurt to slacken the strings either way but not always necessary. 

Glad you got it done. 👍

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Posted (edited)

having moved over to DR neons a few years ago it is noticeable that there is string wear where the frets are, so it may be that new strings have to 'bed in' 

Edited by PaulWarning

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