Newbie Bass Fret Buzz Question

alexreinhold

Senior Member
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I am a guitar player but volunteered to play bass in a cover band about 1 year ago (which has been a great learning experience fwiw). So I bought and have been playing an Ibanez SR 300 bass which has been doing its job well until 2 weeks ago when it started to have a very strong buzz on the E and A string which is so prominent that one might think I am playing through a distorted amp. Tbh, it almost sounds too strong for it be fret buzz - that's why my first inclination was actually to see if the battery is empty. However, a new battery didn't solve the issue.

One thing to note is that I have never changed the strings (but I use fast fret) nor did I make any other adjustments since I bought it. Any ideas what's going on and why this issue appeared all of a sudden?

Happy to post a video if that'd help.
 
I will post a video when I am home (in about 10 hours). The buzz is not really there there when I play unplugged but as soon as I plug in it goes crazy. I was thinking that it might have to do with the pickups. I'll post a video later!
 
Sounds good. That’s what I was wondering is if what you describe is an electrical issue or a setup issue.
 
Here we go. Had 0.0 time after work yesterday so I did it first thing in the morning. I really don't know to be honest :)
What's your diagnosis?

 
I'd go with relief as well. I heard a bit of a buzz on the G string as well as the E & A that you described.
 
Definitely string buzz. Adjusting the truss rod and/or raising the bridge should fix it.
 
Check relief and string height. Don't go below 2mm. 2mm is good for slap, and 2.25 to 2.5 for finger style. You get more rasp on a bass and lose tone with super low action.
And you have a heavy hand. Lighten your touch a bit, and practice alternate plucking with your fingers. Spend 30 to 60 minutes a day cycling 4ths in the key of C, in one octave starting on the C on the A string. Do Major, minor and Dominant scales and arpeggios, and sequence in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths etc., and in a month you will see a huge difference. Go on youtube and find Jim Stinnet's "Real Bass Lessons" videos, they're fantastic. He's big on cycling 4ths, if you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up on the Real Bass Lessons Youtube page. Federico Malaman, Cambridge Bass Lessons, Bass Lessos Melbourne, Cristina De Leonardo, Anthony Muthurajah, Talking Bass, as well.
It took me two weeks to lose the pick when I switched from guitar to bass. I'm learning Jaco, Rocco and Joe Dart songs now. Once you get the plucking, muting and ghost note thing down, a whole other world opens up.
 
Sounds like relief. For a bass, a general target is .015
And to this point, you should measure your relief and see what you have now, before you start making changes.

If you can play a guitar, you should be able to do a basic setup job. Playing guitar is a lot harder!
 
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Thanks everyone - relief and string space adjustment it is. I've been the stereotypical ignorant guitar player until recently who didn't accept bass as a real instrument :) Now that I'm actually playing bass in a band, I started to realize how cool and fun the instrument can be. And though I'm comfortable playing, building and adjusting guitars, I still have this emotional barrier between myself and the bass (both in terms of adjusting and playing).

@Dave B the heavy hands were a bit deliberate on the video to "force" the buzz. I've recently started plucking but I'm still more comfortable with the pick (still fighting the lead guitar player within me ;-)). That said, thanks so much for the tips - definitely going to invest more in better bass playing going forward (time is the big problem right now)
 
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