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Old 01-25-2013, 09:57 PM   #1
ChucklesMginty
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Fingerstyle sound too 'clacky'

I've be experimenting with changing my finger-style technique to improve my tone, I used to use more of the tip of my finger and changed to using more of the pad and 'stroking' the string a bit more. I prefer the tone and it makes raking easier.

The thing is, I always get a lot of high frequency clacking noise. It's not something I can get rid of with EQ or anything, and I have no idea what it's caused by. I'm almost certain it's not my fingernail or anything, and it happens with both basses I own so it's probably not due to set up either.

Any ideas and how to get rid of it?
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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Do both of your basses have fairly low action? It could be that your change in technique is causing some fret clank. I would try raising your action a little and seeing if that helps.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
ChucklesMginty
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Not really, it's kind of average. I wouldn't want to raise it any further. I don't get this problem playing with a pick either, despite picking a lot harder.

The change in my technique has helped reduce it a bit, but it still bugs me.

Edit: Put up a clip. I'm using a pretty low end heavy sound too: http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/...sic/play1165339 The changes are tone are from switching between playing over the middle and bridge pickups.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:40 PM   #4
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I think I figured it out... When I strike the strike, it's depressed too far and hits top fret.

Not sure what to do about that, raising the action won't help that much. I guess I'm plucking with too much downward force?
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:34 PM   #5
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If its really bothering you you can stop plucking as hard, but really it just sounds like a bass to me. At the beginning of that recording it was noticeable, but after that it sounded pretty normal.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:24 AM   #6
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Try "pulling" the string "up" towards the ceiling when you pluck a string. Keep the string moving parallel to the fretboard basically, instead of pulling it "toward" the body of the bass because that might be giving you a mini slap.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jthm_guitarist
Try "pulling" the string "up" towards the ceiling when you pluck a string. Keep the string moving parallel to the fretboard basically, instead of pulling it "toward" the body of the bass because that might be giving you a mini slap.
Yep. Also, just reducing the amount of excess motion will help. Instead of (for lack of a better word) slapping at the string with your finger, try placing your finger on the string first and then sliding it off to get the string to vibrate.

Like I said, you want to minimize your movements as much as possible. You really don't even need to come in contact with the next string down as you follow through. It's hard not to, but you shouldn't rely on that to stop your finger. The tighter you can keep your range of motion, the faster you'll be able to play, the tighter your tone will be, and the tighter your timing will be.

Unless you're playing in a strict tenuto style, you can mute the string before you pluck it, as long as you do it quickly and efficiently. That way, your finger is already set on the string and all you have to do is slide off. It sounds like your articulation was pretty inconsistent (sometimes you would let a note ring and sometimes you would cut it off), so this kind of muting might help a lot. You'll naturally have a more staccato style, but even if you do want to use tenuto, you'll be used to small motions.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #8
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Embrace the clank... the clank is your friend. Once you harness and tame the clank you'll cut through mixes a lot better.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
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Any Clank I get at Sub 1 and 2mm action is covered by cymbals and guitar.

But Geddy is nothing but clack these days as he plays over prior live tracks.

I get better tone than he does now, which is not really saying much.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
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Yeah, I'd say it is probabl caused by the mixture of somewhat aggresive playing and hitting the strings towards the body of the bass... And it didn't sound bad, but I'm with you, I'd try to unclack it a bit.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Yeah I know when I started playing Jazz with the electric coming from playing death metal and stuff I had developed a hammering technique where i slapped the string down onto the fretboard which made playing behind anything other than heavily distorted electric guitars sound like poop.

Lighten up your touch and concentrate on coming across the strings rather than down on them.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:40 AM   #12
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I agree with the King, sounds like bad technique to me. Be certain that you are playing across your strings with your plucking hand. Many bassists have a tendency to pluck towards the body of the bass when playing fingerstyle. That is baaaaaad juju. You also might want to lighten your touch a bit.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:54 PM   #13
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Depending on what genre you play, the clank could be very helpful in cutting through the mix without boosting your treble or whatever else you might do to get there. For the most part, the clank will be covered up by cymbals and guitars, but it'll still help you cut through and be more defined in the mix.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:15 PM   #14
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Are you muting the string before playing it?
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:53 AM   #15
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It seems to be happening in some fretting positions rather than others. Have you checked the neck relief, your truss rod may need some adjustment or the neck might need shimming (less likely) Like everyone says it isn't too bad but a combination of a little tweak of your set up and more lateral plucking may cure the problem.

Good luck
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