#1
Okay, bass beginner here.

I bought a cheap bass the other day (90$ P-Bass copy), and it's a nice enough bass for a beginner like me. The only problem: the open A string buzzes when played. I assume that the problem is the first fret, because from Bb on, the string sounds perfectly fine.

Now, I wonder what the appropriate action would be. I was thinking about either adjusting the neck to make the action the tiniest bit higher, adjusting the bridge saddle of the A string to raise it about half a millimetre, or (last resort), filing down the first fret a bit (I'd rather not).

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Edit:

Also, is it normal that all strings are about 5-10 cent higher (according to my tuning software) when the bass is (horizontally) lying on my lap than when it's hanging off my shoulders?
Last edited by HashtagMC at Dec 30, 2016,
#2
Quote by HashtagMC
Okay, bass beginner here.

I bought a cheap bass the other day (90$ P-Bass copy), and it's a nice enough bass for a beginner like me. The only problem: the open A string buzzes when played. I assume that the problem is the first fret, because from Bb on, the string sounds perfectly fine.

Now, I wonder what the appropriate action would be. I was thinking about either adjusting the neck to make the action the tiniest bit higher, adjusting the bridge saddle of the A string to raise it about half a millimetre, or (last resort), filing down the first fret a bit (I'd rather not).

Thanks in advance for any advice!


This is not uncommon. Check the string itself at the tuning post. Does it wind down far? "Kind of" isn't good enough. I wind my A's down as far as I can. The E is close to the nut and D and G have a retainer. This holds those strings tight to the nut. If you look at the strings on the headstock from the side, you can see the angle difference between the A and the others. The A needs to be wound down as much as possible to get a good break angle across the nut and some downward pressure to hold it in place. I'm willing to bet that is the issue, and it's just rattling at the nut. Raising that saddle will decrease the break angle and probably make it worse. Fret your open A at the nut. If it stops the rattle, it would likely indicate that the string is indeed rattling at the nut.

Quote by HashtagMC
Also, is it normal that all strings are about 5-10 cent higher (according to my tuning software) when the bass is (horizontally) lying on my lap than when it's hanging off my shoulders?


Yes. On your lap, gravity is pulling on the neck, adding string tension. Took me 28 years to figure that out. "I just tuned it 1 minute ago! How can it be off?!"
"Quick to judge. Quick to anger. Slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand-in-hand."
- Rush, "Witch Hunt"
Last edited by deeptubes at Dec 30, 2016,
#3
Quote by deeptubes
This is not uncommon. Check the string itself at the tuning post. Does it wind down far? "Kind of" isn't good enough. I wind my A's down as far as I can. The E is close to the nut and D and G have a retainer. This holds those strings tight to the nut. If you look at the strings on the headstock from the side, you can see the angle difference between the A and the others. The A needs to be wound down as much as possible to get a good break angle across the nut and some downward pressure to hold it in place. I'm willing to bet that is the issue, and it's just rattling at the nut. Raising that saddle will decrease the break angle and probably make it worse. Fret your open A at the nut. If it stops the rattle, it would likely indicate that the string is indeed rattling at the nut.

You're right, that seems to be the issue. The slightest bit of pressure onto the string at the nut stopped the buzzing immediately. Thanks!

I lowered the string as far as possible at the tuning peg, it didn't magically solve the problem, but the buzzing has decreased a bit. Would lowering the saddle help, since that + the lower wound string increases the angle the string has at the nut (and thus the tension that keeps the string in place)?
Last edited by HashtagMC at Dec 31, 2016,