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Fret 'Clicking'


scott98m

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I recently bought a bass (Squier Jazz Bass) about a couple of weeks ago and have tried out a few different string guages on it, I've decided now to stick with 45-105 guage strings. However I have noticed that when I play some basslines the strings click against the frets---not the frets themselves but the metal strips that divide each fret, at first I thought this was a normal thing but the clicking is made even worse when amplified, I was unsure what was causing this so I tried raising the action which appears to help a little (but not much) lowering the action doesn't help at all.

 

This only tends to happen on the A and E strings, the G and D strings are fine, I'm not sure if this is to do with the thickness of the strings, I can't really seeing it being a 'set-up' issue, I think it may be to do with the frets themselves and perhaps because the bass is brand new.

 

Anybody else had this trouble or know how I can stop the clicking altogether? The only thing I find that works is to play the basslines as smoothly as possible, so I can't really hammer the strings I have to merely pluck at them to minimize the clicking.

 

I'd appreciate any troubleshooting tips.

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Sounds like a problem with technique. I assume you are playing with your fingers and not a pick. Try plucking with your fingers more perpendicular with the bass. What I mean is pluck across the string as opposed to plucking down on the string. When you pluck or pull down on the strings they vibrate up and down making it easier for the string to come in contact with the frets.

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There's your answer!

 

 

+1

 

You have to have pretty high action if you want to hammer down on your strings like that. Unless you like that clacky sound of string hitting frets, play with a lighter touch and pluck across the strings.

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However I have noticed that when I play some basslines the strings click against the frets---not the frets themselves but the metal strips that divide each fret.

 

 

The frets ARE the metal strips. the area in between them is the fretboard. When you fret a note, you press the string down on the fretboard behind a fret, and the fret then provides the new endpoint for the string to vibrate.

 

Now, as far as the string clicking onto the fretboard, does it only happen once each time you pluck the string, or are you trying to describe a buzz that occurs when the vibrating string clangs against a fret? The first part is technique and can also be related to action; I like a higher action because I pluck downwards. It could also be the pickups; if you really hammer the strings, the string will smack against the magnetized metal polepieces of the pickup, and that produces a very loud click. You can solve this by getting some clear nail polish and painting the tops of the polepieces with a thick coat (not too thick or it'll take days to dry; too thin and it'll flake off and won't provide enough cushion)

 

If, when you pluck a string, it starts to buzz, that indicates improper setup or that you're still plucking too aggressively. Remember that electric bass is an amplified instrument; though dynamics come from the fingers, your volume comes from the amp. Work to develop a smooth plucking style; it doesn't take much to get a string going, and plucking too hard actually doesn't make it much louder; the string moves too far off the polepieces to get a good signal.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. And yes, I was referring to the frets although I got confused with the fretboard itself! I tried plucking differently and it seems to have helped, I guess it is to do with technique after all, however I was playing a guitar before this so switching to a bass was a bit different as the frets were wider apart and I had trouble moving smoothly from each note, string etc.

 

Overall the clicking is occuring less so the practice is helping, thanks again.

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It'll keep getting better with practice, but as was said above the best technique to minimize the clakity clack is to keep the strings vibrating horizontally across the frets rather vertically towards and away from the frets. It often is as easy as changing the angle you hold your right hand when plucking the strings. Rake your fingers across the strings, rather than hitting down on the strings from the top.

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