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Need Jazz Bass Trouble Shooting Help


Stew
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Ok here's the deal. I'm building a Jazz bass using parts from Warmoth and Gregg Rogers (I know, but don't go there).

I started assembling everything and noticed right off the bat the strings were on top of the frets. No problem, just raise the bridge saddles. Well I did the 6/64" bass and 5/64" treble side string height at the 17th fret. Still fretting out. Oh and by the way, there is no tension on the truss rod.

So my 4th string buzzes behind the nut but goes away when I place pressure on the string behind the nut (I'm sure the string tree installation will take care of that).

Now my bridge saddles are raised to the point of almost coming off the adjustment screws, just to get the fretting out eliminated.

Can someone provide a check list of what to problem solve in case there's something I've forgotten to check? I feel straightening out the neck will just bring the strings closer to the neck. Frets are perfectly level so that's not the problem. I'm wondering if maybe the neck pocket is too shallow. There is no paint build up in the pocket. It's a vintage version so I'm using the bridge and neck chrome pickup covers and the strings are too close to the covers. I need to do something to drop my bridge saddles down so that the strings don't buzz, string won't hit the chrome covers, and the saddles are at a more medium height without being in either extreme.

Also, the nut is not cut too low. When pressing the string at the first fret, the strings just clear the 2nd fret fine. Help please.

- Stew

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Is the neck back bowed slighty, that would do what you are saying. If you fret at the first and last fret you should see a slight gap between the strings and frets in the middle of the neck.

There is an interesting discussion on www.mimf.com about necks that always buzz even when perfectly set up, some people are saying its down to the resonant requency of the neck and that it can sometimes be improved by adding weight to the neck to change its frequency.

But first check the neck relief, thats the most likely culprit. The neck would need to be bowed forward if this is the problem, thats when two way truss rods come in handy, or just wait for the strings to do it for you.

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How do you know the "frets are flat"? Did you check with a straightedge? As WezV said, with the strings tuned up to pitch, clamp down a capo at #1 and #15 and see if there are any gaps between the frets and strings. If there is, you've got some bow to tune out with the truss rod.

For the nut slot depth, clamp a capo at #3 and check the gap under #1 with a feeler gauge. File down the slots carefully until there is a gap of ~0.01" (it would be ~0.005 for a guitar).

Warmoth is not terribly well regarded for their fretwork, so you may have to re-level and crown/buff the frets. When you do, try to mill in a slight fall-away of ~0.01" from #12 down to the last fret, that definitely helps.

Whatever you do, sounds like you will have to lower the pickups (maybe some routing involved).

Finally, action depends a lot on how heavy you are with the right hand.

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Ok here's the deal. I'm building a Jazz bass using parts from Warmoth and Gregg Rogers (I know, but don't go there).

I started assembling everything and noticed right off the bat the strings were on top of the frets. No problem, just raise the bridge saddles. Well I did the 6/64" bass and 5/64" treble side string height at the 17th fret. Still fretting out. Oh and by the way, there is no tension on the truss rod.

So my 4th string buzzes behind the nut but goes away when I place pressure on the string behind the nut (I'm sure the string tree installation will take care of that).

Now my bridge saddles are raised to the point of almost coming off the adjustment screws, just to get the fretting out eliminated.

Can someone provide a check list of what to problem solve in case there's something I've forgotten to check? I feel straightening out the neck will just bring the strings closer to the neck. Frets are perfectly level so that's not the problem. I'm wondering if maybe the neck pocket is too shallow. There is no paint build up in the pocket. It's a vintage version so I'm using the bridge and neck chrome pickup covers and the strings are too close to the covers. I need to do something to drop my bridge saddles down so that the strings don't buzz, string won't hit the chrome covers, and the saddles are at a more medium height without being in either extreme.

Also, the nut is not cut too low. When pressing the string at the first fret, the strings just clear the 2nd fret fine. Help please.

- Stew

I bought a fender-like paddle head neck on a ebay to put on a strat and when I assembled the body, the heel of the neck was way to high. So I Doweled up the neck holew (because they were predrilled) and I carefully sanded the heel down with a belt sander and after some truss rod adjustment, my axe has great action.

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Pickups are far away from the strings, it's those chrome pickup covers (ash tray) that hitting the strings because the strings are so high yet they have to be that high just to eliminate fret buzz. But the action is too high.

I think I'll try to remove some pocket material. Possibly some shimming is needed?

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So my 4th string buzzes behind the nut but goes away when I place pressure on the string behind the nut (I'm sure the string tree installation will take care of that).

I don't know if it is the same problem I had, but my 7 string neck from warmoth had a close problem. Open string I had buzz in both e's and d... I checked everything, and I notice that the nut was cut wrong! I had to file the nut just a bit to give it a parallel to the fretboard or a little bit to the headstock decline (if you understand) because it was declined to the fretboard and this is what was causing the buzz.

Edited by Maiden69
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I have a .010 gap at the 8th fret using the capo and depressing the last fret. The truss rod is just about loose and there is a slight bow at the nut. Strings are .100 - .045. Also strings have been on for about 3 days.

I would tighten the rod just a bit, so that it's not loose, and to see if you can get rid of that 8th-fret gap. That way you're all straight and you don't have to worry about the rod rattling and causing another buzz.

What do you mean by "bow at the nut"?

I would lean toward thinning the heel rather than deepening the neck pocket, for reasons of stability.

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If I remove some material from the neck heel, then I guess I could stain the sanded area to match the amber lacquer finish?

And yes, I know what you mean about the nut, the nut was cut parallel to the fingerboard and not at a slight angle matching the break angle before the nut (matching the string angle going to the nut).

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If you want to see if your neck pocket is the culprit:

Calculate the distance from the top of the body to the top of your fretboard - to the top of your frets. (with the neck attached to the body of course)

Then measure the thickness of your bridge from bottom of bridge to top of saddle with the saddle in it's lowest position.

The part of the neck coming out of the body should be about the same thickness as the bridge so the strings rest flat on the fretboard when the saddles are at the lowest position

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I have a .010 gap at the 8th fret using the capo and depressing the last fret. The truss rod is just about loose and there is a slight bow at the nut. Strings are .100 - .045. Also strings have been on for about 3 days.

I would tighten the rod just a bit, so that it's not loose, and to see if you can get rid of that 8th-fret gap. That way you're all straight and you don't have to worry about the rod rattling and causing another buzz.

What do you mean by "bow at the nut"?

I would lean toward thinning the heel rather than deepening the neck pocket, for reasons of stability.

Actually he is going to be better leaving a small amount of relief in the neck, you tend to get more buzzing with a perfectly straight neck, but it is wise to tighten the truss rod enough to stop it rattling

the 'bow at the nut' thing could be an issue if we knew what it was but re-reading your original post it does sound like the neck is too high in the pocket. I would deepen the neck pocket, it would take me two seconds with a router. Follow Phil's advise to get the measurements you need and if it goes a little deep you can always shim it.

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You could also fit a back wards shim in the pocket, to create a little negative neck angle. It'll leave an unsightly gap at the front of the pocket, but it's a quick way to get the saddle down and establish if the neck heght/angle is the problem, or something else.

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the nut was cut parallel to the fingerboard and not at a slight angle matching the break angle before the nut (matching the string angle going to the nut).

Just to clarify....you don't want the nut tilted exactly, because then the bridge edge of the nut is not at the proper position (too far away from the bridge) and the guitar will not intonate properly.

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