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Thread: Very weird question. Sorry for asking.

  1. #1

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    Red face Very weird question. Sorry for asking.

    Here's my question. I'm very tired, so get ready to read this mess:

    Assuming you have proper relief and a stock nut, should your strings be able to ring freely below the fret being played? (by below, I mean towards the headstock, where you're not supposed to pluck)

    In other words, should your string clear the frets below the one you're fretting?
    Obviously, for instance, if you're holding down a string on the 7th fret, it's also going to be pressing against the 6th fret by nature, but is something wrong if it's touching the frets below that?

    My assumption is that you should have clearance, because if you don't it can cause back-buzzing, right?

    If you're reading this and you personally don't know, I think it would be cool if you tried this out with your basses and let me know what you find.

    (You don't need to read this part onwards, I just wanted to vent)
    The only reason I ask such an oddball question is that I'm new to Music Man basses (besides owning a couple of SUB Rays) and I just received a used Bongo from an online seller. I noticed that the strings lay against the frets below the one I'm fretting. This is unlike the other basses I own. This happens on all strings up until the 9th fret, give or take. The strings press so tightly against the lower frets that there's no back-buzz.

    The nut looks like it hasn't been filed or otherwise molested. The slots are still rounded as well, which seems like it's an innate characteristic of these compensated nuts. Also from what I've read, there's no reason to file down a nut on one of these basses because they leave the factory set up perfectly. I just measured with a feeler gauge. There's .003" of clearance between the string and the first fret with the string stopped at the third fret. On the treble side it's a hair lower.

    I'll be asking the previous owner if he did any modifications so I can hopefully gain some insight into my situation.

    Again, this isn't asking for diagnostics, and you didn't have to read this part (I'm sorry if you did). I'm going to bring this to a luthier in a couple of days and if something is wrong I can return the bass to the seller, although I really don't want that to happen. I really like this bass already.

    Again, sorry for asking.

  2. #2

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    Mine rest on the frets below the fret I am playing.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the input! I was thinking about this a bit too much...

  4. #4

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    Of course they rest on the frets. I have never considered this an issue and after trying two Bongos and an off-brand (F) bass, this seems perfectly normal now that I have been forced to think about it.


  5. #5

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    I know, such an odd-ball question. The only reason I thought that it wasn't normal was because they don't do this on other basses I own. They ring out and you can actually hear the notes. Glad to hear it's normal!

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