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Old 03-23-2013, 08:04 AM   #1
darkunknown88
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Mysterious Fretbuzz problem

Hi all.

I have recently brought a Washburn XM PRO with a Floyd Rose and here is my setup detail:

- Action is set at 3mm @ 7th fret, low E; 1.5mm @ 7th fret, high E.
- Neck is nearly straight with a tiny bit of relief.
- .9 strings and standard E tuning.
- Floyd Rose parallel to body.
- Saddles are parallel too, mircotuners all at same level.
- Pickups are set far away.

Okay, so when the E,A,D strings are played open, there is no buzz whatsoever. However, when I press down any note, there is fretbuzz on the next fret.

The only solution to reduce fretbuzz is to give more relief to the neck and set the action to 4mm or higher.

I am completely mystified and I have absolutely NO clue if I'm missing something or why this is happening.

Anybody have an idea whats going on?
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #2
Kevin Saale
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You've just reached the limit to the levelness of the fretwork on your particular guitar. I must ask though, is the buzz audible through the amp? If not you really shouldn't worry. When you have metal stuff vibrating next to each other there is probably gonna be some buzz.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:28 AM   #3
darkunknown88
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It is a bit noticable through an amp, but it depends.

For example when playing 3 finger powerchord, the finger on the 2nd note is placed a bit behind the frets compared to 1st and the 3rd which creates enough fretbuzz noticable in amp.

This also cuts sustain a lot.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
W4RP1G
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I usually measure action at the 18th fret. This is because the truss rod isn't affecting the neck where it's attached to the body, so I'm not getting an inaccurate measurement due to the neck bow.

Fret your guitar at the first and last fret. Check the distance between the 7th fret and the 7th string. I get it to about a credit card thickness. Then I slowly straighten the neck out more(tighten) until I get bad fret buzz on the first 4 frets. Then I back it off just a bit. After that, the truss rod is done and any issues I'm having will be rectified by adjusting the bridge height and nut(unless there is a serious issue going on).

I could also be a poor fret leveling, or a high fret. A high fret can sometimes be hammered back down. Sometimes it won't want to seat and may need a bit of super glue. High frets are very common.

And a high fret toward the end of the fretboard can throw a wrench in everything. It can make the whole guitar play like butt. You can check for high fret by using something(I use a cut up supermarket card) as a rocker. A rocker is placed across 3 frets, parallel to the string. Then it is rocked back and forth. If it does rock, then the middle fret is high. Do this all of the way down the fretboard, in the middle and at the ends of the frets.

Good luck.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:50 PM   #5
darkunknown88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
I usually measure action at the 18th fret. This is because the truss rod isn't affecting the neck where it's attached to the body, so I'm not getting an inaccurate measurement due to the neck bow.

Fret your guitar at the first and last fret. Check the distance between the 7th fret and the 7th string. I get it to about a credit card thickness. Then I slowly straighten the neck out more(tighten) until I get bad fret buzz on the first 4 frets. Then I back it off just a bit. After that, the truss rod is done and any issues I'm having will be rectified by adjusting the bridge height and nut(unless there is a serious issue going on).

I could also be a poor fret leveling, or a high fret. A high fret can sometimes be hammered back down. Sometimes it won't want to seat and may need a bit of super glue. High frets are very common.

And a high fret toward the end of the fretboard can throw a wrench in everything. It can make the whole guitar play like butt. You can check for high fret by using something(I use a cut up supermarket card) as a rocker. A rocker is placed across 3 frets, parallel to the string. Then it is rocked back and forth. If it does rock, then the middle fret is high. Do this all of the way down the fretboard, in the middle and at the ends of the frets.

Good luck.


Well the fretbuzz is always NEXT to the fret played and this is for ALL the frets.

I'll check for uneven frets, but I think this is very unlikely.

Meanwhile if anyone requires any pics/videos, please tell.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkunknown88
Well the fretbuzz is always NEXT to the fret played and this is for ALL the frets.

I'll check for uneven frets, but I think this is very unlikely.

Meanwhile if anyone requires any pics/videos, please tell.

If you can't get rid of the buzz enough to setup the truss rod, then raise the action until the buzz is gone, setup the truss rod, lower the action.

Trust me, the steps I've listed are the steps you want to take.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
darkunknown88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
If you can't get rid of the buzz enough to setup the truss rod, then raise the action until the buzz is gone, setup the truss rod, lower the action.

Trust me, the steps I've listed are the steps you want to take.



Nope. I tried and this isn't getting me anywhere.

According to my observations, to remove fretbuzz:

-Set action 4mm+ @ 7th fret, low E almost with straight neck.

-Give plenty of relief(excess upward bow) with action 3mm. Solves fretbuzz in the first five frets or so.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
Lavatain
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You have a high fret and have ignored warpig's advice. You clearly seem to know about your action and neck relief, but just assume your guitar is perfect with no high frets.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
W4RP1G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkunknown88
Nope. I tried and this isn't getting me anywhere.

According to my observations, to remove fretbuzz:

-Set action 4mm+ @ 7th fret, low E almost with straight neck.

-Give plenty of relief(excess upward bow) with action 3mm. Solves fretbuzz in the first five frets or so.

Is that how you want the guitar to be? 3-4mm high action? If so, then enjoy. If not, then find the high fret.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:35 AM   #10
darkunknown88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
Is that how you want the guitar to be? 3-4mm high action? If so, then enjoy. If not, then find the high fret.


Okay then. I will be sending this guitar to a repair shop soon. Don't have the knowledge/stuff for filing frets etc.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:50 AM   #11
antisun
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shim the neck. i had a similar problem although i never had to set my action so high. fret buzz everywhere with a "normal" action. if its bolt on just take it off, tape/glue a small piece of credit card to the very bottom end of the neck between the bolts, and put it back on.

if it's a neck through then i have no idea how to go about taking the neck off.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:58 AM   #12
darkunknown88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antisun
shim the neck. i had a similar problem although i never had to set my action so high. fret buzz everywhere with a "normal" action. if its bolt on just take it off, tape/glue a small piece of credit card to the very bottom end of the neck between the bolts, and put it back on.

if it's a neck through then i have no idea how to go about taking the neck off.


Yep. This is a set neck guitar. No way of shimming the neck. I really pray that the neck angle isn't off in any way
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antisun
shim the neck. i had a similar problem although i never had to set my action so high. fret buzz everywhere with a "normal" action. if its bolt on just take it off, tape/glue a small piece of credit card to the very bottom end of the neck between the bolts, and put it back on.

if it's a neck through then i have no idea how to go about taking the neck off.

A shim is only necessary if the bridge sits too high to get the action lower. It's completely useless for any other issues.

In your case, as shim problem helped with a poor setup. A good setup would have fixed your problem without requiring a shim.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:25 PM   #14
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Has anybody unbolted the floyd string saddles?

If so, know that they not all the same height and you should see the "tallest" ones being in the center strings with the lowest ones on the high and low strings.

This is to accomodate the radius of the fretboard.

Now I've seen a lot of guys who swear by using the lowest saddles for the low and high strings with the higher ones in the center and leaving things like that........but many people forget that some strings move more distance than others when they are vibrating.

Because of this, I shim the ones up slightly that have a longer "swing" from side to side.

This "anal retentive" attention to detail will allow you to run lower action before running into buzz than someone who just ran with the ballpark settings handed out by the factory.

First make sure you don't have the heights mixed up and then go for shims only if you find your desired action is too high or causes buzz.

Last edited by HowlerMonkey : 03-24-2013 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:05 PM   #15
W4RP1G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlerMonkey
Has anybody unbolted the floyd string saddles?

If so, know that they not all the same height and you should see the "tallest" ones being in the center strings with the lowest ones on the high and low strings.

This is to accomodate the radius of the fretboard.

Now I've seen a lot of guys who swear by using the lowest saddles for the low and high strings with the higher ones in the center and leaving things like that........but many people forget that some strings move more distance than others when they are vibrating.

Because of this, I shim the ones up slightly that have a longer "swing" from side to side.

This "anal retentive" attention to detail will allow you to run lower action before running into buzz than someone who just ran with the ballpark settings handed out by the factory.

First make sure you don't have the heights mixed up and then go for shims only if you find your desired action is too high or causes buzz.

This is definitely one way to set things up, but he shouldn't have so much buzz with the stock radius.

Can the same thing be achieved by switching around the saddles. instead of using shims?
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:27 PM   #16
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If you're talking about working with what you have already on the guitar, you're probably limited to 3 different heights of saddles.

As said in the post above, you should be good with the stock radius as long as they are in the proper order but you know some like to travel the path to perfection even if it has no advantage.



Some tremolos use the same thickness saddles and instead determine the radius of the bridge by the tremolo itself.



Once you are sure your saddles are correct, you start lowering until you get buzz, find out which string buzzes first, and use an extremely thin shim to raise it until it stops buzzing.

That string is usually the E string since it can move quite a bit when vibrating or fretted near the nut.........but it could be any other string.

If you have a good arc and everything else is good on the guitar, you might find you can actually get the action lower than you are comfortable playing with so it wouldn't be necessary to do any shimming or fine adjusting height of saddles.

In that case, stock arc is fine and any extra unscrewing of bolts could lead to a stripped out thread since these have a limited amount of "unscrews" before they wear to the point of stripping.

I prefer to get it right at the beginning and unscrew any guitar screw as few times as possible.

Last edited by HowlerMonkey : 03-24-2013 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:43 PM   #17
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pics aren't showing up from that site but they simply show three different height saddles.......and one tremolo that has a curved top instead of different dimension saddles.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:36 AM   #18
darkunknown88
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Guys, the neck radius seems to be a bit off. It becomes flatter towards the low E. Is this normal?

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/...general/1179914

Last edited by darkunknown88 : 03-26-2013 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:20 PM   #19
HowlerMonkey
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You can make a shim by cutting up a beer can with some scissors to raise that single saddle up slightly and then buy proper shims once you have finished trial and error.

If your neck is badly twisted, you may not be able to do something about it but I've seen some pretty bad necks that can be made to play reasonably well.

Just shim up the ones that buzz and keep lowering to see if you can get your action where you like it without replacing major components.

Be careful with unscrewing......you only get a limited amount of tighten/loosening before threads start hogging out.
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