Hi all,

I'm getting fret buzz, but only on the higher frets of my guitar.

I have adjusted the truss rod so that I have about a credit card's thickness between the string and fret at the 8th fret, when fretting the 1st and last frets.

I don't get buzz anywhere else (i.e. open strings or the lower pitch frets).

I've raised each saddle in the bridge and they're all almost right at the very top so can't be raised any higher. Besides, the action is higher than I'd like it to be at the moment, but I'd rather have too higher action than fret buzz.

The guitar is a project guitar and doesn't have the original neck on it. Could the buzz be because this new neck is slightly higher than the old one? Shall I sand off a millimetre to see if that fixes it?

Thanks in advance.
Maybe you should lower the bridge saddles and loosen up the truss rod a little bit. I use my saddles to fine-tune the action, but in the end it's the amount of relief on the neck that affects fret buzz the most

Sometimes, if your truss rod doesn't seem too "responsive", this might be due to the fact that it's somewhat "stuck" inside the neck. I've encountered this issue at least twice, and it sucks because you think you're making a big adjustment, but in the end nothing happens. In order to solve this you might wanna "push" the neck down with your right hand along several places on the fretboard while supporting the bottom of the neck with your left hand (don't grab it near the headstock tho, that's where your neck could snap 'cos it's kind of a weak spot > hold it a couple of inches to the right just to be safe). Perform this action after every quarter turn, but ONLY when you're loosening up the truss rod (truss rods don't get stuck when they're being tightened...)

If this doesn't help, maybe you should consider putting on heavier strings (starting off with a "light top - heavy bottom" custom gauge) but only if everything else has failed. You shouldn't have to raise your bridge all the way up to remove fet buzz

Hope this helps

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Last edited by shwilly at Jun 3, 2010,
Check for a high fret first. Use the CC or similar to find any frets that cause it to rock. If a high fret is seated properly, it just needs dressing down a fraction (I use emery boards for nail filing), but if its rising out of the fingerboard, you should get a Luthier to re-set it properly.
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Last edited by Lurcher at Jun 3, 2010,
Since it sounds like the relief is OK at this time I'd say leave the truss rod alone as it's doing its job. I'm going to suggest that the issue is the neck you installed. Two criteria here to be aware of the thickness of the neck where it sits in the pocket should be the same as the original, if it sits too low you may not be able to get the bridge/saddles low enough or too sits high not be able to get the bridge hi enough either.
The other is neck angle. when to original neck was in the pocket did it run exactly parallel to the guitar top or was it tilted back? When you know this compare it to the new neck.
So depending on whtat you find, you may end up:
A) Deepening the neck pocket or reducing the back of the neck
B) Shimming the neck in the pocket to raise it or to adjust the tilt angle.
Moving on.....
It's really hard to diagnose these types of problems without actually having the guitar in one's hands.

Now, with that said, a credit card is about .75 mm (.03") thick. Fender spec for a 9.5" radius (which your squier should have) is .25 mm (.010"). I'd tighten that truss a bit to get the relief closer to spec. The proper card to use for checking relief is a PLAYING card which just so happens to be .25 mm thick, NOT at credit card. I can't imagine anyone having such a hard pick attack as to need .75mm of relief....hell, SRV who has a pretty heavy attack had his relief set at .3 mm. With .75mm of relief it's actually possible to have a DESCENDING action from the 12th fret to the end of the board. On a properly set up guitar there will be a VERY slightly ascending action from the 12th fret to the end.

Once this is corrected, I would set you action to Fender spec for a 9.5" radius which is 1.6MM for both Low and High E....two CC's stacked will be 1.5MM so set it with just a hair of clearance. Now see if you are still having issues. If so, report back with exactly where you are getting buzz and be specific....which string(s) and fret(s).

Also be sure to match the saddles to the radius of the fretboard. It's easy to make a little radius gauge out of some thin plastic.

EDIT: Here's a great read that shows why too much relief is a BAD thing as you move up the fretboard: http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/neck_relief_1.htm He's only comparing up to .018" of relief (.45 mm). I can only imagine how crappy a guitar would play set up with .75mm (.030").
Last edited by webwarmiller at Jun 3, 2010,
I didn't pickup on the excess thickness issue there as a credit card just doesn't look overly thick to me in my minds eye. But yeah, now that I pull out the ole calipers you're right at 30 thou! which is more than twice the normal maximum recommended relief for most guitars little lone Fender While I believe you're quoting real Fender specs there, you are aware that the neck on his guitar is a substitute which may not even have the same radius. The TS also alludes that it sits higher in the neck pocket.
As for the overall action the nut plays a big part too. If it is too high (& many are) low action on the guitar can actually have the strings decend from the nut to the fingerboard end or at best be parallel.

I haven't looked at your link yet but will in a minute but yes Dan Erlewine also says that too much relief causes buzzing in the upper registers as the middle of the neck forms a valley but I wonder if 30 thou is enough to cause this? I've certainly seen more excessive relief on other guitars.

EDIT: Looked the the article. It's nice to see some real definitive measurements there to support his statements. Good study.
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jun 3, 2010,
Thanks a lot for the really detailed advice!

I have adjusted the neck relief and now have a much straighter neck and lower action, so it plays great. There is still some buzzing, now all around the 12th fret (it was only a few frets above before).

I'll update with exactly what frets are buzzing etc. as soon as I get the chance.

Thanks again.