#1
I have searched high and low all over the internet and not found anything that would answer my question.

As we all know, all guitars costing $800 or less always have some fret buzz problems. My question is: Is it even possible to take a decent cheap guitar and take the fret buzz out and virtually make the cheap guitar as good as a one grand guitar?
#2
It's more build quality than fret buzz

My GRG170DX has no fret buzz nor does my LTD,

Fret buzz indicates poor setup
#4
Yeah it'll be the action being too low probably... Raise it a bit... And it could be a one grand guitar, if its a decent copy of a 1 grand guitar... Like most copy strats can't live up to the real deal so unless its a good copy no it won't act like $1000
"I've Been Imitated So Well I've Heard People Copy My Mistakes"- Jimi Hendrix

We're born to lose, so live to win
#5
Quote by spiderjump
As we all know, all guitars costing $800 or less always have some fret buzz problems. My question is: Is it even possible to take a decent cheap guitar and take the fret buzz out and virtually make the cheap guitar as good as a one grand guitar?


Yes, in regards to playability......I do it all the time. Budget guitars simply have the frets pressed in by machine and then a VERY basic leveling (most do not even get recrowned) . Some really cheap guitars don't even get leveled at all. To get quality fretwork requires someone skilled at doing it and that ups the labor costs which is simply not a part of the equation on lower end guitars.

So, learn to do your own fretwork and you can make just about any neck play superbly. The newer Squier Bullets have nice chunky neck profiles and are perfect candidates. I like to first roll the fretboard edges and dress the fret ends (I like them bullet shaped like ESP's). I then level the frets and add a hair of fallaway from about the 13-14 fret to the end of the board (fallaway allows for even lower action). I then recrown all the frets and polish them up really nice. The end results allows for stupid low action without any buzzing and frets that feel as smooth as glass when bending.

Here's a basic fret level tutorial I wrote about a year ago after my second go at fretwork. Ths stuff isn't rocket science....it's just wood and metal. I do own some nice crowning files now as they are sometimes needed if after leveling the flat spots are really wide. http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2292115
Last edited by webwarmiller at Jun 9, 2010,
#7
Quote by spiderjump
How much would I be spending for the appropriate tools to do the job?


Not much at all....

The 11" Great Planes sanding bar is under $5 on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Great-Planes-TOUCH-SANDER-GPMR6170/dp/B001735R8E) and can be found at almost any hobby store for $6-8.

Tape, sandpaper, steel wool, etc another $20 or so but it will allow you to level a lot of fretboards. You might already own a lot of this stuff anyway...
#8
Quote by webwarmiller
Yes, in regards to playability......I do it all the time. Budget guitars simply have the frets pressed in by machine and then a VERY basic leveling (most do not even get recrowned) . Some really cheap guitars don't even get leveled at all. To get quality fretwork requires someone skilled at doing it and that ups the labor costs which is simply not a part of the equation on lower end guitars.

So, learn to do your own fretwork and you can make just about any neck play superbly. The newer Squier Bullets have nice chunky neck profiles and are perfect candidates. I like to first roll the fretboard edges and dress the fret ends (I like them bullet shaped like ESP's). I then level the frets and add a hair of fallaway from about the 13-14 fret to the end of the board (fallaway allows for even lower action). I then recrown all the frets and polish them up really nice. The end results allows for stupid low action without any buzzing and frets that feel as smooth as glass when bending.

Here's a basic fret level tutorial I wrote about a year ago after my second go at fretwork. Ths stuff isn't rocket science....it's just wood and metal. I do own some nice crowning files now as they are sometimes needed if after leveling the flat spots are really wide. http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2292115



The books I've read suggest using a file for rounding over the fret tops but it looks like your way worked fine!
It's also good to see you took the time to prep the fingerboard, taping off the wood. Nice job and looks great.
Moving on.....
#9
Quote by KenG
The books I've read suggest using a file for rounding over the fret tops but it looks like your way worked fine!


I now own some crowning files as well. They aren't always needed, however. As long as the fret tops don't have really wide flat tops after leveling then the finger bump method works just fine. If not I'll use the crowning files FOLLOWED by the finger bump method. And again, all this stuff is much easier to do than most people think....
#11
Quote by spiderjump
How much time should I expect to spend working on the frets?


1st time about 2 hours....this includes the time needed to remove the strings and neck, perform the work, and put everything back together. The most time consuming part is taping off the neck....
#12
A major problem with fret buzz on budget guitars is the individual fret wires are not seated securely enough to the fingerboard. This is usually because the fret slots were cut too wide, so the fret wire cannot grab onto enough fingerboard to be stable. A way to solve this problem is to tap the fret wires into the fingerbaord, then drop some super thin super glue into the fret slot. This will give the frets a hard time lifting out over time. After gluing, then perform the fret leveling, crowning, and polishing.

This method works well for me.
#13
Quote by spiderjump
I have searched high and low all over the internet and not found anything that would answer my question.

As we all know, all guitars costing $800 or less always have some fret buzz problems. My question is: Is it even possible to take a decent cheap guitar and take the fret buzz out and virtually make the cheap guitar as good as a one grand guitar?


Fret buzz isn't quite as correlated to price as you suggest, but in general yes most guitar can be made to play well.

What it requires is a good fret level and dress/polish plus of course a good setup. In order to do this right, the guitar needs to have big enough frets that some material can be removed and still leave a very playable fret size. The guitar also needs to have a stable enough neck and neck joint that it will hold a setup. There are definitely < $800 guitars that meet these requirements.

Also, a limited amount of fret buzz isn't really a big deal. If you can't hear it through the amp, it doesn't matter.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#14
Also, a limited amount of fret buzz isn't really a big deal. If you can't hear it through the amp, it doesn't matter.

Are you sure? Does anybody have fret buzz on low actions?
Ibanez RG321MH
TASCAM 144
Guitar RIG 4
#15
Quote by messier_hunter
Are you sure? Does anybody have fret buzz on low actions?


I do.

All my friends say my action is too high. I don't notice it, but I have very little fret buzz. And I have major flat spots on many frets, and a few have legitimate dents in them.

Action plays a big roll, but then your strings are higher off the board, making them slightly harder to push down. So just slightly raise the bridge, and just slight millimeters at a time.
#16
Yes, You can modify a cheap guitar and make it into a real good sounding guitar and a good player. I refretted my Squier Affinity Strat myself, It plays good with no fret buzz. Its the best refret I've done so far and since I did compression fretting the neck is now stiffer than it was when I bought the guitar new, The now stiff neck makes the guitar sound a lot better as well.

I should tell you though, If you want to do your own mods you should have a straightedge of some sort and you should notch one side so the straightedge fits on the fretboard in between the frets. You also need to adjust the neck straight for fret leveling. If the fretboard isn't straight you WILL mess it up while leveling because the frets will be level to one another but not to the fretboard and when you adjust the neck straight you WILL have fret buzz.
Always tin your strings.

_____

Don't be afraid to be honest.
Last edited by Gargoyle2500 at Jun 20, 2010,
#18
as long as you don't hear fret buzz through the amp, fret buzz is fine when not plugged in. i read that the other day when i was setting up my new prs.
#19
I bought a Schecter Damien Elite a while back at $400 (they are usually retail for $499) and have owned an Ibanez RG-470 (which when they were new retailed for about the same) for about 5 years. The schecter is a string through and the Ibanez has a floyd rose There is absolutely no fretbuzz on either of them and the action on the schecter is a dream (the Ibanez's is a little high but it doesnt make too much of a difference to me)

so its incorrect to say that any guitar under $800 is going to have some fretbuzz problems

that being said webwarmiller definitely knows what he's talking about. fixing fret buzz in general requires a little bit of skill but the tools are cheap and the benefits are well worth it

a $1000 guitar is the sum of its parts and workmanship factors heavily, my schecter matches up with guitars that cost twice as much but i may have just gotten lucky. Either way a guitar with perfect action and no fretbuzz will still sound crappy if has crappy pickups (among other things) or if its just a poorly made instrument