#1
Hi guys. So back in November i had serious fret buzz at the 6-8th fret and took it in for a truss rod adjustment. That's when I learned to hydrate my guitar, which I immediately started doing but one month later the buzz came back (I had just changed to one guage lighter strings,.. Not sure if that makes a difference.) I didn't want to take it in again so soon,.. Hydrating helps some when I'm super religious about it.. But the buzz never goes away completely no matter what,.. it just waxes and wanes with the hydrating.

At a different store someone told me I DEFINITELY should not try to adjust my own truss rod on an acoustic. (It's laminate with solid top of that makes a difference.)

I know that the truss rod isn't the "buzz fix" switch and it may need to be re-set up. I just want to know how much or little I should attempt on my own.
#2
You should always learn to do things like that yourself. No need to be scared to fix your own guitar once you know how to.


Also, the guy at the shop who told you not to do it yourself - was he by any chance selling that same service for a price?
Last edited by derek8520 at Jan 24, 2015,
#3
Quote by derek8520
You should always learn to do things like that yourself. No need to be scared to fix your own guitar once you know how to. . . . . . ?



I agree. And truss rod adjustment is one of the simplest DIY guitar jobs. Just take it slow - make small adjustments and check after each one.
#4
Many thanks for the advice. It was at guitar center,.. So sort of,.. He was a sales person and experienced payer and said he wouldn't dare adjust his own,.. So you're saying he was FOS?

Cool,.. I'll give it a shot. Thanks!
#5
Read the setup thread.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=602241

Sounds like you may just need to raise the action a bit. Once you know a little about guitars and working on them, maybe do your own truss rod adjustments, but without any knowledge of it, I agree with the shop guy, don't touch it.

I also always advise this - Don't touch the truss rod unless you know it needs it. If you don't know how to determine that, you don't need to try and adjust it yourself.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#6
Quote by Stevuke79
Hi guys. So back in November i had serious fret buzz at the 6-8th fret and took it in for a truss rod adjustment. That's when I learned to hydrate my guitar, which I immediately started doing but one month later the buzz came back (I had just changed to one guage lighter strings,.. Not sure if that makes a difference.) I didn't want to take it in again so soon,..
Yes, putting lighter strings on DOES make a BIG difference. It allows the neck to relax. If or when the truss rod has too much tension, the neck bends, "backward", which raises the center, (6th to 8th frets), causing it to move nearer to the strings, causing buzz.
Quote by Stevuke79
Hydrating helps some when I'm super religious about it.. But the buzz never goes away completely no matter what,.. it just waxes and wanes with the hydrating.
The reason hydrating helps, is that it swells the sound board, thereby raising the entire action. We have to be careful not to over hydrate. It's actually similar to taking cold "medicine", in that you're treating symptoms, but doing nothing to resolve the core illness.

Quote by Stevuke79
At a different store someone told me I DEFINITELY should not try to adjust my own truss rod on an acoustic. (It's laminate with solid top of that makes a difference.)
A lot of noobs launch into a major truss rod adjustment, knowing absolutely nothing about it. We often give that advice here, depending on the issue at hand. If the person thinks the the truss rod adjustment is the be all and end all of adjusting the string height, and expects his or her acoustic to play like an electric, we justifiably tell them to leave it alone, because that's not the problem!

Quote by Stevuke79
I know that the truss rod isn't the "buzz fix" switch and it may need to be re-set up. I just want to know how much or little I should attempt on my own.
In your case, the truss rod most likely IS the problem. The other 2 possibilities are less likely. One is a high fret causing a buzz, the other is a twisted neck. Given that curing wood for guitars has become more sophisticated, and manufacturers don't want product bouncing because of neck warps, that's the least likely problem. (When a guitar comes back, you likely have to sell ten more to cover the loss).

So let's try adjusting the truss rod, shall we? When properly adjusted, you should be able to shove a business card under the 7th fret, without raising the strings. That's with a capo on the 1st fret, and you fretting the guitar at the 14th. ,

So, with our trusty adjusting wrench in hand, we're going to give the adjusting screw a 1/4 turn COUNTERCLOCKWISE, NO MORE! After that, you're going to let the adjustment settle for at least a week, and get back to us.

Moving the adjuster counterclockwise loosens the truss, and allows the strings to exert tension on the neck, drawing the neck upward. (Modern "dual action" truss rods, actually bend the neck in both directions).

What you're going to do, will raise the action slightly. But, don't get it in your head that that's what the truss rod is for. It just puts a slight belly, relief", in the neck to stop the buzz. The action is adjusted by sanding the saddle.

If you check the relief and find it's correct, then the overall action is probably too low. But, judging by your description, I don't think that's the problem.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jan 25, 2015,
#7
You guys are the greatest!!

I'm really grateful for all the free advice - I don't think I could keep up with this hobby as an adult without it.
Last edited by Stevuke79 at Jan 27, 2015,
#8
Paleo Pete - thank you. My instinct was to be as hesitant as you suggest. I take your remarks to heart - it's good for me to understand that delving into this stuff is a "bold" move.

After reading that thread you cited and getting a bit more educated, I actually think it's worth a try on my own. This is a borrowed guitar from a friend and wouldn't be very expensive to replace brand new... So my logic is if I wind up mushroom-clouding the guitar, .. I'm ok buying my friend a brand new one. (Or hopefully it's not exactly a mushroom-cloud situation and it can just be fixed for less than a full replacement.)
#9
Another option would be to go back to the store where you had it adjusted and ask the person to show you what they did and why they did it. That way you are getting instructions from a professional and you can replicate it again in the future. You will find that your truss rod may need adjusting seasonally as the climate changes (depending on your guitar and where you live) so having the ability to adjust the truss rod on your own is important.

Your store should do the adjustment and show you how to do it for free, just buy some strings or something to support them... If they try to charge you, find another store.
#10
Thank you for such a detailed and thoughtful response. This was VERY helpful.

Quote by Captaincranky
Yes, putting lighter strings on DOES make a BIG difference.


Makes sense. I just wasn't sure if going up to the next higher guage would make a big difference. (144.6 lbs to 162 lbs) or if it had to be a bigger jump to make a difference.

The reason hydrating helps, is that it swells the sound board, thereby raising the entire action. We have to be careful not to over hydrate. It's actually similar to taking cold "medicine", in that you're treating symptoms, but doing nothing to resolve the core illness.


Interesting!


A lot of noobs launch into a major truss rod adjustment, knowing absolutely nothing about it. We often give that advice here, depending on the issue at hand. If the person thinks the the truss rod adjustment is the be all and end all of adjusting the string height, and expects his or her acoustic to play like an electric, we justifiably tell them to leave it alone, because that's not the problem!


Right,.. I definitely picked up on that stigma which is why I was being hesitant. That context helps a lot.

In your case, the truss rod most likely IS the problem..

So let's try adjusting the truss rod, shall we? When properly adjusted, you should be able to shove a business card under the 7th fret, without raising the strings. That's with a capo on the 1st fret, and you fretting the guitar at the 14th.


I actually didn't do this BEFORE adjusting. I actually didn't understand that was what I was supposed to do until today when this had all sunk in a little more.

I did the adjustment 3 days ago and just checked everything again today. I also did the business card check - I assume that the business card check is just for the e-string which would be a proxy for them all.. as opposed to having that be a measure of distance for each string. Tell me if I'm wrong. In my case, the other 5 strings were well higher than a business card.

When I checked today (again 3 days later so I'm not at the full week yet), with my business card which is kind of thin as cards go, it didn't visibly raise the string but it was definitely scraping up against it pretty snugly. Each time I removed the card I got a tiny little "ding",.. which to me indicates that it was in fact raised a tiny bit even if it wasn't visible.

So, with our trusty adjusting wrench in hand, we're going to give the adjusting screw a 1/4 turn COUNTERCLOCKWISE, NO MORE! After that, you're going to let the adjustment settle for at least a week, and get back to us.


Yup, I did the quarter turn. Right, after that the guitar seemed better, particularly the B string which was bugging me the most.

When I checked the strings today (after doing the business card thing which I reported on above, this is what I found:

1st String: wasn't an issue before. I'm pretty sure it wasn't buzzing much anyway though.

2nd String: Doesn't buzz much anymore - and this was a problem string. I still get plenty of buzz on the 7th fret if I pluck hard enough.

G and A Strings: Still Plenty of Buzz on 5-7

D String: Only buzzes when I pluck hard

E string: No Buzz, but if memory serves it didn't buzz to begin with.

Again,,.. I definitely feel kind of silly.. in the future I know to check all this and do the biz card thing,.. and keep notes on it,.. before turning the truss rod.

Moving the adjuster counterclockwise loosens the truss, and allows the strings to exert tension on the neck, drawing the neck upward. (Modern "dual action" truss rods, actually bend the neck in both directions).


I actually read about dual action truss rods. I don't understand why you want the truss rod to pull in both directions. If the truss rod exists to counteract the strings, then why do you want it to also be able to pull in the same direction of the strings? Doesn't it only need to be able to pull in the opposite direction? What does the dual action add?

Thanks!!

What you're going to do, will raise the action slightly. But, don't get it in your head that that's what the truss rod is for. It just puts a slight belly, relief", in the neck to stop the buzz. The action is adjusted by sanding the saddle.


Check! Got it! No taking the easy way out to adjust the action.

As you said, .. I'll get back to you guys in another 4 days.

Thanks!
#11
Quote by apbluegrass
Another option would be to go back to the store where you had it adjusted and ask the person to show you what they did and why they did it. That way you are getting instructions from a professional and you can replicate it again in the future. You will find that your truss rod may need adjusting seasonally as the climate changes (depending on your guitar and where you live) so having the ability to adjust the truss rod on your own is important.

Your store should do the adjustment and show you how to do it for free, just buy some strings or something to support them... If they try to charge you, find another store.


Yeah,.. that does feel intuitive but I didn't get the sense that they're all that friendly about those sorts of things.

I totally hear you - that would always be my preference. The bike shop isn't into that sort of thing either. Though I wouldn't expect either the bike or music shop to be.. maybe it's just where I live.
#12
Do you take your car to the shop every time you need to adjust tire pressure? LOL It's not rocket science. It takes a few simple tools which you may already have(capo, allen wrench and feeler gages) and a few minutes of research and reading on the web. Yes make sure you read up and get a good grasp on it but it's very simple. thebecker has a good tutorial on truss rod adjustment and guitar set-up. Don't go more than 1/4 turn at a time and wait a few hours between adjustments for the guitar to settle out. Don't force it if it doesn't want to turn. If that ever happens, that is when you might want to take it to a shop.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. Setting up a guitar is 1000X easier than learning how to play one. That was one of the first things I learned when I got my first guitar.
#13
Quote by rohash
Do you take your car to the shop every time you need to adjust tire pressure? LOL


True. I'm eager to be able to do most of this myself - that's just my personality. I feel like I get to know my guitar better that way. But a noob might not know what is more like "checking tire pressure" ... and what is more like replacing the transmission.


It's not rocket science. It takes a few simple tools which you may already have(capo, allen wrench and feeler gages) and a few minutes of research and reading on the web. Yes make sure you read up and get a good grasp on it but it's very simple.


Would you believe I don't have a capo? LOL! I really need to just get one.. especially if it will help with this.

I have to look up what feeler gauges are though..

thebecker has a good tutorial on truss rod adjustment and guitar set-up. Don't go more than 1/4 turn at a time and wait a few hours between adjustments for the guitar to settle out. Don't force it if it doesn't want to turn. If that ever happens, that is when you might want to take it to a shop.


Thank you!!

I've said this before and I'll say it again. Setting up a guitar is 1000X easier than learning how to play one. That was one of the first things I learned when I got my first guitar.


Interesting.. I wouldn't have guessed that!
#14
http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html

This a very good guide. There are several others on the web and some are slightly different but I think this one is done well and pretty easy to understand. The important thing is to read over it enough times to get a firm understanding of what you're doing. I'm pretty handy myself and DIY kinda guys so I guess I don't understand those who aren't. LOL

If you don't have feeler gages, a business card will work in a pinch to measure the gap but I'd strongly recommend using feeler gages if you get ahold of a set(more accurate).

There's only 3 moving parts in setting up a guitar - truss rod, saddle and nut. I've sanded down some saddles and filed out a nut. It was tedious time consuming work but not difficult. Playing a guitar takes learning tons of chords and notes and switching between them quickly and cleanly, not to mention remembering the right order for songs. To me that's difficult.
#15
Hi guys... so its been a week..

Getting less buzz but stilk there..

The relief seems a litrke better.. but still tight.
Should I do another quarter turn.

ROHASH- Thanks that link was helpful. Im also going to order either some feeler guages orbone of those guitar measuring tools.
#16
How do you know it's tight? Have you measured the gap? Since you don't have feeler gages or a capo? You can still check it though if you have an extra set of hands, 1 to hold down at the first fret, 1 to hold on the fret where the neck connects to the body and a 3rd hand to see if you can slide a business card(or .010 feeler gage) somewhere in the middle(6th or 7th fret). Since your guitar didn't buzz before I'd ay the neck relief is probably the culprit but I wouldn't just wing it without doing at least a rough check. There could be other culprits like too low action or uneven frets(which would require action to be raised). Based on my own experience with my guitars, it always took quite a bit of adjustment on the truss to get the slightest results but like I said, you need to check it to make sure. Guitars can also be finicky. Some days mine buzz and some days they don't and I think that is most likely due to slight humidity changes. Hard strumming can also make a guitar buzz if the action is on the lower end.
#17
Quote by rohash
How do you know it's tight? Have you measured the gap? Since you don't have feeler gages or a capo? You can still check it though if you have an extra set of hands, 1 to hold down at the first fret, 1 to hold on the fret where the neck connects to the body and a 3rd hand to see if you can slide a business card(or .010 feeler gage) somewhere in the middle(6th or 7th fret).


Right .. I actually got a capo and checked with a business card.

A week ago I checked by having my wife help (without a capo)

Since your guitar didn't buzz before I'd ay the neck relief is probably the culprit but I wouldn't just wing it without doing at least a rough check. There could be other culprits like too low action or uneven frets(which would require action to be raised). Based on my own experience with my guitars, it always took quite a bit of adjustment on the truss to get the slightest results but like I said, you need to check it to make sure. Guitars can also be finicky. Some days mine buzz and some days they don't and I think that is most likely due to slight humidity changes. Hard strumming can also make a guitar buzz if the action is on the lower end.


Right.
So anyway, based on my check I gave another quarter turn.. each turn does seem to make it better. Still a little buzz but ill wait another week like I should.

Seperately I think my sensitivity for buzzing means that in general I want higher action. But ill master this before I get a new saddle and start sanding. (Or whatever is the first step in raising the action. .gotta read up on that. )

Thanks!
#18
Before you start making a new saddle, you might try putting a shim under the existing saddle, especially if the buzz is seasonal.
#19
Quote by davebowers
Before you start making a new saddle, you might try putting a shim under the existing saddle, especially if the buzz is seasonal.


I had a guitar that came with 2 shims under the bridge saddle. There is some pretty lively discussion about shims here. Also in one of your previous posts you mentioned hearing the ding when you pulled the gauge from under the string. You're not supposed to hear that. The truss rod needs to be loosened a little more. It's pretty common for the adjustment of even well made guitar necks to change seasonally. I had a very expensive Yamaha electric guitar that I had to adjust twice a year.

If you get the neck bow adjusted properly and still have buzzing then the bridge saddle height might be the problem. The other thing you could check out is fret height. I wouldn't be afraid to try lightly tapping the buzzing frets with a hammer. Maybe they need to be seated a little better. Of course do not hit the fret directly. put a piece of wood or plastic on top of the fret. Also make sure the guitar is well supported underneath the spot you're tapping. Someone mentioned filing the offensive fret in a previous post but I'd try seating it a little better first.

It's good that you're learning to do this on your own. Any serious guitarist needs to know how. It's all just common sense. You'll do fine.

I did have one guitar with a twisted neck. I've had quite a few guitars over the years and that was the only one. If I sighted down the neck by eye I could see the bow on the bass side and the other side showed no bow at all. I ended up getting rid of that guitar. Maybe it could be fixed but I didn't want it any more after I found it.

Check this out. Watch what this guy does to get a whammy guitar effect. It shows how rugged guitar necks usually are.
Last edited by stueycaster at Feb 4, 2015,