#1
Ok guys, I'm getting an awful lot of fret buzz on my guitar. I play in drop C, which doesn't help, but I'm using Ernie Ball Beefy strings (.11-.54). The high strings are just fine, and I can bottom out my bridge without any issues. But my low strings (5th and 6th), they buzz unless my bridge is crazy high. Obviously the action suffers immensely. Like, at the 12th fret, the 6th string is 4mm above the fret. That's with some buzzing, open and when fretted. I have not adjusted the truss rod yet (I'm having trouble getting a wrench or socket on it), but it looks like the neck is slightly concave anyway. Any tips? What should I be looking at?
#2
If adjusting the truss rod doesn't solve the problem, then it is probably the frets. They can be uneven.

Do you get buzz on every fret with the 5th and the 6th string or only in some of them?

Anyway, measure the relief on your truss rod and adjust if necessary. That's the first thing you should do before taking in consideration the problem of the frets.

Since you're using 11s (I suppose your guitar came with 9s or 10s), and you never adjusted the truss rod when changing the strings to 11s, I'm sure that it needs truss rod adjustment.
Last edited by DanyFS at Feb 12, 2015,
#3
If it's not the truss rod, then as Dany said, it's probably uneven frets.
Well, you can call me crazy
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Fly on, fly on
#4
Quote by DanyFS
If adjusting the truss rod doesn't solve the problem, then it is probably the frets. They can be uneven.

Do you get buzz on every fret with the 5th and the 6th string or only in some of them?

Anyway, measure the relief on your truss rod and adjust if necessary. That's the first thing you should do before taking in consideration the problem of the frets.

Since you're using 11s (I suppose your guitar came with 9s or 10s), and you never adjusted the truss rod when changing the strings to 11s, I'm sure that it needs truss rod adjustment.

How does one measure the relief of one's truss rod? I've looked around about adjusting it and what it does, but haven't heard anything about that.

It will buzz on various frets (pretty much anywhere from 6 and below) unless I fret it really hard. That might just be the beefy strings though. It definitely buzzes when played open, if picked relatively hard.

If it is a fret problem, is removing/replacing/whatever needs to be done something that I could myself? I'm a pretty handy person and have or have access to a pretty wide range of tools.

I kinda doubt it's a fret problem though, since it's a fairly recent problem. Only started after I flipped my bridge (I put it on backwards when I first string it).
Last edited by Magmoormaster at Feb 12, 2015,
#5
If you're playing in drop C and using different gauge string good chance you'll have to adjust the truss rod. That's the first thing you have to look into. You measure the neck's relief either with a straightedge, some guides, gauges, or simply by looking at the neck from the headstock toward the back, or by using the 6th string itself as a straightedge. Press the 6th string over the first and last fret and check the relief over the 8th fret.

Until you determine whether the truss rod needs adjustment, there's no point in speculating whether one or various frets need work. But that is not something I would recommend doing yourself in any case.

Is the bridge installed correctly now? I know people are fond here of using super thick strings, but since you mentioned that it only happens with strings 5, 6, using thinner string gauges is something to look into. That is assuming the bridge is installed the right way and relief is right.
#6
I was previously using like .08-.38 before, still drop c, and probably got less buzz. I'll check the relief tomorrow.

According to a previous thread I created last week, the bridge can go either way, just changes intonation. While I never checked it before swapping, it was almost spot on after I flipped it.

I'm guessing that the "relief at the 8th fret" is just the space between the string and the fret? And I'm assuming that it should be the same at when fretted at either the first or last fret? Does it matter if it has 24 frets?

Assuming I do need to adjust it, what do I use? I can't get a regular socket on it, or any sort of wrench or anything because there just isn't enough space around it.
Last edited by Magmoormaster at Feb 13, 2015,
#7
I can't confirm whether bridges can co either way. Check the height of the the two saddles at the ends. If the height is the same it's shouldn't make a difference. Same with saddles 2 and 5. If there's a difference it might not work.

Yes, relief is the space between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret. To check relief using the string you'll want to fret the string at the first and last fret at the same time. Not one then the other. I think there's a setup guide sticky somewhere on this site.

I couldn't tell you what tool to use. Your guitar didn't come with whatever tool necessary? Hex wrenches are common for some guitars. You'll have to unwind some strings obviously to have enough space to turn the wrench. But please, check out some videos and read some articles first. Messing with the truss rod can damage the neck. Some folks recommend doing half turns of the wrench and such. I wouldn't. I'd start with 1/8 - 1/4 of a turn. And of course first you'll have to figure out which direction to turn the wrench...
Last edited by dthmtl3 at Feb 13, 2015,
#8
Just a note. Relief is NOT to be measured by fretting the first and the last fret.

Generally, you'll fret the first and the 17th fret on most guitars. Above the 17th fret, you either can't add/subtract relief and/or it just doesn't matter. And you check it at the 7th fret. And you check it with a set of feeler gauges (like the kind you'd use to gap spark plugs). The amount of relief you set should be *barely* visible. You'll want to set somewhere between .005 and .010". This is less than the thickness of a new playing card. Not a business card and certainly not a credit card. Some folks set no relief at all and their guitars play great.

Bridges often do NOT go either way, and saddle height is often set (or shimmed) to follow the radius of the fretboard. Usually, however, the bridge will be set so that there's perhaps an extra 1/64th" of string clearance on the bass string side compared to the treble side.

With all that said, the very first thing you need in order to have a playable guitar is a neck with level frets. If your frets aren't level, you're going to have action issues, buzzing issues, etc. Probably 90% of the chatter about truss rods and saddles and nut slots in these forums could be eliminated if people were working with level frets. Unfortunately, no matter how much you spend for your guitar, too many of them don't come with level frets. I've gotten to a point where any guitar that's new to me gets tossed on the PLEK machine before anything else is done to it. I'm also having my frets superglued (check the StewMac site for that information) just before it goes on the PLEK machine. And, as an aside, if Gibson tells you your guitar was PLEK'd at the factory, ignore it. Not the same. You can still have unlevel frets. I think I'm putting my PLEK tech's kids through college. But I've got some amazing-playing guitars.
#9
K, getting 2 different methods on how to measure relief doesn't help me much...

However, I just measured the bridge saddles and the bass side is indeed 1/64 inch lower. Looks like I had it right the first time. Thats probably my issue. Which is good; from eyeballing the relief using both methods, it looks like the string is touching the fret anyway.

PS, I bought the guitar used at a pawn shop (great idea, I know :rolleyes, so it didn't come with any tools. The rod just has wrench flats on it though; if all it needed was a hex key I would have no issues whatsoever.

Edit: nope, not it.
Last edited by Magmoormaster at Feb 13, 2015,
#10
The other users already said what I was going to say, but the correct way to measure relief is:

Fret the 1st fret and the fret where the neck meets the body of the guitar. And that depends on the guitar. For example, on my guitar, the neck meets the body on the 19th fret.
#11
Quote by DanyFS
The other users already said what I was going to say, but the correct way to measure relief is:

Fret the 1st fret and the fret where the neck meets the body of the guitar. And that depends on the guitar. For example, on my guitar, the neck meets the body on the 19th fret.


Agree. First fret and where the neck meets the body.

OP - you made a drastic change in string guage and tuning for whatever the guitar was originally setup for most likely (E Standard). Start with the neck relief as everything else is dependent on it.

Maybe post a pic of your truss rod end if you can't find a tool. I purchased a truss rod wrench for my ESP from these guys - http://www.philadelphialuthiertools.com/wrenches/

using the wrong tool will strip the truss rod end and basically make the guitar (neck) useless. . . .
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#12
I took the guitar to a local guitar tech, he said it is indeed the truss rod that needs to be adjusted. Course, I can't remember which direction he said it was bowing... Anyway, he showed me that tool in the link. Even though I'm usually a do it yourself kind of guy, I might just have him set it up for me. He said the frets were fine, btw.

I appreciate all the help guys!!
Last edited by Magmoormaster at Feb 13, 2015,