#1
Greetings everyone!

I'm having some difficulties after changing the string gauge on my guitar, I will try to be as detailed as possible.

I have an ESP KH-603, and was previously using .09 gauge strings, and just switched to 0.11 (for tone purposes).

I had medium/low action previously, and now with the new strings I have had to raise it significantly, to the point where it has become quite uncomfortable (and rather difficult to play solos).

I have done the test where I press on the 1st and 16th fret and check the distance between the string and the fret on the 7th-9th string and the distance is very minimal (more than my .88mm pick).

I did not notice any significant bow in the neck, but I have tightened the truss rod (around 1/2 a turn) but no change, I have played with the floyd-rose bridge but to no avail, lowering it increases the buzzing even more.

There is no buzzing on an open fret, however when starting from the 5th fret (on the 6th string, bass string) the buzzing starts and it only happens if I strum the string in a medium/strong way, still annoying considering my play-style. Some minor buzzing (barely noticeable) on the 1st string as well.

I have stopped messing around with the truss rod in fear of causing some damage to my favorite guitar. I have pretty much looked up every solution but I am sure I am missing something.

Any kind of suggestion or tip would be appreciated.

Thank you!
#2
What tuning do you play in? That might have a factor in the buzzing. I mean, after changing strings you should do a full re-set up. As in: action, truss rod, intonation, and some stuff more experienced folks than me can tell you.

EDIT:Perhaps you have an uneven fret. I have that on my guitar now and it's really annoying, but there aren't any luthiers here in town. I'd wait for others to chime in and help.
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Last edited by Fryderyczek at Mar 10, 2015,
#3
Standard tuning, I haven't messed around the the intonation as I have never done that and have no experience, and the area I am in, I wouldn't trust my guitar with anyone here.
#4
If you're in standard with elevens the bridge might not be keeping up. Have you thought about an extra spring or two in the back?

You can also always learn how to set your gear up from youtube videos and tutorials here.
Well, you can call me crazy
You can call me wrong, 'cause
See I was born a liar, albatross
Fly on, fly on
#5
If you had fret buzz, tightening the truss only did worse, you should loosen it.

Anyway, as Frydery said, you would need a full re-set up. Specially if you did the somewhat drastic change from 9s to 11s. If the problem isn't solved, it can be uneven frets then. But you should do the full re re-set up first and think about the frets later if the problem isn't solved.

Check this threads, they may be very helpful:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=614226
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=602241
#6
I managed to tighten the strings on the back and the bridge is straight (in-line with the body of the guitar).

I figured as this is a Kirk Hammett signature series it should be able to handle .11's considering he plays the same gauge? Though I bought this a long time ago, it's a discontinued model I believe.

That's how I learned how to do everything on my guitar Frydery! However I am lost on this one :/ couldn't find a solution.
#7
I will try loosening it a bit DanyFS.

I'm trying to learn on the intonations part as well, kind of lost on this one but I'll get it sooner or later!
#8
Quote by Murasame_
I will try loosening it a bit DanyFS.

I'm trying to learn on the intonations part as well, kind of lost on this one but I'll get it sooner or later!


Intonating a Floyd Rose is quite a pain from what I know. You have to be very patient. It's all about trial and error, I know of some people who had to take more than 1 hour to properly intonate their Floyd Rose. But it's worth it in the end.

Let us know if you were able to solve the problem or not.

As the FR setup thread says, block the tremolo, it will help you a lot when intonating. You may unblock it when you're done.
Last edited by DanyFS at Mar 10, 2015,
#9
It will take me a while to understand the intonation though. As it is a foreign concept for me (never done it, must basically understand what it is and how it affects playing).
#10
Quote by Murasame_
It will take me a while to understand the intonation though. As it is a foreign concept for me (never done it, must basically understand what it is and how it affects playing).


Intonation determines how well the notes will play in each fret. For example, tune your guitar and fret the low E at the 12th fret with an E-Tuner connected to your guitar. If the E shown on the tuner is either sharp or flat, it needs to be intonated because it is not a "perfect" E. Also check your intonation with a natural harmonic. First fret the low E at the 12th fret and then do the natural harmonic at the 12th fret too. Do you understand now what is intonation and why is it so important or do you want me to explain it again in a different way?

Now, if the 12th fret of that string is sharp, move the saddle away from the neck. If it is flat, move it towards the neck. Repeat the process until the note at 12th fret is perfect in both fretted note and natural harmonic. And then do the same to the other strings.

There are more details about intonation on the FR Setup thread, so you should read it.
#11
From what I understood, it gives me the correct "sound"?

I'm sorry for troubling you, on this, I'll try to look-up some videos and explanations over the internet. Never knew it was this important!
#12
Quote by Murasame_
From what I understood, it gives me the correct "sound"?

I'm sorry for troubling you, on this, I'll try to look-up some videos and explanations over the internet. Never knew it was this important!


Yes, basically it will give you the correct sound. If the guitar is not properly intonated and you are playing a riff or a solo that you really like, it may not sound very well because the notes are either coming too sharp or too flat, they aren't "perfect".

No problem man, you aren't troubling me at all. In fact I'm glad that I'm helping you in some way.
#13
Quote by Murasame_
It will take me a while to understand the intonation though. As it is a foreign concept for me (never done it, must basically understand what it is and how it affects playing).

To put it simply, adjusting the intonation on a guitar adjusts the tuning accuracy of fretted notes vs. open notes. Just because a guitar is in tune on open notes doesn't mean the fretted notes will be in tune. Obviously you want intonation to be as accurately set as possible, so that notes and chords will ring in near-perfect harmony. I say near-perfect because a vibrating string induces tension on itself to give the string the kinetic energy needed to vibrate, and this causes all notes to go slightly sharp. its just an inherent flaw of stringed instruments.

Not to mention that the string height of a guitar progressively increases as you go further up the neck. Well, this affects intonation as well because fretting a string higher up the neck requires bending the string into the fret, to fret it. This bend induces unwanted tension that causes notes to go sharp, especially in the upper registers. Because of this, the higher the guitar's action, the more pronounced the effect becomes. Again, this is just an accepted flaw of fretted stringed instruments.

Because of these factors, as well as the gauge of string that you're using and the scale length of the guitar affecting intonation as well, a compromise has to be reached so that as many notes on the guitar stay as closely in tune with each other as possible. So reaching the best compromise is the key to intonating a guitar.

With that understood, in most situations it makes sense to set the intonation in reference to 12th fret and the open note, for each string, to minimise the 'strings going sharp when I fret them' effect across the entire fretboard. So most people who talk about setting a guitar's intonation suggest setting it in reference to that point.

First of all, make sure the guitar's action is set correctly (as that affects intonation, as I've already explained), and make sure the Floyd is floating perfectly level. Then check the open tuning of all the strings, and one by one, with an electric tuner, fret the 12th fret and see if the string is flat or sharp. If it's flat or sharp, the intonation is off.

To adjust intonation on a Floyd, you need to slacken the string off completely, undo the saddle intonation adjustment bolt for the string you're tuning (The little bolts on the front of the Floyd), move the saddle forwards or backwards depending on whether the string was flat or sharp (move the saddle back if sharp, move it forward if flat), tighten the bolt down, re-tune the string, and check the intonation at the 12th fret for that string again, until the string is as closely in tune as you can possibly get it.

This process can be a pain in the ass with a Floyd, but its essential to ensuring that the guitar will play in tune with itself.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Mar 10, 2015,
#15
Question 1: Did you have a really good reason for changing from 9's to 11's (other than that's what Hammett uses)?

2: Are Your Frets Level?

3: How long have you had the guitar?
#16
Thanks for the explanation guys.

Dspellman, I wanted to switch from the 0.09's because of the sound mainly, I tried 0.11's on a friends guitar and it sounded like the tone I was going for, I only assumed my guitar could handle it because it is a K.H signature and he uses it. It's quite harder to play (especially on the bends) but I feel it to be more rewarding.

I have had the guitar for well over 6 years now, and I'm, not sure if the frets are level, I'll need to check that out.
#17
You've owned the guitar for 6 years, and you don't know how to set the intonation on it?

No offence but that's embarrassing. The guitar probably hasn't been set up properly for the entire time you've owned it.

And I honestly doubt that the reason your friend's guitar sounded the way it did was just because of the gauge he was using. I should've said this earlier but increasing the string gauge on the guitar is not going to make a huge difference to its tone. The effect it has is only a minor one.
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#18
Yeah I know, for I had to stop playing for 3 of those 6 years due to a horrible finger injury.

It's the only thing I haven't properly figured out to be honest, I'll read up on it and learn more if that's the case.
#19
Quote by Murasame_
Thanks for the explanation guys.

Dspellman, I wanted to switch from the 0.09's because of the sound mainly, I tried 0.11's on a friends guitar and it sounded like the tone I was going for, I only assumed my guitar could handle it because it is a K.H signature and he uses it. It's quite harder to play (especially on the bends) but I feel it to be more rewarding.

I have had the guitar for well over 6 years now, and I'm, not sure if the frets are level, I'll need to check that out.


Just curious regarding the string gauge; no judgement implied. I've been up and down and all around with it, but settled largely on 9's and 10's some time ago (except for acoustics) for "normal" scale guitars. I've found that I can affect "tone" a lot more in other ways.

You need to start any guitar adjusting with level frets; otherwise it's just a festival of frustration. I've famously (they point at me and giggle) spent big bucks for a PLEK job on a cheap $200 B-Stock guitar at one point, but that guitar is just spectacular to play.

One more thing; a signature guitar will very often have nothing whatever to do with the guitar the artist himself plays.

Ibanez is famous for this; they have custom artists' constructors here and there who build artist guitars from scratch to their spec, requiring only that the bodies and paint jobs are generally referential to the sig guitars sold. Ibanez will send along hardware and correct decals. One guy wanted to appear bigger compared to his guitar, so he had the guitar body reduced nearly 10% overall. Another wanted a neck-through guitar with a whole list of specifics. Meanwhile, the sig guitars sold to their fawning fans are full-size and bolt neck (with none of the list of specifics), respectively.
#20
Seems like I have a lot of catching up to do, Intonations and fret leveling. Going to try and find a store that can do these things even if it's a long drive, sit through the process and see and learn by myself.

Thanks guys, much appreciated.
#21
string gauge doesn't do much with tone. you could not tell the difference between .08 to .12's through an amp. thicker strings will be harder to play and bend until you get used to them. i use .11's on everything, but that is preference. i changed because i like how they felt.

yes it will alter your setup and intonation. also i know somebody pointed out here that 'action' is kind of a slippery word. set it up and see how you like it.
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#22
I would only get a signature guitar if it had the specs I want. As a few people said, most often the only difference is the name on the headstock.

Now, if, for example you got a guitar like an ESP LTD JH-600 because you wanted one with a Kahler, then that's justifiable. But signature guitars are mostly a waste of money.
I've also been wondering if I should get a Dean Showdown ML since that's the only black ML that isn't priced stupidly high.
Well, you can call me crazy
You can call me wrong, 'cause
See I was born a liar, albatross
Fly on, fly on