#1
Ok, this is driving me fucking nuts at this point, any help would be appreciated:
I'm having weird buzz issues on my guitar (which is otherwise absolutely awesome). We're not talking about fret buzz, we're talking about a strange, different kind of buzz which is difficult to describe, it seems to come from around the nut area, although I find it highly unlikely it's the nut itself or the strings above the buzz (reasons below). It sounds "hollow", if that makes any sense.

Right now the situation was that the neck was clearly a bit too flat (fret buzz all over the place - you know, your normal, everyday fret buzz everyone knows). I added a little bit of relief (1/4 of a truss rod turn or so), fret buzz is mostly gone and it's a lot more comfortable to play, but here we go again: the inexplicable buzz appears at various places on the neck, in particular it seems to like G# notes (clearly audible on the 4th fret on the 6th string and the 6th fret on the 4th string, for example).

This has happened before with varying intensity, but generally it was either something like this that it appeared on semi-random frets all over the fretboard (although at times it did feel like it's mostly one particular note in various places), or at the worst point it was combined with the fact that the lowest two strings were entering some sort of weird resonance when picked a bit harder not fretted. (Clearly audible when played through the amp, with distortion it sounded like a light flanger or something.)

The guitar has already been to a luthier (a good one from all available sources and my own experience) and looked into by the service through warranty. In either case they dealt with the issue, after some time a slight truss rod adjustment was necessary, BAM, here we go again.

Does anyone have any ideas? The most annoying thing is that the guitar is absolutely awesome in every way besides that, but this is driving me fucking nuts. Never encountered something like this on any other guitar.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
There's no point in trying to convince a moron.
#2
check the tuners and all the hardware attached to them.

can you post a clip?
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#3
So your guitars awesome except it sounds bad? Mmmm

Reading your post, it sounds like the problem appears after you adjust the truss rod. With all due respect, are you sure you know what you are doing with it?
#4
Quote by Robbgnarly
check the tuners and all the hardware attached to them.

can you post a clip?

I'll try to, don't have anything proper for recording yet.

That was also an option I considered, but it seems to come strictly from around the nut area, and as I said it appears on particular places on the fretboard. I'm guessing if it was the nut itself or the tuners or something similar, it would buzz everywhere, rather than just in random places. The part I mentioned about the weird resonance issue I had (at least that has not come back) is also significant I think, all together it makes me think it's something to do with the truss rod somehow.

Quote by SpiderM
So your guitars awesome except it sounds bad? Mmmm

Reading your post, it sounds like the problem appears after you adjust the truss rod. With all due respect, are you sure you know what you are doing with it?

Buzz =/= sounding bad. I could maybe ignore it if I tried hard (probably would not be noticeable to someone listening) but it's fucking annoying. It plays and sounds wonderful besides that.

Yes, I do, unless you can give me a reason why a 1/4 turn that makes it play better could ruin anything, the neck was clearly too flat as there was fret buzz all over the place which is almost gone after the tweak. All the changes I've ever done (half a year) were subtle. The issue started appearing first about 3-4 weeks after buying, before I ever touched the truss rod.

My other electric is a 7-string for half the price, which has gone through times of absolutely horrible setup and me actually having no idea what I was doing at times, and it's never had anything like this.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
There's no point in trying to convince a moron.
#5
Maybe frets need leveling? Or strings have this weird "groove" in them over the frets preventing that note from being fretted properly(due to wear). I have had both issues.
#6
Here a few quick things ro try. Tighten the nuts on the tuners, it sounds weird, but it has happened before. Is the nut fastened down? Do you have a loose fret?
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#7
You might also check the truss-rod nut is not too loose, or the truss rod cover is not loose.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#8
Thanks a lot for the ideas, I'll try everything out after I get back home.

It became a bit milder afterwards (right after the truss rod tweak it was clearly audible), now again I could probably ignore it if I tried and it will not be very audible through the amp, but it just annoys the living hell out of me. It must be something simple because I'm guessing if the truss rod was screwed I'd have bigger issues that this, and the guitar plays like butter otherwise.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
There's no point in trying to convince a moron.
#9
Always start with level frets. Never assume they are. Never assume that your local tech even bothers to check. Truth is, most guitars purchased from stores don't have them, whether because of the 6500 miles from Asia to get here, from hanging on the wall in an air-conditioned store for a while, from manufacturing indifference, etc. I've been having guitars that are new to me PLEK'd and the frets superglued. The latter does two things: it helps prevent frets from "lifting" during changes in temperature/humidity and it helps prevent "dead" frets.

Then make sure that you have new strings. While we're at it, if you have a case that really pushes down on the strings, you may find that you have "dented" strings (and you'll eventually find that you have early fret wear). ESP guitars often ship with a long skinny piece of hard plastic between the strings and the frets. You should probably find something like this if you have a guitar that spends a lot of time in a tight case.

Make sure that your nut is cut properly. A too-high nut will cause you to have buzzing strings (especially in the upper reaches) when you lower the bridge enough to produce low action. Have your tech make sure that the radius of the nut (and bridge) match the radius of your fretboard.

Check the saddles on the bridge to make sure they're not rattling.

If the guitar has a tailpiece, make sure that the break angle isn't causing the string to contact the back of the bridge ever so slightly (causing buzz).


Level out your truss rod before beginning any of your checking. I got a used guitar in the mail from a guy who "wasn't using it much any more." I could see why. He'd cranked the truss rod so much that the neck actually looked seriously bowed. Took me about 20 minutes to get the silly thing back in normal rig. Your best advice is to leave the truss rod alone -- it's not to be used to adjust action. That's the job of your bridge and your nut, and you want to do that over a level, flat fretboard. Adding relief is a whole different thing, and is *minimally* done. Can't tell you how many yahoos don't get that and make the truss rod their adjustment toy.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 23, 2015,
#10
OK, so status update:
Tightened all the tuners wherever possible. Frets are all in perfectly good shape, holding strong, and definitely decently leveled. I also tried playing without the truss rod cover, no difference.

As for other semi-permanent factors:
- nut is something that I've been considering as an option, but it doesn't make sense to me simply because as I said, it has been possible to temporarily get rid of the buzz altogether, and it appears only on certain frets. I'm guessing if it was badly cut, the buzz would be consistent.
- strings are definitely not a factor, twice before there was no difference whatsoever after putting on new strings.

The truss rod still remains my primary suspect, given the whole history, and the source of the buzz seems to be exactly where the truss rod ends (i.e. above the nut). The adjustment I did yesterday was seriously minor at most - 1/4 of a turn to add a bit of relief, which did exactly the job is was supposed to and got rid of the omnipresent fret buzz (fret buzz, completely different than what I struggle with).

I got the guitar properly setup a while ago and I basically don't touch the bridge action since, as, well, logically if anything is off the only thing that could have moved is the truss rod, so I only do minor adjustments if necessary. As I said, it's really well setup right now and plays like butter and is perfectly intonated, dumb setup is not the reason.

Either way, it is indeed milder and quieter now, it's basically inaudible through the amp so I can live with it, but any ideas what could it be are appreciated. I am 90% sure it's something to do with the truss rod, though. Almost every other factor has been eliminated at this point. Btw:
You might also check the truss-rod nut is not too loose

Which part is that exactly?
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
There's no point in trying to convince a moron.