#1
I have this new guitar with a slightly buzzy A string. I'd like to get rid of the buzz, and to do that I think I should try to add a little bit of relief to the neck, because it is (I think) a little too straight: relief is about a hair above 0.010" now, up from a little under .010" when I started loosening the truss rod. When I started even the open A string was buzzy. Now it's not anymore, but if I fret a note on that string it's still buzzy, and I feel like the last couple of 1/8th turns on the truss rod didn't really change anything to the relief.

Is that the right course of action, considering that the the action itself is (IMO) On the high side? I'm talking 2.75 mm at the low E string (12th fret) and 2 mm at the high E string. If possible once the relief is a bit higher I'd like to lower the action a little. I'm going with ~1/8th turns increments to be careful. Can you damage the neck if you're loosening the truss rod? It feels a little tight to me...
Last edited by OliveG at Nov 14, 2015,
#2
When you say it's .01" relief, where is that exactly? I, personally, do a touch above 2/32" on the low E string at the 7th and 17th frets and 2/32" even (or a hair under that depending on the guitar) on the high E at the 7th and 17th. You adjust relief at the 7th fret with the truss rod and action at the 17th by adjusting the bridge/saddle height.
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#3
That's measured on the low E string at the 9th fret with a capo on the first fret and holding the string at the highest fret (22nd).

So yours is like .06" then? That's much higher than mine. Pondering whether or not to take it to a professional now (although I hate it because the only one I trust around here charges like $85 for a setup)... because it seems like relief is not moving and the truss rod feels a little too stiff for my taste. I was kind of expecting it to be easier to turn once you start loosening a little bit...
#4
Re do your measurements, because I don't measure the same way you do. I do with no capos or anything holding the strings down. Measure in playing position not fretting, just an open string. If you want to use decimals I'd say I'm closer to .05".
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
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Fender Franken-Jag Bass

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Laney VH100R
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#5
Well but if you do that then your measurement is dependent on your action, right? I have ~ 0.07" at the 7th fret and .120 at the 17th fret - low E string...
Last edited by OliveG at Nov 14, 2015,
#6
Quote by OliveG
Well but if you do that then your measurement is dependent on your action, right? I have ~ 0.07" at the 7th fret and .120 at the 17th fret - low E string...


When you adjust you should do neck relief (truss rod) first then action (saddles), then re-check your relief again and adjust if it has changed significantly.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#7
Quote by TheStig1214
Re do your measurements, because I don't measure the same way you do. I do with no capos or anything holding the strings down. Measure in playing position not fretting, just an open string. If you want to use decimals I'd say I'm closer to .05".


The whole point of measuring relief is to measure the distance of the string from the frets, which means that you do so at a specific point (depending on the guitar and the location of the truss rod) between the first fret (string fretted) and a fret just beyond the truss rod's furthest location.

Whatever you're measuring is not relief.
#8
Quote by dspellman
The whole point of measuring relief is to measure the distance of the string from the frets, which means that you do so at a specific point (depending on the guitar and the location of the truss rod) between the first fret (string fretted) and a fret just beyond the truss rod's furthest location.

Whatever you're measuring is not relief.


Whatever you want to call it; string height, relief, whatever. That's how I learned to do setups. I say relief for convenience's sake.

Also, to be clear to the OP, I'm measuring from the actual top of the fret wire to the bottom of the string.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
Last edited by TheStig1214 at Nov 14, 2015,
#9
Quote by OliveG
I have this new guitar with a slightly buzzy A string. I'd like to get rid of the buzz, and to do that I think I should try to add a little bit of relief to the neck, because it is (I think) a little too straight: relief is about a hair above 0.010" now, up from a little under .010" when I started loosening the truss rod. When I started even the open A string was buzzy. Now it's not anymore, but if I fret a note on that string it's still buzzy, and I feel like the last couple of 1/8th turns on the truss rod didn't really change anything to the relief.



Don't try to adjust buzz or action via the truss rod. That's not what it's for.

If you have a "slightly buzzy A string" the first thing to check is whether you have level frets. If you don't you need to fix that.

After that you need to double check the radius of the fretboard (and frets) and make sure that the nut slots follow that radius (ditto the bridge). You may need to have the nut recut.

Then you need to check that the nut is properly cut in relation to the first fret. If not, you may still need to have the nut recut OR shimmed (or shaved) to the proper height. Most techs will already have asked you where you want your action set and will know where the nut needs to be to achieve that and what, if any, extra space needs to be allowed for the lower side of the strings.

At that point, you should make sure that your fretboard is flat (the truss rod NOT putting any relief into the neck) -- you can do that with an 18" straightedge.

Now you can set the action (you may want the action on the low side slightly higher than the action on the treble strings, and you set that properly on both the nut and the bridge)

And finally, as the LAST thing, you can add relief if you need it. Relief is really more about how you pick in relation to where the action is set. Generally speaking my relief is about .008" above the 7th fret when the strings are depressed all the way to the 1st and 17th frets. I use automotive feeler gauges to set relief rather than relying on the "rules of thumb" that are bandied about regarding playing cards, business cards and credit cards, toenail clippings, etc.
#10
Quote by dspellman
Don't try to adjust buzz or action via the truss rod. That's not what it's for.

If you have a "slightly buzzy A string" the first thing to check is whether you have level frets. If you don't you need to fix that.

After that you need to double check the radius of the fretboard (and frets) and make sure that the nut slots follow that radius (ditto the bridge). You may need to have the nut recut.

Then you need to check that the nut is properly cut in relation to the first fret. If not, you may still need to have the nut recut OR shimmed (or shaved) to the proper height. Most techs will already have asked you where you want your action set and will know where the nut needs to be to achieve that and what, if any, extra space needs to be allowed for the lower side of the strings.

At that point, you should make sure that your fretboard is flat (the truss rod NOT putting any relief into the neck) -- you can do that with an 18" straightedge.

Now you can set the action (you may want the action on the low side slightly higher than the action on the treble strings, and you set that properly on both the nut and the bridge)

And finally, as the LAST thing, you can add relief if you need it. Relief is really more about how you pick in relation to where the action is set. Generally speaking my relief is about .008" above the 7th fret when the strings are depressed all the way to the 1st and 17th frets. I use automotive feeler gauges to set relief rather than relying on the "rules of thumb" that are bandied about regarding playing cards, business cards and credit cards, toenail clippings, etc.


Um....



Source: http://scalethesummit.bigcartel.com/product/setup-book-for-guitar-bass-new

I'm not disagreeing with you though. Fret buzz can definitely be a fret leveling or nut issue, even on a new guitar. But I don't see then sense in jumping right to taking a fret or nut file to a guitar if you can sort or a fret buzz issue with a proper setup. I always saw ensuring level frets or properly cut nuts as an issue you diagnose and deal with after not being able to get a guitar playing properly with a good setup.

Horses for courses though. I can understand the viewpoint of "Why bother trying to set up a guitar that can't be set up because of uneven frets/nut height."
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#11
Quote by dspellman
Don't try to adjust buzz or action via the truss rod. That's not what it's for.

If you have a "slightly buzzy A string" the first thing to check is whether you have level frets. If you don't you need to fix that.

To check if you have level frets, would you fret the string on both ends of the fingerboard and see if there's contact anywhere?
#12
Quote by dspellman
After that you need to double check the radius of the fretboard (and frets) and make sure that the nut slots follow that radius (ditto the bridge). You may need to have the nut recut.

But if none of the open strings buzz, doesn't that eliminate the nut as a potential culprit for buzzing?
#13
Quote by OliveG
That's measured on the low E string at the 9th fret with a capo on the first fret and holding the string at the highest fret (22nd).

So yours is like .06" then? That's much higher than mine. Pondering whether or not to take it to a professional now (although I hate it because the only one I trust around here charges like $85 for a setup)... because it seems like relief is not moving and the truss rod feels a little too stiff for my taste. I was kind of expecting it to be easier to turn once you start loosening a little bit...


I measure mine with capo on 1, fretting 14 and measuring over 8 with my feeler gauge. I like to keep it at .010 as well.
#14
Just out of curiosity, how much do you guys pay for a full setup (truss rod adjustment, action and intonation)? The shop nearby charges $85 ($120 for my 12-strings acoustic) and I find it's a bit much - although he does do a good job, to be fair (I guess at that price he should!). Baltimore/Columbia is an expensive area...
#15
Quote by OliveG
To check if you have level frets, would you fret the string on both ends of the fingerboard and see if there's contact anywhere?


Very often you can't tell that way. If you have level frets you SHOULD have contact everywhere. You usually won't spot a high fret using that method. You'll mostly only know if you have a LOW fret that way.

I use both an 18" straight edge and a fret rocker to check the frets.
#16
Quote by OliveG
But if none of the open strings buzz, doesn't that eliminate the nut as a potential culprit for buzzing?


No. A nut that's cut too high will make it difficult to lower the bridge for low action without producing buzzing in the upper frets.
#17
Fender suggests checking relief at the 8th fret while holding the string down at the 1st and 17th fret on strats and teles: http://www2.fender.com/experience/tech-talk/how-to-measure-neck-relief/ They also suggest that the proper relief amount is set differently according to the fingerboard radius.

Truth is, relief should probably be set NOT with a string (we do that because the string is handy), but with that 18" straight edge. You're far more able to "feel" with that feeler gauge using that method.