#1
first off, a side question: are warped necks common with Korean and Indonesian made guitars?

I own two Ibanez guitars, a S770pb and a RG7321.

Both have a terrible amount of fret buzz and no matter what do, it's there.

On both guitars, the necks seems as if they are straight on one side and slightly bow on the other (the bass side compared to the treble side). It could be a group of uneven frets, I'm not too sure. But both guitar necks do seem to look like this.

I've adjusted the truss rod multiple times in each guitar in conjunction with a bridge adjustment. Really high action, low action, straight neck, slight relief, fret buzz everywhere.

Im wondering if both of these guitars are just a result of bad quality control, and if the necks may in fact be warped.

On a side note, I went into a GC the other day on vacation and tried out quite a few guitars. Some were set up decent, but this one Schecter played better than any guitar I've played. The lowest action I can imagine and no fret buzz. And it was only $450. I didn't have the money at the time and this place is 4 hours away and it's eating at me

I attempted a fret level on the S series Ibanez a few years back but it didn't seem to help much at all. I've just dealt with the buzz.

Basically I'm just wondering if these guitars are just shitty or if there's some magic way to make them more playable. I mean they are entirely playable as is, just with some really annoying fret buzz pretty much all down the neck.
#2
Whats the environment like where you keep your guitars ? Is it climate controlled ?
Also, how long did you wait after you adjusted the truss rod before you decided the adjustment didn't work ?

I have been down this road before and the culprit was a loose machine head. It took me months to realise it though.
#3
If you'd actually accomplished a fret level on the Ibanez, then buzz shouldn't have been an issue. The whole business of cranking your truss rod around mystifies me; it's never been the best way to eliminate fret buzz (at least according to the techs I've worked with). If you'd managed to get the frets level, then the neck isn't warped.

I think we're looking at your ability to properly set up the guitar, and I would guess that the Schecter would suffer the same fate over time. I don't mean that to be rude. It wasn't until I started having guitars PLEK'd that I realized that necks come up to string tension in a non-linear fashion. In other words, a set of frets that's level with the strings off will not necessarily be level when the strings are under tension. The precision with which nut slots are cut can make a major difference, and matching the radius of the nut and the bridge to that of the fretboard can also make a major difference. A fret that pops up when the neck is under string tension can also throw everything off. I've been having my frets superglued (and PLEK'd) on guitars that are new to me. When the guitar is buttoned down setup-wise, there are rarely problems. If you're not using a set of feeler gauges to set relief accurately and/or are just cranking the truss rod randomly, and if you're willing to sacrifice action height to hide from buzzing, you may need to sharpen your skills.
#4
dspellman I'm definitely no pro, especially at setting up, but I've been playing electric almost 10 years, and have a decent amount of experience with all this.

Although I've only owned 4 guitars, one of them only acquired recently (the 7 string).

The first was a Epi Les Paul, I was too young to really know what I was doing, and I never even touched the truss rod. Then came the Ibanez S, it came set up terribly, and I've never been able to make it play very well.

I had a Sterling Petrucci model, and I actually got it professionally set up after not being able to set it up how I wanted, and it came back exactly the same, with high action and still a bit of fret buzz (granted they did not do any sort of fret leveling).

My fret level on the S series probably wasn't very successful, but I didn't damage it further as it plays about the same.

In going to attempt another fret level today or tomorrow and make sure I get it right.
#5
I have to agree with everything dspellman said.
Sorry, but it sounds like you haven't gotten a true fret leveling or a good setup.

BEFORE you start leveling frets again, check them with a straight edge. Get something like a credit card, or a short piece of straight thin steel plate, that will fit over no more than 3 frets, and go down the neck with it. If it rocks on top of any fret, that one is high. I use some thin steel plates I got while working as a machinist, but a credit card will do the trick. You can file down any individual high frets. Remember to re crown them.

Check neck relief...

Get the guitar in tune, to whatever tuning you normally use, put a capo on at the first fret. Then press down the top string at the 12th fret. Use a feeler gauge to check at the 7th or 8th fret, you should have .010" to .015" neck relief at most, if you have it in that range, do not touch the truss rod, it's ok. The truss rod is ONLY used to set this neck relief. Do the same for the bottom string, but both should generally be about the same. This is just to double check,

Then check nut slots. Most of the time, you should have about .010" clearance at the 1st fret. Anything from .007 to .010 is good. A bit more might work, but you'll have a tendency to pull the strings sharp when fretting.

Then check saddle height (action). I start by setting mine at 1/8" at the 12th fret then fine tune by feel. Most people like the bottom strings a bit closer than the top. If it's a strat style bridge, also make sure you keep the saddle height set so the strings follow the radius of the neck. Flat saddles may cause fret buzz in the middle strings, since they will be closer to the neck than the outer ones. Les Paul style tune O Matic brodges are usually set to follow that radius, you don't have to worry about it.,

Last thing is set the intonation. everything else can affect intonation slightly, except truss rod, it will have virtually no affect on intonation at all.

If you actually have it set up properly and the fret leveling was done right, you should have no fret buzz at all.

One thing about fret leveling, when you file or sand frets down, you have to have the truss rod reset beforehand so the neck is actually straight, then redo it when you put strings back on. If that is not done, you don't actually have a straight neck to work with, then when you put strings back on, you reintroduce the neck relief, and the frets will be higher on both ends and lower in the middle than they should be.

You could have a twisted neck, look at it from both ends, it may take a little time and checking it a few times, but it should be visible once you know what to look for. If that's the case, I don't know of anything you can do but replace the neck.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#6
I'm starting to think I have a twisted neck. It looks curved on one side and completely straight on the other, but thats just from eyeballing.

I used a straight edge and made sure my neck was as straight as possible.

I did another fret level, this time very carefully. There were a few frets that were really low around the 12th area, and it took awhile to keep grinding and get everything even. I sharpied them again and used a 16" radius block and all the sharpie came off evenly.

I crowned each one carefully leaving a thin black line in the center, then sanded with 600, some 000 steel wool, and then 1500. Not ideal, but all I had. They're decently smooth. I sanded only enough to take the black line off and smooth the sides of the frets.


I admit I haven't measure except with a straight edge, but when restrung, I made the neck as straight as possible. Fret buzz on every note. Like the string is ALWAYS hitting the very next fret.

I raised the action. Fairly high and there is buzz on every note.

I gave the neck some relief, about a quarter turn, eyeballing it again, just a very ever so slight curve.

No change.


I don't feel like I pick too hard, I play a mixture of rhythm and lead, but I do like to dig in for some bite. If I pick soft enough to where there's no fret buzz, my tone and dynamics suffer.

I'm using 10-52 gauge in drop C. At first I thought maybe the gauge is too light but I see people using much lighter gauges for the low C.

I know this is all useless without measurements, I'll try to figure all that out when I get off work.
#7
Twisted necks are pretty rare. Take it to a tech.
We're just a battery for hire with the guitar fire
Ready and aimed at you
Pick up your balls and load up your cannon
For a twenty one gun salute
For those about to rock, FIRE!
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#8
Eh, that's pretty impossible where I live. There's literally nothing around me for 100+ miles.

There's one music shop and I've gotten one guitar set up but it like I said earlier it came back exactly the same.
#9
OK something is really weird here. If you do actually have a proper setup, fret buzz should be a thing of the past. Are you sure it's fret buzz? IS it something inside the body rattling? Loose pickups? Loose neck or hardware? Loose bridge? Loose anything...I've seen loose parts drive me crazy before, when I didn't know what to listen for.

Look down the neck from both ends, but down the middle, not both sides. If it's twisted you should be able to see it by comparing the nut and the bridge from one end or the other. Look from different distances.

Actually I agree with 21 gun, it's time to let a tech have a look.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#10
Yeah it doesn't make sense that there's fret buzz at every fret even with high action.

I can literally hear the string rattling against the very next fret at each fret. Even with moderately high action.

Like I said, it's nearly gone when i play REALLY soft, but that's just not gonna work out.