Hey all,

Having a bit of an issue with my Fender 50's Strat where fretting from the 5th to the 17th fret on the G string will cause a terrible buzzing sound (I mostly play clean stuff so is very noticeable) playing the string lightly seems to be fine, but as soon as some force is used the buzzing starts...

The only work I have done to this guitar is hard tailing it (using the stock bridge) and added two extra springs to the claw; have checked intonation, adjusted the truss rod and have the action pretty high (to try and prove the buzz not to be due to the action) but I'm starting to scratch my head as to what else it could be. Was thinking of buying a new bridge to see if that was the cause, or, could it be uneven frets? Obviously I don't want to spend money where it isn't needed so thought I'd ask you fine people for any guidance or if anyone's run into the same problem

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Last edited by tehpreddy at Sep 30, 2016,
Thanks for the reply Kabadi.man.

You're right, my bad. I've measured from the top of the 12 fret to the bottom of the low E string and it's 0.3cm. Frets are in nearly new condition as I have barely played the guitar (bought as new) but have linked a picture in case you can spot any issues. Apologies I should have mentioned... the guitar originally had 3 springs but as a test to see if the buzz disappeared I added two more springs but this has made no difference. Also as additional information; I'm using D'Addario XL10's

Fret issues can absolutely exist on brand new Strats. It's why some people get them crowned by a luthier. Since your buzzing occurs across specific frets on a specific string (rather than on an open string) it is either the action or a fret issue. I would also get some Big Bends Nut Sauce and lube up the nuts and bridge area just to be sure - it solved a lot of my Fender Strat's pings and caught strings due to general friction.
Last edited by Sayonara6String at Sep 30, 2016,
Sayonara6String, thanks for the reply.

I'll definitely look at investing in some nut sauce and lubing at both ends as a process of elimination. If that fails I know a guy that's been highly recommended for the crowning so will look at that if needs be.
I'm not a luthier, but I've been playing and setting up my axes for 40 years and it's a little odd to have that much buzzing over such a long span on just ONE string, except on cheap guitar or pretty bad fret jobs. Assuming everything else is set right. Yes, it certainly could be uneven frets. Sometimes having too much relief can cause weird things too, but I doubt that's the cause here. Take a look at the 18th fret, if that's where the buzzing doesn't happen, then it's too high and you should be able to take a short straight edge to verify that (google fret rocker). If it were me and I was stumped I'd take it to your guy, get it professionally set up first, and if it still continues then look at frets. And yes, it's entirely possible that one or more frets aren't right on a brand new strat (or any production guitar for that matter).

FWIW I have a schecter C-1 classic that played beautifully for over a year, maybe averaging 1 gig per week, and then suddenly started to choke 2-3 semitone bends on just the 1st string/15th fret. B and G string were fine at the same spot. Through careful testing /playing I was able to confirm that it was only the 16th fret, in the middle around the g string. My first inclination was that the 15th fret had some slight wear, since I was playing it a lot more on gigs over the past year. I thought hell, there's probably wear on several/most of the frets. But i couldn't find anything. Then I figured must be change in temps/humidity, has to be neck relief. Nope, had barely moved and actually had maybe 1/3-1/2 mm more relief (always write down your measurements so you can see how the axe is changing over time, seasons, strings, etc.). Checked everything, couldn't see or measure any issues, fret rocker barely showed anything but it had to be there. I didn't want to have them crowned either, everything else was so good and I love how it plays. Finally I remembered an old trick I used on an Ibanez years ago, I took 320 sandpaper and very, very lightly and carefully rubbed about 10 times on the 16th fret at that spot. Check, repeat until you get a change. After maybe 30 or 40 rubs the problem was mostly gone. About 1/8 turn to raise the bridge an almost immeasurable amount, and problem solved. I probably could have avoided the bridge raise if I'd kept going with sanding, but I know my limitations and didn't want to go too far and cause new problems.

So that's the "poor man's crowning" I guess. But if you don't know what you're doing or haven't done this before, don't do it, you can be facing some serious fret work if you mess it up. Best of luck!
Last edited by stringsnsax at Oct 1, 2016,
Hey Stringsnsax, thanks for the insightful reply! I'll do what's suggested and get my guy to take a look. Glad you got your Schecter sorted, that would have driven me crazy - I'll have to remember the sandpaper technique and probably test it out on a cheapo guitar if I encounter a similar problem.