#1
So, I just put new strings on my guitar about a week ago (after going about a year and a half with the stock ones) and at first, I was thinking that the action was too low because I was getting some fret buzz. Now, though, I looked down the neck and instead of being a nice, even crown across the neck, it looks like the neck raises some around the 1st - 3rd frets on the lower e, a, and d strings (the ones that buzz). Does this mean that I should adjust my truss rod?

I wouldn't have much of a problem in doing it myself, so long as I can get some good instructions on how to do it, if it does, indeed, need to be done. What do you guys think?

EDIT: Oh yeah, I have a Squier Bullet, if that helps.

Thanks
#2
oh yeah. also forgot to mention that i switched from the stock strings, which were probably 11(?) gauge to ernie ball 9's.
#3
You're old strings were probably .010's, not .011's. .011's are really fat strings for an electric, and not a lot of people use them because they are too hard to get good bends out of.
You need to check the neck against a straight edge in order to tell if you need to do anything with the truss rod. The easiest way is to put a capo on the first fret, then press down the strings, one at a time at the highest fret where the neck meets the body. You now have a straight edge. Each string should have a small amount of clearance under it, between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret wire, along the entire length of the neck. If there's a high fret, you will be able to tell by picking each string at each fret. You will hear the difference right away if one is touching. If it turns out the neck needs more relief, then loosen the truss rod by 1/4 turn counterclockwise and stop. Do nothing further to the guitar until it's had a chance to settle in to the new setting. Truss rod adjustments are touchy, and a little goes a long way to change the neck bow. Let the guitar rest overnight at the very least, a couple of days preferrably, then recheck.
As you can see, this is why it's not recommended that you perform truss rod adjustments yourself. It's time consuming, nit picky work, and if not done correctly, will screw up the neck badly.
#4
how big should the clearance be? I think I remember hearing that you should fit a medium pick underneath? But I was only able to fit a slip of paper.

Also, what difference am i listening for when checking for clearance? They'll all resonate notes, although on some frets, it buzzes a little. Maybe just the action needs adjusting?

Thanks
Last edited by drmichael at Feb 28, 2008,
#5
Quote by drmichael
how big should the clearance be? I think I remember hearing that you should fit a medium pick underneath? But I was only able to fit a slip of paper.

The thickness of a credit card would be more than enough. If your action is low, half that is ok, as long as the strings don't buzz during normal playing.

Also, what difference am i listening for when checking for clearance? They'll all resonate notes, although on some frets, it buzzes a little. Maybe just the action needs adjusting?

You are listening for a distinct dead tone. It will be a dull thump rather than the higher pitched actual note.

Thanks


*replies in blue*

It sounds as though you may just need to bring the action up a little bit. If you know how, just raise the bass side of the bridge a small amount and see if this takes care of the problem. And, as always, check/readjust the intonation once you have the action set where you like it.
#6
i'm not totally sure if I was doing it right or now, but i unscrewed the bridge a little bit and it didn't seem to move...as though it was also glued on or something. It didn't seem to help the buzz, but did change the intonation. Instead of raising the whole bridge, do I use an allen wrench on the little screws on the saddle?
#7
My bad. I should have asked what type of bridge you have before telling you how to adjust it. If it's a Gibson style Tune-O-Matic bridge, then you would turn either of the thumbscrews to raise/lower action. If it's a Fender Stratocaster style, then take a look at the front of each saddle piece. There will be 2 very small allen head set screws on each. Those are to raise/lower action. Behind where the string comes up through there will be a long screw running the same direction as the strings(main part of string that is). Those are used to set intonation because you can move the saddle forward or back as needed. Below are pics of each to help you out.

Gibson Tune-O-Matic


Fender Stratocaster Bridge

The strings are disconnected from tuners and are hanging off the back end of the guitar in this pic.
#8
yeah, i have a fender strat-style bridge. only difference b/w mine and the picture is that mine doesn't have the big screws in front of each saddle (at the top of the image). Looks like I'll be buying some allen wrenches today. Any chance that you know what size fits in there?
#9
alright, so i went and bought some allen wrenches today and changed the action. i got it all the way up and it still buzzed if I played pretty hard on it. i don't mind that much buzz, but the string is waayyyy off the fretboard. Am I going to have to pick between high action and fret buzz? or is there a way to have the low action and no fret buzz again? or do I just have to let my strings settle in some more? (they've been on a week or so)
#10
If you have to ask about how to adjust truss rods DON'T DO IT. Take it to a professional, you WILL **** your guitar up.
#11
Quote by drmichael
alright, so i went and bought some allen wrenches today and changed the action. i got it all the way up and it still buzzed if I played pretty hard on it. i don't mind that much buzz, but the string is waayyyy off the fretboard. Am I going to have to pick between high action and fret buzz? or is there a way to have the low action and no fret buzz again? or do I just have to let my strings settle in some more? (they've been on a week or so)


You said that your guitar doesn't have the large screws in front of each saddle correct? Those are adjustment screws for a tremolo setup. So no whammy bar? How about underneath the plate on the back side? If you've got a tremolo there will be 3 pretty heavy tension springs under it. I ask because something happened when you changed gauge sizes of your strings. Since you went to a thinner gauge, your guitar should be less apt to buzz, not more so. Heavier gauges vibrate more, so would want to buzz more if it's an action problem.
At this point, I'm kind of at a loss as to what to suggest. We've already checked your neck for straightness and you know that there's some relief to it. Good. You've raised the action, by a lot it sounds, yet you are still getting buzz. Have you checked all the parts on the guitar to make sure that the buzz is deffinately a string/fret buzz instead of a hard part buzz/rattle? I have a friend who's got a Goya acoustic and he swore up and down he had a fret buzz, but couldn't for the life of him find it. I said maybe it's not a fret buzz at all, maybe it's coming from somewhere else. Sure enough, the knobs on his tuners were loose. We got them all snugged down and wala, no more buzz. See where I'm going with this? It's possible that you can lower the action back down nice and low, and still not have any buzz if you find exactly where it's coming from. Best way I know of how to do it is to make the guitar buzz, then just start grabbing different parts of it. Tuner post nuts and beauty rings being a prime spot. Knobs. Even strap buttons should be checked.
Ok, now for the good stuff. I'm not done with you yet! lol
Below is the link to Fender's official Stratocaster setup guide. If you follow this guide through to a tee, you might be able to setup your guitar and eliminate the buzz. It's a bit longwinded(sort of like this post ) but is deffinately worth it. It explains about adjusting everything that's adjustable on a strat style guitar with trem. And if all this doesn't fix it, whew, man, I don't know. Here's the link:

http://www.fender.com/support/stratocaster.php
#12
yeah, its definitely fret buzz. it doesnt buzz unless i fret a note and when i put my ear all up and down my guitar, it sounds loudest at the fret or two just in front of where i press down. how do i know if i have a tremolo setup or not? the only plate that i have on the back of my guitar is on the body right behind where the neck meets the body. is that the one you're talking about?
#13
yeah, its definitely fret buzz. it doesnt buzz unless i fret a note and when i put my ear all up and down my guitar, it sounds loudest at the fret or two just in front of where i press down. how do i know if i have a tremolo setup or not? the only plate that i have on the back of my guitar is on the body right behind where the neck meets the body. is that the one you're talking about?[/QUOTE]

If there isn't a large rectangle cover plate with a slot in it where you feed the strings through, then you have a fixed bridge. Which is good, eliminates a lot of bs for a setup. There would be 3 big springs under it that works with the whammy bar. Have a go at the Fender link I gave you. I followed the very same setup guide and was able to get my strat clone a lot better than it ever was. It's still not right, but it's at least playable now.