#1
So my guitar needs one but I've never done it before myself. I checked my first and 12th fret and on the 8th fret there was less room than their should of been (used a gift card as measurement). It was barely off the fret. What do I need to do to fix this?

btw if it helps the guitar is a Schecter C-1 Classic and I want low action so I try to keep my bridge a low as possible without terrible fret buzz, thought at the time its high because I think my truss rod needs adjustment, which again, I need to know how to fix it.

It would cost me $35 plus strings. Right now I use 9s but I think I should be using 10s because I play in Drop D mostly and Drop C occasionally.
Rhythm Harmony Melody
#2
I would go with the pro setup, and see if they could show you how to do it.
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#3
Quote by SOCOOLITHURTS
So my guitar needs one but I've never done it before myself. I checked my first and 12th fret and on the 8th fret there was less room than their should of been (used a gift card as measurement). It was barely off the fret. What do I need to do to fix this?

You're not doing the measurement correctly. Hold down at the 1st and 18th frets, or where the neck meets the body. And the string should be barely off the fret - a gift card or credit card's width height is bordering on too much.
Hi, I'm Peter
#4
$35 is really cheap for a set up, and a good price. However, why not do it on your own? It's easy to do and, in the long run, the bucks you save can go towards new pickups/electronis/straps/tuners/pedals.... anything.

Also, my guess is he's not going to do anything you can't do on your own with it (like fret work; they tend to charge more for that stuff). If you want to do it yourself it's not too hard with a fixed bridge. Just go to a hobby store and by some 1/4mm slips of metal and cut them into sizes of like, 1.5mm, 2mm, 1mm etc.

Now, as a disclaimer, I think it's wrong to use those numbers to decide how low to go, but they can give you the ballpark. On the guitar's I've set up it seems the high e string can only go about 1.5mm at the 12th fret before losing considerable tone. It also seems a bit unnecessary to me, since I bend a lot. The low e gets about 1.8 - 2mm action at the 12th fret, for comparison. Just remember to tune up and play a bit, with bend in all positions, after making adjustments.

As for the truss rod, it's really easy to set up if you're not an idiot. There's a bunch of literature on truss adjustments if you google it, but it basically comes down to a few points:

1) Tighten = neck straightens/bows (little or negative relief); loosen = headstock curls upwards (lots of relief)
2) You want to make the neck straight enough (tight enough truss) that when strung to pitch the frets from about 1 - 7 don't buzz that much.
3) You need to "help" the neck bend into position with the truss rod by applying a bit of pressure to it as you adjust the truss. Don't overdo it, obviously.
4) Make small (1/4 turn adjustments) and then retune and check buzzing.

As for your particular problem, I think what you meant was that when you depress the 1st and 12th frets, the 8th fret basically touches the neck. This would mean your neck is essentially straight. In any case, check the entire length of the neck to make sure: press down the first fret and last fret on the low E string and check relief (distance from bottom of the string to top of the fret) at the 8th fret. It generally is in the ballpark of .5mm or less in my experience (usually less for me, since I'll take some small buzzing in exchange for easier chording).

Ultimately, it's only a problem if the frets from 1-7 actually buzz a lot. Do they? If they don't then you might even consider tightening the truss more! If there is too much buzzing, then loosen the truss rod nut (counterclockwise) by 1/4 turn, retune, and check the buzzing. Just keeping making SMALL adjustments until the action is where you want it.

Keep in mind that the truss rod has basically no effect on frets 9+.

So long story short, I'd say learn to do it on your own. You should have all the tools around the house, with the possible exception of those metal gauges I talked about. It's not rocket science, and over-zealous people who say you're gonna F up your guitar if you mess with the truss rod are FOS unless you are a total, careless moron.

P.S. - I like 11's for lower tunings, just because i think it sounds bad ass and thick! Check out some of robchappers youtube vids. Guy gets sick deep tone and I think a good chunk of it is his string gauge.
#5
Wow thanks. Well my fret buzz only starts up around the 12th frets and below but only on the low E string. Right now my bridge is fairly high but still. When I lower it, the higher frets begin to suffer badly (my guitar has 24 frets).

A little of subject but it kills me when I play my friends low end Jackson and he has SUPER low action and only has a little fret buzz. If his $300 guitar can do that then so should my $800 guitar (I sound like a dick I know).

So is there a way to get my action low without my upper frets buzzing so much my notes don't ring out?
Rhythm Harmony Melody
#6
Setup? I prefer to do it myself, as then I can set the guitar up to MY standards, not have it done by some dude I don't know. Ya, he might set it really nicely with a super smooth action, but it won't be what I want. Y'know what I mean?
Quote by Kensai
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#7
I say setup yourself, which is going against tech oath since i do setups and repairs as a side business lol

Just do alot of research before you venture into it. I purchased a few books and researched online before i got into it. I wanted to be 100% sure i knew what i was doing before i started tooling around some something expensive. And remember a guitar can be completely trashed if a setup goes horribly wrong or if your trying to rush things... Also the right tools for the job help out tremendously...
#8
Quote by SOCOOLITHURTS
Wow thanks. Well my fret buzz only starts up around the 12th frets and below but only on the low E string. Right now my bridge is fairly high but still. When I lower it, the higher frets begin to suffer badly (my guitar has 24 frets).

A little of subject but it kills me when I play my friends low end Jackson and he has SUPER low action and only has a little fret buzz. If his $300 guitar can do that then so should my $800 guitar (I sound like a dick I know).

So is there a way to get my action low without my upper frets buzzing so much my notes don't ring out?


You need to check the nut, sometimes (actually, it seems pretty common), the nut is too low, and the bridge is raised up to compensate. It leads to a crappy feeling and playing guitar. What I do is get my action as low as I can with minimal or no buzzing, then I destring, pull off the nut, and shim the nut with whatever material is handy (usually just some paper folded over).

That's my suggestion without actually seeing the guitar.
Livin' Easy, Livin' Free
#9
Quote by IbanezPsycho
I say setup yourself, which is going against tech oath since i do setups and repairs as a side business lol

Just do alot of research before you venture into it. I purchased a few books and researched online before i got into it. I wanted to be 100% sure i knew what i was doing before i started tooling around some something expensive. And remember a guitar can be completely trashed if a setup goes horribly wrong or if your trying to rush things... Also the right tools for the job help out tremendously...


Sorry for back-to-back posts...

It's not that hard, I taught myself everything I know by experimenting. I get nothing but complements on my setups from other guitarists.

I don't really know how you could trash a guitar with a bad setup unless you crank the poo out of the truss. Spending some time and playing around a bit will give you better results than any shop setup. The main reason is that when you setup a guitar, you can set it up the way that you like, you can get the action exactly the way you like it, you can get the pickups exactly the way you like it, and you don't waste money paying someone to do something you can do yourself.

In my mind paying someone to setup my guitar is like paying someone to start my car, it's totally pointless when I can do it myself, for free. You need to learn it sooner or later, why waste money and put it off? Even if you get your guitar setup at a shop, you'll wind up wanting to fine tune it sooner or later, which means your money was spent for nothing.

The simple truth of the matter is that you can setup a guitar faster, cheaper, and better than most any shop if you spend some time learning.
Livin' Easy, Livin' Free
#10
It should be apart of taking up the instrument

You should be able to play and be able to work on your instrument fully. That means understanding how the guitar works, how to replace and work on the electronics, and how to properly set-up a guitar.

When you have that knowledge you can get your guitar in playing order exactly the way YOU want it to be. Know your guitar inside and out and you'll have more confidence with it and theres only one way to learn and thats to try and work on it yourself.
#11
God I get paid to set up guitars... why am I advising you not to? lol...

Anyways, I have DEFINITELY noticed that Jacksons just work right. I think it might be the fretboard radiusing (they're really flat, right?) or the fretwork in general from the factory. It seems like most of the Jacksons I've played have had lower action than comparable "shred" guitars.

Also, don't Jackson guitars have a compound radius? Like, 12-18 or 12-16 or something? Warmoth says it helps get lower action... could that be a reason why? ::

As for the nut being too low, that's wrong. Sorry to be harsh about it, but here's why:

The height of the nut only affects buzzing on the open strings. It won't cause buzzing anywhere else, because no matter how low it goes the nut is always higher than a fretted note. What you should care about is having a nut that's TOO high, not so much too low. I figure you can always shim it if you get it too low, and if you do it well (not with paper... sorry but that seems to flimsy to me) it won't negatively affect coupling, sustain, or tone. Ideally you want a nut that is only so high that open strings give very little or no buzz at all.

Keep in mind that having a nut too high will also screw with your intonation, since depressing a note will invariably be slightly higher with a higher nut.

The type of knowledge that goes into fixing the nut and what not isn't all that in depth, but it's worth going to an experienced tech. There's more to think about than what Angus was saying (no offense man, I love AC/DC). :-D

Long story short, don't raise your nut to improve action. The nut height doesn't affect any of the fretted notes, and you want it as LOW as possible, not any higher. Raising the bridge is for action from frets 7 or 9+. Adjusting the truss is for 1-7 or 9. The nut is for open strings! (Fret numbers differ based on the neck but are again ballparks)

EDIT: Also the C1 Classic doesn't have a locking trem so pulling the nut off is harder and probably not a novice job. I say "not a novice job" not because it's so tough, but i think that people who are inexperienced will be uncomfortable, more likely to screw up, and less likely to know what "good" is. Your nut is probably fine so don't screw with it.

EDIT II: How low do you want to go? I've got an Ibanez JS that I got down to about 1.1mm or so at it's lowest without really any audible buzz, but bending was hard and caused notes to die within like, a 1/2 step. I moved it up all the way to around 1.5mm ish and I'm SO much happier. The tone is better and my bends are clearer and sustain better. Not to mention vibrato is easier! When I had it uber low I actually thought I was getting worse because my vibrato seemed weaker, but it turns out it was just the action. I was a few days a way from making a forum post about it, actually...

But anyways, I think anything in the area of 1.5-1.8mm at the 12th fret, open, on the high e string is pretty darn playable and gives a nice balance of tone and feel. Personally, I think you're making a mistake if you think action <1.5mm is a good thing.

SIDE QUESTION: I've read that High string gauges cause less buzz, from a very reliable source, but I haven't done any serious comparisons. Anyone know anything? It seems counter intuitive in a way...
Last edited by bullets34 at Mar 6, 2008,
#12
Quote by AngusX
Sorry for back-to-back posts...

It's not that hard, I taught myself everything I know by experimenting. I get nothing but complements on my setups from other guitarists.

I don't really know how you could trash a guitar with a bad setup unless you crank the poo out of the truss. Spending some time and playing around a bit will give you better results than any shop setup. The main reason is that when you setup a guitar, you can set it up the way that you like, you can get the action exactly the way you like it, you can get the pickups exactly the way you like it, and you don't waste money paying someone to do something you can do yourself.

In my mind paying someone to setup my guitar is like paying someone to start my
car, it's totally pointless when I can do it myself, for free. You need to learn it sooner or later, why waste money and put it off? Even if you get your guitar setup at a shop, you'll wind up wanting to fine tune it sooner or later, which means your money was spent for nothing.

The simple truth of the matter is that you can setup a guitar faster, cheaper, and better than most any shop if you spend some time learning.


Bingo on the truss rod... Some people get impatient and tweak it way to fast and don't let it rest and work itself out before the second adjustment. Or go a full turn or more on the first turn. Also tightening the spring screws while the strings are under alot of tension can turn the screw into a drill bit and strip out the hole. Also cutting the strings at full tension instead of loosing them first one by one can cause neck issues. And the normal stripped out screws and so forth are all normal horror stories.

Its not something you can experiment with when your working on a $1500 G&L's and Gibson's.. For anyone thinking about setting up a guitar I seriously advise researching it first before you start messing with it.

Also any tech will ask you how you want your guitar setup so the whole it wont be setup like you want isn't true. Unless your one of those guys that just hands it over and doesn't tell the guy how you want it.
#13
Learning to do it yourself is a good idea... that way you can handle all of your guitars... AND you'll have a better understanding of what your prefer and the details of how the instrument itself works...
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#15
Quote by IbanezPsycho
Its not something you can experiment with when your working on a $1500 G&L's and Gibson's.. For anyone thinking about setting up a guitar I seriously advise researching it first before you start messing with it.


Good point on the whole money thing, I forget that most people aren't all about experimenting on a nice guitar!!!
Livin' Easy, Livin' Free
#16
Quote by bullets34

As for the nut being too low, that's wrong. Sorry to be harsh about it, but here's why:

The height of the nut only affects buzzing on the open strings. It won't cause buzzing anywhere else, because no matter how low it goes the nut is always higher than a fretted note. What you should care about is having a nut that's TOO high, not so much too low. I figure you can always shim it if you get it too low, and if you do it well (not with paper... sorry but that seems to flimsy to me) it won't negatively affect coupling, sustain, or tone. Ideally you want a nut that is only so high that open strings give very little or no buzz at all.

Keep in mind that having a nut too high will also screw with your intonation, since depressing a note will invariably be slightly higher with a higher nut.

The type of knowledge that goes into fixing the nut and what not isn't all that in depth, but it's worth going to an experienced tech. There's more to think about than what Angus was saying (no offense man, I love AC/DC). :-D

Long story short, don't raise your nut to improve action. The nut height doesn't affect any of the fretted notes, and you want it as LOW as possible, not any higher. Raising the bridge is for action from frets 7 or 9+. Adjusting the truss is for 1-7 or 9. The nut is for open strings! (Fret numbers differ based on the neck but are again ballparks)

But anyways, I think anything in the area of 1.5-1.8mm at the 12th fret, open, on the high e string is pretty darn playable and gives a nice balance of tone and feel. Personally, I think you're making a mistake if you think action <1.5mm is a good thing.

SIDE QUESTION: I've read that High string gauges cause less buzz, from a very reliable source, but I haven't done any serious comparisons. Anyone know anything? It seems counter intuitive in a way...


No, you're right, I just know that quite a few guitars I've worked on get open string buzzing when you lower the action, so people raise it back up and don't worry about it. That was the problem with my Jackson.

I like my action nice and low, if I remember right, the action on my Jackson can go less than 1mm, I usually keep it up just a little bit for climate changes, and I never bend out a note, or have buzzing. I like my action low as can be.

I guess that higher guages are impacted less by buzzing. I personally run with 8's, and have no problem with buzzing.
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#17
Heavier string gauges should buzz less due to the increased string tension. It decreases the distance of the string oscillation.
#18
Quote by Fat Brian
Heavier string gauges should buzz less due to the increased string tension. It decreases the distance of the string oscillation.


Thanks Brian.