Jump to content
Tom880

Fret buzz

Recommended Posts

I dont know if this is the right place to post this but i couldnt find anywhere else suitable...

Anyway..

Im a fairly new guitar player and i have been practicing on a cheap old guitar which was my brothers.. It sucked..

Inplayed it for a around a month and decided it was time for a upgrade and did a decent amount of reasearch and the squire affinity seemed to be a good yet cheap step up from whatever it was i was already using. I bought one from ebay which was advidised as "plays perfectly, barley used, like new".. That wasnt the case... I seem to have fixed most of the problems yet there are so many possible solutions for this final problem that im not sure about the way to go. So all my strings are fine when played open.. However when i play the low e string around 5th 6th and 7th fret it triggers a buzz onto the next fret a long.

Ive read articles about adjusting the truss rod but i have looked and i really cannot see any bow in the neck... Also ive read that if done wrong it can damage the guitar and as im unexperienced im not too keen on tryin this if its unnecessary.

Also theres the strings, I guess it isnt them as they would buzz when played open right?

Adjusting the bridge height.. I dont really understand how this works so can someone give me some info..

Finally i read about having a high fret. By looking at it i see no difference but is this something you cannot tell with the naked eye? .. Any help would be great also any advice on the best set ups for a squire affinity would be greatly appreciated (strings, loaded pick guards etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

first  of  all if  its  minor  you wont  see the bow  in the  neck.   you should  get a straight  edge  to check for the  bow  in the   neck.  most players  want  a bit  of  a bow.   that same  straight  edge  will also show   you  if there  is  a high  fret.  for the  high  fret  or  one thats  coming loose  . you  just tap  it  back in place  with  a rubber  hammer.   usually  on  strats   there  is  a 008 to 010  bow  in the  neck   from the  factory.  as to the  truss  rod  adjustment  .   being  its  a  low  price     fender  product   1/8 turn counter  clockwise  will   do the  trick.    by right  you should  use  a notched   straight  edge   to check the  actual neck bow    but   most people  dont  have  one .   a regular  one  will do the  job though. 

                    as to having  a tech do a setup  not  a bad  idea   if he  knows  what hes  doing.   ive  never   had  one  set  up the  way i like  it  so i learned  to do it  myself.   so   go to stewart  mcdonalds  web  site. they  have a book called guitar player  repair  guide  that will tell  you how  to do anything  you need  to not  only set  up your  guitar  but  fix any problem you  may have  in the  future.

                  on fender  type   guitars   each saddle  has  2  screws  on it  for  raising  or  lowering  the   saddle  and  string.   just need  an allen wrench to do it . in that book  are  the  specs   from the factory.   personally  i like as  little  bow  in the  neck  as  possible.  so i set  my action real low.  but thats  me .  youll also see  in the book   different  players  setups

                            the  price  of  the  book will be  a good  investment   instead  of  having  to  go  to  a guitar tech    and pay every  time  you have  a problem..

  btw   if  you  ever  buy  a variax.... pretty much  most   guitar tech   dont  know  anything..

                             i went to  guitar center  recently  and   picked  up  a used   variax  600  in  almost  perfect  condition.   so the  salesman /tech  wanted  to sell me  a  warantee...lol   when i got done  talking    he said    you dont   need a warantee   you  know  much more  than we  doand i had  taught  him  alot  he didnt  know  about    variax.. so do your  self  a favor  and  buy  the book

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you really are that new of a guitar player you cannot beat a setup from a shop (ask some buddies and go local if you can). Well worth the money. In time you will learn what action, strings etc... you prefer. But right now a playable guitar is what you need.

 

On Squiers I have seen every thing from badly cut nuts, high frets to simple things like resetting the action for a different gauge of strings (floating a trem can get fun - not Floyd fun but fun nonetheless) never had to shim a neck though like on some Ibanez. A good setup will give you an idea of what you should be trying to adjust the guitar for. Rather than randomly trying things.

 

BTW I am not trying to put you off from trying as eventually you should learn.

 

-Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Checking for high frets is best done with a tool called "fret rocker"  You can buy one at bitterrootguitars.com for $13.  It's a very short, stainless steel, 4 sided straight edge which will span 3 frets and reveal the high one.  As your frets get closer together as you go up the neck, you use a shorter edge of the fret rocker to span 3 frets at a time.

 

Once you identify high frets, you may need a fret hammer if the fret is not fully seated to knock it back into the slot.  If the fret already looks like it's well seated, there are files sold at bitterroot, or stewmac.com or other suppliers that are specially designed to file down frets and leave a nice, rounded crown.  Stewmac.com also has nice how to videos.  Unless you own a lot of guitars or REALLY have a burning desire to work on them at this level, then it's not worth buying files.  (Luthier tools are pricey.)  You need to practice these technique on the cheapo guitar you just upgraded from before wrecking your new Fender.

 

The next likely culprit for strings buzzing between the 1st to 7th frets would be a nut slot that has been filed to deep/wide or a nut that is not high enough.  Sometimes you can just move up to a heavier gauge string and the buzzing will go away or be reduced to a point you can live with it.  If you're using 9's, then try 10's, or try a .048 gauge string (or fatter) for the low E.  If you are handy and VERY careful you can look up how to shim a nut online to raise the nut a hair for the low E string.  It's not an ideal solution, but for a cheap guitar, it's a quick, DIY solution if the nut is too low and strings are buzzing.  White nut slots can be filled and then re-slotted.  This sounds crazy, but if you fill the nut slot with a tiny bit of baking soda and then put one drop of crazy glue on it, it will harden like steel.  (mask the nut on both sides to avoid spilling onto the guitar)  Cutting and filing nut slots is very tricky, precise work though, and requires multiple tools, know-how and lots of practice, so if the nut is the problem, you either live with it, or take it to a luthier to get fixed.  Instead of having a new nut fabricated, you can save a few bucks if the luthier is willing to try the crazy glue & baking soda trick. I've had that repair hold up for years and years on a couple of guitars.  (Again, practice on the cheapo guitar you just upgraded from)

 

From frets 5 to 7, I doubt the buzz is being caused by lack of neck relief.  From fret 8 to 13 or so is where strings will buzz if there's not enough neck relief.  Loosening the truss rod one half to one full rotation, and then using a LITTLE pushing and pulling on the neck to help put some bow in the mid section of the neck would work.  Fender necks are strong enough to man-handle like this.  You can check neck relief without any fancy tools using the capo method.  Put a capo on the first fret.  A capo is optional really.  You might be able to just use your hands, but you need to be able to fret the 1st and 17th frets together and still be able to reach and fret the other frets as indicated.   Lay guitar on a table.  Fret the 17th fret  with one hand and the 1st fret with the other hand (and keep 'em fretted for the WHOLE test).  Get your eyes level with the guitar neck.  Look at the 8th to 12th frets and gently press down on the low E string with a free finger while eyeballing fret 8, then 9, then 10, and finally 11.  You should have a thin guitar picks' worth of space (or slightly less really) between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret.  If not, then you need to loosen the truss rod a bit.  If the gap is larger than that, then the truss rod needs a bit of tightening.  Google "adjusting neck relief for dummies"  It lays this procedure out very well.

 

If the guitar you bought was heavily used, then you could have excessive fret-wear.  Pull each string to the side and look at each fret.  If there is a groove worn down into the fret, directly under where the string lies, then that dent or groove is causing the string to buzz and rattle.  A luthier can do a level crown and polish (LCP) for you for about $120 with a complete setup included.  If your guitar has this problem and was priced lower than this repair would cost, then you'll have to decide if this repair is worth it. 

 

I also don't think your problem is a low bridge or bridge saddle.  If it was, then buzzing would get worse as to work your way up to the higher frets.  It can't hurt to try adjusting the low E bridge saddle up a mm or 2.  There are many different Fender bridges.  Saddle height is usually adjusted with a tiny allen wrench though.  Look it up online.  Very easy to do.

 

Lastly, I've seen some mind-blowing, excellent, guitarists who play some of the crappiest guitars ever and still sound impressive.  Nothing makes a guitar sound better than tons of practice... but learning how to do basic guitar setup is absolutely worth your time.  A properly setup, cheap guitar, can easily play better than a neglected, high dollar guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the info!

Will look into these things right away.

Oh yeah i was planning on putting new strings on anyway as it was a second hand guitar and the strings where old and dull. Should i put new strings on or should i fix the buzz first as i dont know of the buzz is due to the condition of the current strings..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old strings are a drag and contribute to all sorts of problems.  Ask Santa for a 10 pack of 10's.  Leave some cookies out for him and perhaps he'll provide you a few, loose .052's for your heavy E string so you can see if a thicker string helps for the Low E buzz.  He can find 10 pack boxes of Ernie Ball Slinky's on Musician's Friend for dirt cheap during holiday sales.  (Free shipping on both Musiciansfriend.com and Sweetwater.com)  If you're anything like me, when I was starting out on guitar, you'll be playing a minimum of 25 hours per week and will blow through strings like flying Reindeer go through hay (or whatever them there critters eat).  Change your strings whenever they start feeling cruddy.  If you run your finger under the length of the D string and it feels ragged from frets wearing and grinding against them, then it's time to change them.  Or if you run your finger under the length of the G string and pick up a mess of black muck (dead skin, dirt, oil and oxidation), then congrats... you just practiced your butt off the last few weeks and need to change your strings again.  If you strings aren't dead by the end of two weeks of practice, then make every attempt to practice more.   Nothing makes a cheapo guitar sound better than Tons of practice.  You may also find that a new set of strings does SO much to improve playability (after breaking them in a few hours) that any remaining buzz or rattle is minimal and you can live with it.  Look on YouTube for how to change and break in strings with a stretching routine.  The wrap around bend & lock method is also great for electric guitars when changing strings... you'll find your way.  Strings stay in tune a lot better if you use the wrap-around, bend & lock method and then stretch the strings a bit when doing a string change.  Rock On and Happy FESTIVUS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While everything everyone has said is correct, I still wonder if any of that is safe for a novice. 

I mean, using a hammer???  

 

Especially when it could very well be playing technique. 

Yes, the way you play can cause buzz. This is normally the case for beginners. Although, beginners often buy cheaper guitars that have fret buzz as well. 

 

30+ years I have been playing, and I still don't do my own fret work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hee heee, I believe PG means he has the "fret work (leveling, refretting, etc.) done by a tech". :)

 

-B

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that's what I meant. I don't do it with my own hands. I pay to have it done. 

Which is why I couldn't imagine taking a hammer or file to my gear when being a new player who doesn't even know what a good playing guitar is to feel like, let alone how to make it good feeling. 

 

 

But, also, yes, when I (pay someone to) replace frets, I usually go with the Stainless Steel. And if I order a guitar (as opposed to buying off the rack) I will go with Stainless Steel.  

 

Yes again, I am constantly swapping guitars in and out. And I have a bunch of them. So, my frets don't wear out as quickly as someone who plays just one guitar all the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I learned how to do much of the work on my own because I like to challenge myself and maintain my gear personally whenever I can.  I'd rather buy a book and some basic tools than continue paying someone else.  I know it's not for everyone. If guy just starting out wants some advice on how to get his guitar to play better, I'll try to explain how it's done and let them decide if it's over their head or not.  I always suggest working on a cheapo guitar to develop the skills before working on one of the better guitars in the stable. 

 

I've buried my head in books and manuals to learn about guitars, amps and related gear.  It took years to learn all this stuff, but doing so has saved me a lot of money in the long run.  All the mistakes I made along the way were learning experiences.  Very rarely do I bring a guitar or amp to get work done anymore.  My opinion is that it's never to early to start learning this stuff.  When I set up a guitar (to my personal preferences), I know it will play, sound and feel right.   Everyone plays better when they're not distracted by a poor setup or playability issues.

 

All that being said, it's probably wise not to bring up fret hammers at such an early stage.  Point well taken.

 

Happy New Year

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...