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Buzzz! strings too low? Too high? READ THIS!!

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allthumbs    8

Take a look at this.

Project Guitar :: String Height and Bridge Adjustment

Since the bridge is fixed, the truss rod adjustment is your only option unless you really want to fine tune it by taking it into a shop to have the saddle and nut adjusted too. You may want to have the action a tad lower than standard considering that your guitar is a finger pickng guitar so doesn't need the height for strumming.

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iothreon    0

Hey, great post, just one problem, I have an Ovation acoustic guitar, and there's no Truss rod poking out of the head of the neck! The only place i can actually see the rod is through the hole of the body looking at the inside of the neck, but even then it just looks like a circle rather than an allan head socket. From what i've tested and had confirmed by other, far more experienced players, the action on this baby is way too high, it's really become bothersome to play.

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allthumbs    8

Truss rod adjustments on acoustics are usually through the sound hole. You may have to phone a guitar store to see what to use. Most truss rods take an Allen key.

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hb    0

It was stated, "Tune your guitar to 440 concert pitch (A string is tuned to A. Standard tuning; no alternate tunings.) Capo the first fret. Fret the 6th string at the 15th or 16th fret. Take 2 business cards and slip them between the 6th string and the 7th fret. Do the cards actually lift the string up to squeeze in? You need to add relief. This means that your guitar probably had low action but buzzed pretty badly when you played. Do the 2 business cards slip inbetween the 7th fret and the 6th string without touching either? This means you need to take away relief. Your guitar probably has high action and no buzzing."

Is this good for both electric and acoustic guitars? Or just one.

thanks,

hb

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Is this good for both electric and acoustic guitars? Or just one.

thanks,

hb

As a rough guide, both. I prefer my necks with a bit less relief than this, but IMO it is in the right general area for acoustics and electrics.

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freddifart    0
As for where you should see the gap, you shouldn't, if there is any gap, then adjust the truss rod to get rid of the gap. The neck should always be straight, also make sure if you see any gap, it isn't being caused by uneven frets, which can be fixed by filing and honing the frets.

I don't agree with you on that point. My experience and understanding is that when strung, a properly adjusted neck is never straight. Your method (to me) is a great starting point to get the neck straight with no string tension. This is very useful for checking for uneven frets (first) or to prepare the neck for fret levelling or dressing. However, after you tune it back up you will still need to put some relief on it as described in the first post sticky at the top of the page. Whether it be 2 buisness cards or .030 inches or whatever is your preference if you don't have some gap your gonna need high action over the higher frets to keep the bottom end frets from buzzing. Thats the whole concept behind adjusting the truss rod. You need to find the perfect compromise (for your style, strings, radius etc.) between straightness for low action, and a slight bow to avoid buzzing from frets 1-6 or so.

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I don't agree with you on that point. My experience and understanding is that when strung, a properly adjusted neck is never straight.

I think you need to look back a bit more to where Chomsky says "To check if your neck is straight, first remove your strings and then use a straight-edge."

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ozboomer    0

Continuing along with this mighty useful thread...

I'm finally biting the bullet and having a go at doing a set-up on one of my electric guitars - a Stratocaster of some sort :)

Now, I have a couple of "how-to" instructions, as well as a video demonstration on setting-up a Stratocaster, so I have a rough idea of how to go about it... but I had a question before I start doing anything..

I started by simply playing every note/fret on the fretboard and found a number of buzzes on the 5th (A) string, between frets 3 and 7 (and they are significant enough that the buzzes come through my amp). There are no other buzzes on any of the other strings.

My question is: given that I've found those buzzes, should that be a "trigger" for me to think about adjusting the truss rod OR should I just try fiddling the height of the saddle for that one string? Is that the "express set-up" way(!)... or should I just go through the whole set-up thing anyway, given that the intonation is a little off as well?

Even more basic, I guess, is the question of what order you do things. From the Fender web site, the order is:

new strings

tremelo block/springs

rough intonation

truss rod

action (saddle height)

pickup height

accurate intonation

Other sources suggest something like:

truss rod

action

intonation

pick-up height

Now, I realize all these adjustments are so inter-related it's a joke :) so maybe the order isn't even that important?

Oh.. and a couple of minor things:

  • When I start to adjust the tremelo, I know that Fender recommends an 1/8" space between the bottom of the bridge and the surface of the guitar. In previous threads on this forum, I think we established that (perhaps) the tuning is more stable if the tremelo is treated like a hardtail and placed flush against the guitar.. but that's not much good if you want to actually USE the tremelo :)) but I digress..
    As I don't want to take ANY chance with damaging the guitar finish, I'd probably rest some paper on the guitar and use my feeler gauges between the paper and the bottom of the bridge. So, what would the thickness of an 80 GSM piece of paper be? We're talking about such fine tolerances with all these measurements, I think the thickness of the paper would be significant in terms of the 1/8" required.. or am I being too pedantic (as usual)? :)
  • When I start working on the truss rod, if I do the initial thing of marking it's original position and loosen it a little and it feels tight as heck, should I remove the strings and pull the truss rod out completely and do something with WD40 or otherwise slightly lubricate the entire rod? ...or is this something for the 'real' tech? The guitars I'm talking about were purchased in 2006 and one has had a set-up done at purchase time only, another has had a set-up done every 6 months or so, while another (that has rarely been played) has never had a set-up done on it.
  • What's the story with all these different ways of measuring the relief? Some people say measure under the strings at the 12th fret, the 17th fret, at the 12th fret with a capo on fret 1, blah, blah, blah. I guess if I follow Fender's instructions I should be Ok... but I get confused by the inconsistent descriptions/methodolgies... and I won't say anything about how people call a an "1/8th turn" (45 degrees) a "1/4 turn" (90 degrees) in a lot of the instructions I read(!)

I'd appreciate any suggestions/thoughts :)

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allthumbs    8

Setups vary by the needs of the player. A pro who is very aware of every aspect of his guitar and has spent years getting it absolutely perfect for him will take his axe to the best tech he can find and have him do the 190 buck setup which sounds like the Fender setup. Us mere mortals don't have to be that fussy because we just don't have the experience to feel or hear the difference between those fine tolerances. So how in depth you want to go is up to you. There is no right or wrong to it.

I have never heard of a truss rod just sliding sliding out.

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D-Dawn    0

Ok how about a Fender Deluxe 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo? I have 1 string that buzzes after fret 5. (Low E) Can I adjust just this string? At this point I'm almost afraid to touch it!

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Stratrat    0
Ok how about a Fender Deluxe 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo? I have 1 string that buzzes after fret 5. (Low E) Can I adjust just this string? At this point I'm almost afraid to touch it!

D-Dawn - you should be able to adjust the string height of the individual strings at the bridge. Don't know for sure if that will cure your problem, but it's a simple place to start.

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This is weird, my open high E string buzzing problem was solved my tightening the string retainer bar (treble strings side).

I think that this is a really important point.

Too many people hear a little rattle and panic. Then they start playing about with the truss rod and adjusting the action.

But it is worth checking the simple things first. Things do come loose on guitars. String trees can rattle, machine heads can rattle. Once I had a truss rod that rattled: it didn't need adjusting, just a tiny little turn to stop it vibrating when I hit certain notes.

And while we are at it, I'd like to mention that the most frequent cause of rattle on electric guitars is..............new strings. Yes, new strings rattle, so give them a couple of days and some good stretching before deciding that you need to adjust everything to stop the rattling.

If you can't stand the rattle, plug it into an amp and, magically, new string rattle will disappear.

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JessThrasher    10

Crank up the distortion, drop the tuning, and thrash away. That's more like it.

But those wern't new strings that caused the rattle. It was a loose string tree or atleast I thought it was at first, but the buzz came back.

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On a Washburn elec-accoustic the string hight at the top end of the fingerboard is about 12mm. The guitar has seldom been used and is about 15 years old. It cost then about 800 dollars. I do not think it is a great guitar. I have relieved the neck as much as I can. I intend to remove the fixed saddle and take 1.5mm off the bottom and sand down the wooden mount (dont know what that should be called) in an attempt to make the thing playable. I would take off 2mm but think I may not have the material to spare. Hard to comment I´m sure but is there anything there that makes you want to yell DO NOT DO THAT! I am not such a great guitarist or tech but am a tradesman and can use handtools fine. I am very impressed with the knowledge and the attitude of this site. Thanks.

Mike Creese

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Hi Mike. No-one to talk to? Dont worry, you seem like a good guy to me. I would go for it mate. The machine clearly is no good as is, sounds as though it would be easier to play the cat. Judging by your post I think you have the intelligence and the looks to carry off the greatest moves. Let us know how it works out for you , huh?

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Thanks Mike. Thought I was somewhere else for a minute. Well it did it and the string hight is now perfect. I filed the saddle and bedded it back in some twisted teflon tape, slightly higher at the trebles. The guitar is now A1 and I owe it all to you. Thanks.

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allthumbs    8

Look at the area under the bridge. If there is a significant bulge where the strings have lifted the bridge, it may be unfix-able. That is the number one guitar killer. leave a guitar strung under tension for years and the bridge gets pulled up past the point of being able to shave it down to be playable.

If that is not the case, then that leaves the neck and nut. Take it to a tech. It could be worth while replacing the neck on an 800 dollar guitar if that is the problem.

Wrse come to worse, you have a slide guitar. :)

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Thanks all thumbs. It had no visible distortion or damage and was alwas like it. I stupidly thought that the name and the price would mean it was a decent instrument. I used to play that type of guitar, though I´m a novice to the strat, and I never got on with it. I went for it cos there was nothing much to lose. It worked, I thought it would, but you never know what it is that you do not know. I am finding the posts and the advice in all fields really really interesting. The bit on the truss rod and neck adjust was something you cannot find out just anywhere. Thanks again.

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