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Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods Guitar workbench discussion such as setup, repairs, mods, installing new parts and more.

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Old 04-13-2010, 04:32 PM
Inzane  is offline
 
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Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


Hi Folks,

Lately I've been reading up a bit on DIY setup and really want to learn this stuff. I thought my fixed bridge guitar (Ibanez SZ320EX) would make a suitable candidate to start with, not only for the simplicity of the fixed bridge but also because it does have a minor issue that needs resolution. (BTW, this guitar is completely stock, no modification or prior setup).

My SZ has had an annoying string buzz since day one. Its mainly in 1st position and most pronounced on the 5th and 6th strings at the first and second frets, then progressively less further up the neck.

I suspect that the problem has to do with the action and/or neck relief.

I haven't explicitly measured yet but doing the trick of placing a capo on the 1st fret and fretting near the body and checking clearance between the strings and the frets around the 7th or 8th fret just by eyeballing I can tell there isn't much if any clearance there. I *think* that means I need to make a neck adjustment. So if I understand correctly if there isn't enough clearance between bottom of string and top of fret in the middle of the neck, then I need to ADD neck relief right? (make the neck curvature more concave?).

Assuming I am on the right track, am I also correct in thinking I should try the neck adjustment before touching the bridge height adjustment? (besides I don't think I'd necessarily want the action at the upper register any higher than it already is... seems plenty high there already).

Thanks.

Last edited by Inzane; 04-13-2010 at 04:35 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:07 PM
skins345669  is offline
 
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


My approach would be add relief to stop buzzing then bring action down at the bridge, but it's a very delicate balance which requires a lot of patience to get right.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:26 PM
Inzane  is offline
 
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skins345669 View Post
then bring action down at the bridge,
What would lowering the bridge action do for me? Does the bridge action actually increase when you add neck relief and therefore you'd have to lower the bridge to compensate?
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:33 PM
MarkE  is offline
 
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inzane View Post
Thanks.

What would lowering the bridge action do for me? Does the bridge action actually increase when you add neck relief and therefore you'd have to lower the bridge to compensate?
Lowering the bridge first will do little for problems at the low frets - it would take a big change at the bridge to make a very small change in action at the low end.

Increasing the neck relief by slackening the truss rod will indeed increase action higher up, hence the balancing act betwen the two.

It's possible that the nut itself is too low but see how you get on with a truss rod tweak and action adjustment first.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:03 PM
Inzane  is offline
 
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


Thanks.

Any specific tips on adjusting the height of a Gibraltar III bridge? (e.g. small increment turns to the screws on each side, while trying to keep as level as possible?)
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:09 PM
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


That's all there is to it, just go easy and don't make any massive changes at each stage.

You might get away with slightly lower action at the treble side, as the string vibrates within a smaller envelope. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:29 PM
Inzane  is offline
 
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


I just wanted to post my preliminary result. I made the truss rod adjustment last night to add a bit of neck relief and voila! The fret buzzing is gone.

Tonight I will followup by rechecking the relief then go about setting the bridge action, and then finally I will INTONATE.

I'm looking forward to my SZ's improved playability and enjoyment after making these adjustments.

Thanks all for your help so far.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:06 PM
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Re: Fret Buzz: Adjust neck relief or bridge height first?


Happy we could help bro.
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