ARZ800 - frets issue? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Athens, Greece
Posts: 983
ARZ800 - low E buzz, frets issue?


that's related to my new guitar Ibanez ARZ800, which is and has a tune-o-matic type of bridge called "tight-tune" bridge.

Factory specs say : 0.10s Strings, relief 0.30 mm and action @14th fret: 1.5 mm high E, 2mm low E. With these settings, the guitar plays wonderful, but the action feels a little bit too high on the unwound strings but also buzzes for low E especially when tuned to drop-D.

When the action is low (in the ranks of, relief: ~ 0.15mm, and action 1.1mm-1.2 mm high E @12th fret, 1.6mm-1.8mm low E @12 fret), it plays amazingly buzz-free in all the high strings. In this aspect the fretwork at least on this sector of the fretboard is just fantastic (high E,B,G,D).

However as i go up, in A i get some buzz, (which is tolerable), but especially in E the buzz gets so bad, that it made me take out the file and start leveling from 7th fret to the 14th.

So i got into a situation, where if i wanted super fast shredding i had to sacrifice heavy riffing with drop-D, and vice versa, i play anything from blues, jazz, ethno, gypsy, greek, balkan, nu-metal, sliplknot, disturbed, old metal hard rock , all in one go! So, changing the set-up every time is not an option.

The problem is that with those types of bridges string height cannot be individually set. I also tried heavier strings, even went to 12's but the low E would still buzz!! and with the 0.052 the buzz sounds even worse : really loud buzz!

So, i have two questions here :

1) is my guitar in need for a fret dressing work? How is it possible to be just fantastic on the high strings and buzz in the lower? It is the first guitar in my life where i could play super clean cords on the first frets, with relief set to minimal... incredible... But unfortunately also buzzes in low E.

2) is that possible that my bridge's radius is not in agreement with the frets radius?

Anyway, i followed my own "gypsy" way of fixing things : I adjusted the guitar as low action as to feel really fast, but still sounding full, temporarily forgetting about the low E which buzzed like mad, and then made a little paper shim under the mini saddle of low E.Now i can enjoy fast licking/shredding while having the heavy drop-D riffing buzz free to the greatest possible extent. Thing is, by searching i never came across posts of people having done this on tune-o-matics (individually shim only one string). Are all tune-o-matics that good? i really doubt by the number of posts i read about "les paul low E buzz".

But, i still have the question, ..... does my guitar suck in this aspect ? i tried to email the guys from where i bought it but no answer. (Also i learned that buying on-line from the x,y,z america/UK/german site is by far better than buying locally from Greece. Here people just abandon you after the sale. Its a shame.)
So do i have to consider my guitar as an instrument that needs to be taken to a luthier for further examination ? Is it smth endemic to the les-paul species, i mean tune-o-matic peculiarities? And if yes, how other shredders deal with this?

I have a good luthier back in my home town, which is a friend and customer of my sister's family, but i hesitate to send him my guitar, in the fear that maybe he damages the very good characteristics that it now has : like playing very good and buzz-free with ultra low action on the high strings. But also, i think that maybe it would be a piece of cake for him to fully analyze the problem and make sound good all over the fretboard. But in the few email messages we exchanged , he thought most probably this is a loose fret, which i did not buy, because nowhere does it seem to have loose frets....

So all things should be taken into consideration : nut (which BTW seems at least 0.30mm too high on the low E 1st fret, so definitely this could be lowered), fretwork the main suspects which prevent good clean buzz-free low action.

So i have the delema : send it to a luthier or not? Also i often hear that cheap-o (or not so cheapo) chinese guitars leave the factory with minimal fret-work, they just saw the fretboard and then hammer the frets in. So most of them need a fret dressing out the box.. Is that true?

Now on the positives, this is the best sounding guitar i have ever had (i also have a kramer 210, a carvin dc135 my88, an old aria strat-copy and my partscaster strat which i love). Well the ibby outperforms them all in the clean sound dept and in the quality of the sound.

Any thought welcome!!! also sorry for my bad english, since i am from Greece, and a not native english speaker.

Last edited by panix; 09-26-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 02:39 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Waterloo, Canada
Posts: 48
Re: ARZ800 - frets issue?

Where do you experience fret buzz? Which note on the low E-string do you first hear fret buzz.

I have the exact same guitar. It has very low action and no fret buzz at all. I had it set up by somebody in the business for thirty years because in the store I could tell that the frets needed work. The guitar hadn't been played in a couple years, which is never good for a guitar. Anyway, I hope that you are still on jemsite. I can certainly ask my local guy here how he dealt with the ARZ800. He told me that it was a lot of work, which he doesn't often say about set ups.
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arz800 frets buzz low e

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