How to elimate fret buzz completely in a guitar? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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How to elimate fret buzz completely in a guitar?

This is related to a previous thread, but different enough to merit a new topic. My open string E buzz seems to be all but cured. It still does it, but less harshly. However I do notice, on both my guitars, that there is definite fret buzz coming from the E and A strings, even with the truss rod almost completely slack.

I am now determined to setup my guitar so that buzz is not prevalent. I'm noticing it more, as I get older I guess, because I often play clean, or with just a touch of distortion, rather than constant full on high gain.

What I am finding is that there is a buzz coming from the Low E and A strings, mostly from notes fretted from 1st thru to 6th or 7th on the A, and all the way up to the 10th on the E. There is minor buzz on the other strings, but it cannot be heard through an amp, shame the same cannot be said for those E and A strings. This problem is present on both my Ibanez JEM7VWH and my PRS McCarty, to mostly the same degree.

If I hold down a string at the 1st fret, and 14th fret (on either guitar), I have about 1mm clearance between the string and the frets between 5th and 7th frets. I'd say the action is medium, at about 1.5mm on the high E at the 12th fret, and about 2mm at the 12th on the Low E. There is not much more relief to be had, as the JEM truss rod is almost slack, and the PRS cannot be tightend much more.

As I say, both guitars are setup pretty much identically, and I am noticing the metallic buzz coming through from the A and E strings on low to medium gain settings. It's driving me nuts. I don't pick particularly hard, I use medium gauge picks (yellow dunlop tortex), and have gauge 9 strings on both. The JEM is about 6 weeks old, the PRS about 6 months, so the frets are not worn.

Can somebody tell me where I've gone wrong with my setups. ?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 05:49 PM
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The only way to get rid of it completely is to raise the action until it's gone
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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The only way to get rid of it completely is to raise the action until it's gone
i've had the action up at my armpits. still there...

i'm beginning to think its picking technique.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 07:01 PM
 
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take the strings off
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 09:18 PM
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No, high action would be 3-4mm at the 24th. If you get buzz at 4mm then you have the worst picking tecnique known to man
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 04:18 AM
 
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agree.
unless you fret the actual frets instead of the wooden spaces between frets...

(just a joke...)
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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don't know whats wrong then...

i've reset the relief to about .5mm, the action on the high E to about 1.5mm, and on the low E to about 2mm or so.

as long as i hit the strings much lighter than I would normally, there is no buzz. as soon as i play with my usual pick stroke... buzz-tastic.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 05:45 AM
 
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any guitar has a little buzz, especially when it has 2mm action on the low-E (not that high, though).
i set mine with a bit more than 2mm, and they have little buzz anyway. maybe you can try using another brand of strings? i think some brands enhance treble frequencies more than other brands do... maybe... why not?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2003, 12:11 AM
 
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If the frets are pretty much level then you're really just dealing with a noise that electric guitars make. Having worked on many guitars for many people, some hear what they call "fret buzz" as unacceptable, as if it's a problem that needs to be fixed. It's a condition of a guitar string, which vibrates in a football shaped pattern, against a much flatter fretboard. Sometimes thinner frets will buzz less, due to less surface area. Sometimes tall thin ones encourage a good grip with the left hand. That slightly elevates the string after the fret, and can help too.

Some of my guitars buzz a lot, but it's consistent all along the fretboard, and it's because the frets are level and the action is very low. Some of my guitars with heavy strings don't buzz at all, because they are set higher. But as a player, and not a luthier, I play off the buzz. The harder I hit, the grittier the sound. It's just a condition. When I gigged more, I had a "clean" guitar with heavy strings, higher action, and clean pickups. I didn't do much soloing on it. My advice is to go to a bunch of shops, try a bunch of guitars, and if you find one that has the action you like and is buzz free, then you'll know your situation is curable. If not, you'll know that you are just experiencing a reality.

By the way, studies have shown that in every case, the first few revolutions of the string are making contact with the subsequent frets. It's unavoidable that the subsequent frets limit or control the vibrational pattern. But in a clean guitar you won't hear it because its so short and it blends in with the pick attack. The variable here is how long will it continue to zing against the frets, but not if. This is evident on most guitars if you compare the sound of the 2nd highest fret to the highest one. There's more volume and openness to the highest fret.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2003, 12:21 AM
 
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My guess is that you've got a fret or two that's too high. If you're getting buzz on frets 1 through 6, chances are your 7th fret is sitting a bit too high and needs to be tapped or sanded down a touch.

What gauge of strings are you using?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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gauge nines on both my guitars.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 04:09 AM
 
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I raise the action a little until I just can't hear any fret buzz through the amp, I could care less if there is buzz when I'm not plugged in.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 05:36 AM
 
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Frank, what you mean "clean" guitar, exactly?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 10:35 AM
 
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It was a guitar that I used for songs where most of the song was done without distortion. I use 10-52 or 10-56 gauge strings, and set the action a little higher so that the notes would ring clearer. But for light to heavy overdrive, a little "zing" sound after every strum isn't noticeable, and some of my guitars have 9-46 strings, and lower "speed-oriented" action. For blues, R&B, and funk styles I would also use heavier strings and higher action.

My "clean" guitar is an Ibanez Pro Line with an Alder body for warmth and an Ebony board for crispness, and the pickups are bright and clean, not thick and muddy. I only bring this up in a "fret buzz" topic because on a Basswood body with a Rosewood board, the high frequencies are dampened a little, and fret buzz occurs in the high frequencies. So a bright sounding guitar will reveal more fret noises to you than a warm one. I have a backstop on that Proline because the flutter of an Edge trem can also encourage fret noise, since the physical vibration pattern is a little more erratic in the first 20ms or so after the pick attack.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 10:59 AM
 
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doh...

(sorry for the off-topic: Frank, what Proline version have you got? i've got a lovely 1770 Gold Pearl w/pickguard, hmmm wonderful clean sound!)
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alder body , basswood body , bridge hum , bridge humbucker , dunlop tortex , ebony board , edge trem , electric guitar , fret buzz , gauge strings , ibanez jem , paf pro , picking technique , prs mccarty , rosewood board , sounding guitar , truss rod

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