Adding fallaway to upper frets...

ballhawk

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,176
Is there any problem/pitfall with doing this (say 14th fret on) without doing any leveling to other frets.

I have a new guitar that I did a preliminary set up on and it feels great and has no noticeable buzzing anywhere but does have a small "rattle" going on when I play in the upper areas. (the curious can see my G&L ascari post on the "in general page").

Just wondering if I can get away with as little work as possible, especially when all else seems great.
 

NoahL

Member
Messages
1,427
That's a fairly radical solution no matter what. More for situations where an old guitar has a hump at the body, I think. I read your other post. If as you say the relief is still only .010" (width of a high E string) AND you haven't filed the nut slots yet, your strings might not have enough "upward tilt" to escape pinging the higher frets. Wirk from the nut backwards. Get the slots lowered so that intonation is optimal at the first few frets without buzzing. This removes one variable. Then set the relief to where you might like it and wirk on the intonation at the saddles. One it's dialed in, see if you still have buzzes. If so, toggle between tweaking relief and tweaking bridge height. If you remove all buzzes, then finalize intonation.

Also, regardless, use a rocker gauge to find high frets anywhere. These would have to be addressed individually no matter what. I have owned lots of G&L Asian models. The handiwork is always excellent, but high frets come on all price levels of guitars. Good luck!!
 

ballhawk

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,176
Thanks @NoahL, exactly why I asked and what I was looking for. To clarify, nut slots are pretty close to the depth needed, and I've blown enough nuts before, that I won't risk things on a new guitar.

I was just thinking ahead in case that "radical" solution was needed.

But yeah, maybe enough upward tilt will do it. I have no buzzes anywhere else and those lower frets are almost good ( I can tell by the sound, wish i could describe it better).

I always use fret rockers and/or a set of metal cylinders (forget where i got them) to test for high frets.

This is my first G&L but you certainly are right about the handiwork. I have a squier CV that is Indonesian made and that also is very good. At this point I believe it is more about quality control driven by the company/brand than any lack of inherent skills. A lot of great guitars are being made everywhere.
 

poolshark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,384
After a setup, a proper fret level is the first place to go. Once you're there, fallaway more a feature than a solution to a problem. Fallaway creates gradually higher action at your highest frets. The cost is obvious - higher action, duh - but you gain the benefit of being able to really strike those notes.
 

ballhawk

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,176
After a setup, a proper fret level is the first place to go

Assuming nut slot height is included as part of setup I may not even need to level (we will see).

I get the fallaway and higher action theory, and your point about striking the notes really applies to my style.

Hell, I'm so old I don't even know why I am cramming my increasingly arthritic digits up on the high frets as it is. Truthfully, even when I was younger I tended to get more energetic as the frets got narrower. :)
 

sfguitarworks

Member
Messages
367
Hello, Nut height will have no effect on your issue. String height at the nut only impacts the open strings. Slots too low - buzz. Too high - sharp intonation. (Edit - Not entirely true. Too high will also impact the general action overall, make the action feel tight and will screw up the intonation in the low register generally.) If you want to try and avoid fretwork on the upper frets, I'd recommend taking out a bit of relief and then raising the action up at the saddles. Basically set the rod as tight as you can without introducing buzz in the lower register, then raise the action until the upper frets play as clean as you want. If the action is still comfortable to you, then you're good. If it's too high, you probably will need a level and dress. I've found the G&L's to be pretty good generally. On a side note, this is the order that I use when approaching a set-up.

1 - Relief - usually .004-.006 at the 6th fret to start
2 - Action and radius at the bridge
3 - Nut slot depth - I use a dial indicator to measure this, usually .020" on the low E, .010" high e, descending in .002" increments. You may be able to go lower, but this keeps the buzz at bay, is comfortable, and intonates fine.
4 - Bridge intonation - last step after you've tweaked everything to work for you.

Good luck with your guitar!
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,762
Here's what I do...

I set the neck perfectly straight and level the frets. Next I put 3-4 layers of masking tape over the 14th fret and rest the leveling bar on the tape and the last fret and take the frets down until it just kisses the 15th fret. This give a few thousandths of fall away, just enough to prevent choking but not enough to feel a drastic difference in action.

Finish up crowning and polishing then do a normal setup ignoring the fall away.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,984
Isn't fallaway only for acoustics without a cutaway?
nah, it applies in general.

it's more important in acoustics because you could get a situation where the fretboard extension raises up into the string path from humidity.

my theory is that it needs to be really slight on electrics, and only high up and mostly on the bass side where you don't play. when's the last time you fretted the low E string at the 18th fret?

when i'm refretting, i don't do anything extra to the bare wood, but once the frets are in and leveled i'll add a pinch of fallaway to the top, mostly just by using a little extra "english" on a leveling file at the end of the process. anything with using tape to change the angle of the file would create way too much for me.

i'll just kiss the frets a little more in this area, enough to be barely below flat:

 
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boyce89976

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,461
nah, it applies in general.

it's more important in acoustics because you could get a situation where the fretboard extension raises up into the string path from humidity.

my theory is that it needs to be really slight on electrics, and only high up and mostly on the bass side where you don't play. when's the last time you fretted the low E string at the 18th fret?

when i'm refretting, i don't do anything to the bare wood, but once the frets are in and leveled i'll add a pinch of fallaway to the top, mostly just by using a little extra "english" on a leveling file at the end of the process. anything with using tape to change the angle of the file would create way too much for me.

i'll just kiss the frets a little more in this area, enough to be barely below flat:


Curious about this as it's not intuitive to me. Wouldn't you want fall away more on the upper frets under the treble strings to eliminate pinging and buzz for fretted notes on the high frets/high strings?
 

Shiny_Beast

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,620
I like some fall away the last few frets at the top. As long as there is still meat on the bone up there I don't see a downside.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,984
Curious about this as it's not intuitive to me. Wouldn't you want fall away more on the upper frets under the treble strings to eliminate pinging and buzz for fretted notes on the high frets/high strings?
if the fretwork is done right than you shouldn't get those problems on the high strings at the high frets.

it's usually the bigger strings that have a problem with buzzing, and the highest notes don't usually get played on those bigger strings; thus it makes more sense for that mostly unused fret real estate up there to be slightly lowered out of the way.

putting too much fallaway too far down on the treble strings will impact playability, as in the action on the higher notes will be off. for example, i usually follow the fender method and measure my string height at the 17th fret on electrics; if i grind a bunch of fallaway from like 15 on then that measurement will be off, i'll actually have a hump in the board below it.
 

boyce89976

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,461
if the fretwork is done right than you shouldn't get those problems on the high strings at the high frets.

it's usually the bigger strings that have a problem with buzzing, and the highest notes don't usually get played on those bigger strings; thus it makes more sense for that mostly unused fret real estate up there to be slightly lowered out of the way.

putting too much fallaway too far down on the treble strings will impact playability, as in the action on the higher notes will be off. for example, i usually follow the fender method and measure my string height at the 17th fret on electrics; if i grind a bunch of fallaway from like 15 on then that measurement will be off, i'll actually have a hump in the board below it.

Thanks for the explanation, Walter, that makes sense due to the extra deflection of the bigger strings.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,669
I put fallaway on the high strings, but like mentioned earlier, very slight. Just enough.

Like @walterw, It's really just a kid, just a bit of english at the end of the stroke. But, I do put it on the skinny strings... I like having a hair extra space under those strings. Mainly because I don't usually play the thick strings above the 14th or 15th fret very often. Plus, I tend to have the thicker strings sitting up higher to begin with.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
I tried fallaway on one electric guitar to try to get it to ring better up high. Didn't change anything really and I had to refret... or I should say I did refret, not sure I had to.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,669
I tried fallaway on one electric guitar to try to get it to ring better up high. Didn't change anything really and I had to refret... or I should say I did refret, not sure I had to.

That sounds like a LOT of fall away!

When i say I put ti in, I really don't take much... Just a whisper of the last five or six frets. Just enough to get the action down a touch and keep the high strings for buzzing when I'm playing up above the 12-15th frets.

Actually it does not matters whether the low strings are included. no gain, no loss.

You might be right... I just never found the need.
 




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