Fret Buzz....can't dial it out.

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
Just traded for a bone stock Gibson Firebird....but I'm having issues with fret buzz.

I've gone through the entire thing, string height, truss rod, inotation, and pickup height. Even raised the string height a little more.....still get fret buzz.......on almost all the strings, most of the fret board, mostly the low E. The catch is you can't hear it when playing through an amp.

What could this be? stock gibson nut? low action?
 

MetalHeadd

Member
Messages
166
Could be a number of problems. How low do you have the action set? What's the distance between the bottom of the low E and the top of the 12th fret?

How much relief do you have in the setup?

If it's buzzing over the whole fretboard, it's probably not the nut. If it's worse on the open string then when it's fretted, then the nut could be a problem.

A little bit of buzz is pretty common in an electric setup, particularly if you play the strings on the harder side. As long as you don't hear it coming through the amp, and you're not noticing any intonation or sustain issues, you should be fine.
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
Could be a number of problems. How low do you have the action set? What's the distance between the bottom of the low E and the top of the 12th fret?

How much relief do you have in the setup?

If it's buzzing over the whole fretboard, it's probably not the nut. If it's worse on the open string then when it's fretted, then the nut could be a problem.

A little bit of buzz is pretty common in an electric setup, particularly if you play the strings on the harder side. As long as you don't hear it coming through the amp, and you're not noticing any intonation or sustain issues, you should be fine.
String height = 5/64"
Relief = .010"

Open strings are fine.....1st fret is fine........most after buzz. up until around the 12th fret...then it starts to get better. It does effect the playability to a point.....but not enough to make it "bad".

I normally don't mind a little bit of buzz....but the 'bird has a lot more then I would normally tolerate (even though I can't here it through the amp).
 

MetalHeadd

Member
Messages
166
String height = 5/64"
Relief = .010"

Open strings are fine.....1st fret is fine........most after buzz. up until around the 12th fret...then it starts to get better. It does effect the playability to a point.....but not enough to make it "bad".

I normally don't mind a little bit of buzz....but the 'bird has a lot more then I would normally tolerate (even though I can't here it through the amp).
That's plenty of relief and a not too low action. The only other thing I can think of is perhaps you have a few uneven frets? You may want to have a tech check over the frets and look for a one or two that may not be seated properly anymore and are raised up a hair (maybe around 12th fret, since you say it gets better from there). You might benefit from a fret level.
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
That's plenty of relief and a not too low action. The only other thing I can think of is perhaps you have a few uneven frets? You may want to have a tech check over the frets and look for a one or two that may not be seated properly anymore and are raised up a hair (maybe around 12th fret, since you say it gets better from there). You might benefit from a fret level.
Dang it....that's what I didn't want to hear.:crazyguy
 

8Painting

Member
Messages
2,207
I dont think thats too big of a deal though, fret leveling.

Am I correct in this assumption?

My bird started to buzz a few months back I'm assuming because of humidity changes, I've been too lazy to turn the truss rod to adjust it.
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
I dont think thats too big of a deal though, fret leveling.
Am I correct in this assumption?
My bird started to buzz a few months back I'm assuming because of humidity changes, I've been too lazy to turn the truss rod to adjust it.
It's not too bad, but $80 for the level and crowning plus $35 for a new nut.....that just stinks.:puh

Seems like 'birds are sensitive to changes?
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,909
It's not too bad, but $80 for the level and crowning plus $35 for a new nut.....that just stinks.:puh

Seems like 'birds are sensitive to changes?
It stinks, but in the long run, maintainance is one of the necessary evils of electric guitar ownership. Even GREAT cars need a valve job once in their lives, if you keep 'em around long enough ...

Besides, it'll play great and sound great when it's done, and you'll be stoked to play your guitar everytime you pick it up - and THAT'S COOL!

I agree with the diagnosis; If your action is at 5/64 and relief at .010 and it still buzzes, you have a high fret or two. No big, easy problem to fix, just costs a little coin. And you may not have to replace the nut since fret leveling lowers the frets, effectively raising the nut. As pointed out above, the nut's only in the game for open strings - once you start fretting 'em, teh nut's out of the equation. Cheaper than replacing your output tubes anyhow ...

Good Luck, Dana O.
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
It stinks, but in the long run, maintainance is one of the necessary evils of electric guitar ownership. Even GREAT cars need a valve job once in their lives, if you keep 'em around long enough ...
Besides, it'll play great and sound great when it's done, and you'll be stoked to play your guitar everytime you pick it up - and THAT'S COOL!
I agree with the diagnosis; If your action is at 5/64 and relief at .010 and it still buzzes, you have a high fret or two. No big, easy problem to fix, just costs a little coin. And you may not have to replace the nut since fret leveling lowers the frets, effectively raising the nut. As pointed out above, the nut's only in the game for open strings - once you start fretting 'em, teh nut's out of the equation. Cheaper than replacing your output tubes anyhow ...

Good Luck, Dana O.
That's true......I just bought $100 worth of tubes.:crazy I didn't even flinch.

I guess I'm going to have to get it done. I'd like to do it myself, but I don't think a Firebird V is the best place to start. lol.
I might as well replace the crappy Gibson stock nut anyway....while it's in the shop. They're always too high for my tastes and barely cut.
 

Rosewood

Member
Messages
1,864
Even though the relief sounds ok it may be in the wrong place. One of the main problems I run into with this kind of buzzing is the middle of the neck is basically in a hole, IOW, the frets or fretboard has to be cut down at about the 12th fret or so depending on where the bend is. This hump is what the strings are trying to clear but can't, which is why your buzzing stops when it reaches the 12 fret. Without seeing it I can't be sure, take a look down the bass side and see if it looks like there is a hump at the 12th.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
4,773
The fact is the vast majority of new production Gibsons, Fenders, and many other guitars will require a fret dress (level, crown, polish). They just don't do that great of a job at the factory. My luthier has insisted for years that when you get one that doesn't require a fret level, it's just dumb luck. I always factor that into the cost of any guitar. Fender is a little better than Gibson in that regard. But even when they seem to play OK, a pro fret dress will usually improve them. The good news is, do it once and you won't need it again for years. Not until the frets actually start to get overly worn. Get it done right and all you'll likely need is an occasional trussrod tweak.
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
Even though the relief sounds ok it may be in the wrong place. One of the main problems I run into with this kind of buzzing is the middle of the neck is basically in a hole, IOW, the frets or fretboard has to be cut down at about the 12th fret or so depending on where the bend is. This hump is what the strings are trying to clear but can't, which is why your buzzing stops when it reaches the 12 fret. Without seeing it I can't be sure, take a look down the bass side and see if it looks like there is a hump at the 12th.
Well, I went home last night and tweaked......

I got the buzz to be a littile bit less prominent....but it's still there....mostly on the low E, A and G strings.....almost the whole neck....minus the first one or two frets....and the last three or four frets.:puh

I did sight up and down the neck, and didn't really see anything out of the ordinary? It sort of looked like there was something on the treble side, but nothing major.:crazy
 

JoshuaTSP

Senior Member
Messages
639
The fact is the vast majority of new production Gibsons, Fenders, and many other guitars will require a fret dress (level, crown, polish). They just don't do that great of a job at the factory. My luthier has insisted for years that when you get one that doesn't require a fret level, it's just dumb luck. I always factor that into the cost of any guitar. Fender is a little better than Gibson in that regard. But even when they seem to play OK, a pro fret dress will usually improve them. The good news is, do it once and you won't need it again for years. Not until the frets actually start to get overly worn. Get it done right and all you'll likely need is an occasional trussrod tweak.
There's no way I can get the buzz out.......no matter what I do....so I'll have to take it in. It's worth it....I love that 'bird.

My PRS SE and JAy Turser JT133 have better action with less buzz then my Firebird.......and that's just sad.
 




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