Help with 1st fret buzz problem

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by evanjackson, Dec 1, 2005.


  1. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

    Messages:
    965
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    OK, I recently picked up a used Fernandes Tele copy...it's a really nice guitar. I played it for a while and it seemed fine and then one day I noticed that I was getting a severe buzz when I fretted the b and high e strings at the first fret. The buzz was so bad that the note just died when I fretted it. I figured it might need a new nut or a fret level. I sent the neck away to have a bone nut cut and installed and asked the tech to look at the frets...he put in the new nut and checked the frets and said they seemed OK (in fact it looked like the guitar had barely been played). He also mentioned that it was difficult to totally diagnose it without assembling the guitar and playing it (I just sent him the neck). I got the neck back, assembled the guitar and the buzz was still there. I figured it must be something else so I just left the guitar sitting on a stand for a few days. On a whim, I pick it up a few days later. To my surprise, it now plays OK when you fret the first fret. At this point I'm thinking that maybe the neck was backbowed or something and having it strung up for a few days made everything settle up OK. I take it to practice and it plays fine. Now, a few days later I pick it up and it's buzzing on the first fret again (but only really on the b & high e strings). When I say "buzz" I don't mean normal fret buzz, I mean the note sounds really bad and just dies. I'm puzzled. The neck seems very straight...very minimal relief at the 7th fret with the first and last frets depressed. What are some things I should look at? Unlevel first fret? If this was the case, wouldn't it always do it, and wouldn't it probably effect all the strings? Twisted/slightly backbowed neck? I can't help but notice that it effects the two strings that also have a string tree...could that be a factor? Any help will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. tthompso7

    tthompso7 Guest

    Have you tried adjusting the truss rod? Maybe the neck needs more relief?
     
  3. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

    Messages:
    341
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    I can almost garentee your neck is backbowed. Adjust the neck a little and your off to the races.
     
  4. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Location:
    central Illinois
    If you can't get it adjusting the truss rod then I'd imagine the second fret is high on that side.Check it with a short straight edge.Something you know is dead straight.
     
  5. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

    Messages:
    965
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Thank you guys so much. I loosened the truss rod just an eigth of a turn and that seems to have fixed it. You guys rule. Thanks!
     

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