Midwestern guitar - should the high frets be buzzing a bit?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by KazJY, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. KazJY

    KazJY Member

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    I changed the strings on my PRS, which hastn't needed ANY adjustments since I got it almost a year ago.

    Here we are in cold weather - I have a humidifier on my furnace, but ever since a recent string change, the higher frets are buzzing a bit when I play a little harder (never used to notice this)

    I checked the relief and string height, and all seems well. Is this just the guitar reacting to the weather, or should I look for something else?

    (I DID polish the frets, leaving the strings off - I do not think the height adjustment wheels - I have a limited model that has a bridge like a Gibson - on the stop tailpiece moved, but if they did, no more than 1/4 turn)

    Bonus question I've always been curious about - is 1/8-1/4 turn on the height adjustment wheels enough to have to re-adjust intonation?)
     
  2. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

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    When you are trying to evaluate the action on your guitar, I would recommend using a machinist's rule - a 6'' long ruler gradated in both 32" and 64" - and use this to both set-up the guitar as well as in your immediate case, to see if the action has changed due to whatever reason. Just set the action where it's the best for your playing style, then stand the end of it on top of the last two frets, and read where the two "E" strings are at, note the reading, and this will tell you whether or not anything's moved down the road.

    You can alternatively buy one of those trick Stew-mac tools, but the cheap n' cheerful machinist's rule will work fine enough for your needs.
     
  3. KazJY

    KazJY Member

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    Yep, I actually have one of these Stewmac string rulers! (worth it's weight in gold!) nothing seems to have moved, that's just it - I wonder why I am getting buzzing.
     
  4. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, I'd say that there's a chance that, all other parameters on the instrument remaining constant, that you have a tall fret (or possibly more) starting to manifest itself into a slight buzz.

    However, before I would assume this, I'd make sure the strings are fresh, and that you don't have one or more saddle lowering itself (it can happen) causing a problem.

    Also, action lower than +/- 16" at the last fret can be too low for some guitars to play clean, dependent on the condition of the neck - it's your guitar, so you would be the logical person to be able to evaluate this.
     
  5. KazJY

    KazJY Member

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    Thanks Chris - I appreciate the responses here.

    I just changed the strings. Some of the last pack sounded like a sitar, so maybe the strings are part of the equation too. I'm gonna let em settle in and jam tonight.
     
  6. PhilF

    PhilF Member

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    I almost always get a slight bit more buzz with brand new strings. It's not much, but it's more than after they get worn in for a day or two.
     
  7. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

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    Sorry KazJY - I didn't answer your question re. a slight change in string height requiring a re-set of the intonation...


    ...usually not, unless you are making big changes - just play it out after restringing it, and you should be able to determine if it needs any "sweetening" of the intonation.
     

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