Strat buzz on upper frets

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by pointblankpb10, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. pointblankpb10

    pointblankpb10 Member

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    I have a 2015 American standard strat that buzzes on all 6 strings once you get up around/past the 15th fret. The buzzing can be heard through the amp - the tone gets really weak and loses sustain. I got the guitar setup at Guitar Center recently to try to fix it, but it didn't do much to help. I've tried raising the saddles since then as high as will still be comfortable to play without much effect, but that's about as far as my fret buzz knowledge takes me. Any ideas for how to fix this?
     
  2. Bazaboy33

    Bazaboy33 Supporting Member

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    Adjust the Micro-Tilt neck angle screw or shim the neck.
     
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  3. pointblankpb10

    pointblankpb10 Member

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    A few months ago I brought it into guitar center and they shimmed the neck, is it possible that the shim got knocked out of whack/needs to be adjusted since they put it in?

    Also, I'll mess around with the micro tilt screw to see if that helps. I didn't even know that existed, thanks for the tip!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  4. sfguitarworks

    sfguitarworks Supporting Member

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    Howdy, Shimming the neck will only make a difference if it changes the height of the strings above the frets. A shim is only necessary if the action is too high and the saddles are all the way down, or the action is too low and the saddles are all the way up. You can use neck angle to achieve a desired saddle height at a given action as well. A neck shim does not change the accuracy of the fretplane, which is what seems to be at issue here. Without other information, I am guessing, but my guess is that if the action is at a height that is comfortable for you, you have a fret issue. Most likely a kick at the end of the board. The dreaded "ski-jump." There may be issues with the setup - too much relief, bad bridge radius, action too low - that are causing it. Could be too much relief causing the end of the board to come up. At any rate, a shim is not the answer. It may be part of the answer, but it's not the only factor here. Good luck!
     
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  5. pointblankpb10

    pointblankpb10 Member

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    Hmm ok thanks for the information, by "ski jump" do you mean that the neck itself slopes up or just the upper frets are too high?

    Also, could it possibly help to adjust the trem claw to make the bridge float a little higher? And if I mess with that would I need to completely re-setup the guitar to accommodate for the change?

    Thanks for the help so far!
     
  6. cardinal

    cardinal Supporting Member

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    Hopefully it's just too much relief in the neck. Hold the D string down simultaneously at the first fret and wherever the neck meets the body (17th fret or so?). Look under the string around the 7th fret. There should only be a tiny gap between the string and the fret (like thickness of a business card or less)

    If there's too much gap, you'll have trouble because to get the action comfortable over the middle of the neck, you'll end up with the action too low over the high frets.

    If that's not the trouble, it probably needs some work. Either a high fret causing trouble or the ski jump (which may even look flat until the neck is under string tension).

    A "ski jump" would be in the neck itself, but your issue also could just be a high fret or a fret that's come a bit up from the slot.

    IME, if you loosen the springs to add float to the bridge, you'd need to lower the saddles to maintain the same action as before.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. sfguitarworks

    sfguitarworks Supporting Member

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    All good info. If you have the capability, I'd capo first fret, hold the low E down between the 12th-13th frets, then set your relief to .006" at the 6th fret. This has been a good general starting point here at the shop for a long while, and is about where the relief ends up after Pleking, on most guitars. Fretting at the 12th will also take any fret imperfections occurring on the upper frets out of the equation, so you can zero in on the real issue.
     
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  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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  9. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    This is my surprised face. :eek:

    Set up is not the problem. You have tongue rise, as noted. The frets at the very end of the fretboard need leveling to remove tongue rise and put in relief.
     
  10. changeling

    changeling Member

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    ...where the strings come in.
    So,I have that too,on a couple of strat necks.
    I suspect it came from over tightening the neck/body screws.
    Do you think that's where it comes from?
     
  11. sfguitarworks

    sfguitarworks Supporting Member

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    I don't think over tightening would cause it. The general consensus is that the stress on the neck bends the neck upward right at the transition from neck shaft to heel. This causes the end of the neck to appear to have a rise, even though technically it is the neck shaft that has pulled up, not the end rising. Hope this helps.
     
  12. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Supporting Member

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    I had a guitar with tongue rise as well, maybe cause the last guy had it setup like SRV with heavy strings? The local shop didn't diagnose or fix it so I bought the tools and got into doing this myself.

    At the risk of being flamed for the hack I am, I'm a firm believer in a bit of fall off at the top of the neck. Were it me I'd go lazy and take the last fret down a bit and see where that left me. A better approach would be to try and determine where it's buzzing, maybe you will get lucky and spot a high fret up top somewhere which will only demand a bit of work.
     
  13. changeling

    changeling Member

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    ...where the strings come in.
    It does Geoff,
    Thanks for the reply.
     
  14. pointblankpb10

    pointblankpb10 Member

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    Does the end of the neck continue to rise over the life of the guitar? So if I get this fixed now, will I need to get it fixed again anytime soon or should the neck be pretty settled into position at this point?
     
  15. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Proper diagnosis is what's needed here and it sounds like your local GC tech isn't up to the task. If you let us know where you're from perhaps the community can recommend a top shelf tech in your area that can properly evaluate things.
     
  16. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    You are going to have to live with higher action likely. But keep in mind that up there you are not going to have resonance and sustain anyway. Think of it this way, ever play the real high keys on a piano? They are wimpy and non resonant compared with the lower keys.
     

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