Strat fret buzz issue... nothing works!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by fontenel, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    Hey all... having an issue here that's driving me insane:

    Let me preface this by saying I've been setting up my guitars for years and I'm fairly decent at it... Never run into this issue before.

    I recently got a 57 RI Strat that has some wicked buzz on the low E and A strings, ALL THE WAY up the fret board. Every note has buzz, and the buzz is the same intensity all the way up the fretboard. The neck relief is set exactly to Fender specs as is the nut/string height.

    For the hell of it, I've adjusted the neck in both directions (convex/concave) to extremes, the buzz never has gone away. What's more is, I've raised the action as high as I can get for troubleshooting purposes (got it up to about 10/64ths, and the buzz continues.

    The buzz SEEMS to be coming from the fret next to the note I'm fretting (so if I'm fretting a G on the low E the 4th fret seems to be the culprit, and so on down the neck). I say SEEMS to because visually it looks like the string is far enough away never to vibrate on the fret, but that's definitely where it sounds like it's coming from.

    I'm about ready to take it to a pro, I'm just hoping someone has a something else I can try before doing so. I don't mind spending the money to have a tech take a look at it, but now it's just more of a personal battle. Ha! And, FWIW, I don't notice the buzz thru an amp as much, although it does show up a bit...

    Thanks!
     
  2. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Have you tried replacing the strings? Old wound strings especially can cause cause trouble.
     
  3. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    Yes, although I've always used the same size (46-10). I was considering trying a different gauge, but I'm kind of prone to 46-10 so I'd like to stick with it...
     
  4. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    Are you sure it's fret buzz at all? I'd say that super high action (10/64) and fretting up high on the neck could not possibly be doing that. But maybe you have a crazy high fret somewhere. Check with a fret rocker (any short straightedge will do).

    Could you have a loose part rattling (a screw, maybe) on a tuner or in the bridge? Check that your saddles are level on the plate. Check the claw and springs. Could be a broken saddle spring or even something under the pickguard.
     
  5. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    That's EXACTLY what I started to think last night. But, when I fret the note(s) and run my ear up and down the guitar it always seems loudest near the fretted note. I've held down the saddles/springs/claw/etc. while fretting to see if that would help, but the buzz continued. I have NOT checked up the pickguard, which is something to try.
     
  6. Michael Hunter

    Michael Hunter Supporting Member

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    That was my thought as well - often what seems to be fret buzz turns out to be something else entirely, even if the noise appears to be coming from the frets.
     
  7. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Tuners are always my first rattling suspect.
     
  8. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    Well, that's actually encouraging. I would love it to be anything but the frets, especially if it's just a tuner or loose screw/etc.

    Would it make sense, if it's NOT the frets, that it would only buzz on the E and A though? I mean, I guess those are the strings that move the most, so maybe that does make sense...


     
  9. Michael Hunter

    Michael Hunter Supporting Member

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    You stated that you have the problem even after changing strings - I might also suggest to try a different string brand. It's not unheard of to get a bad run of strings.
     
  10. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    If the open string buzzes, it's almost certainly not a fret problem. Generally, I strum it, and then just touch everything I can get my hands on to see when it stops. If I can't find it simply like that, then I need to dig a big.
     
  11. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    I actually did just pick up another, different set of strings... I'll try that too.
     
  12. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    Ah, that reminds me. It does NOT buzz open and not fretted. That was the other reason I was leaning towards frets...


     
  13. blong

    blong Member

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    How high are the pups? You'd be surprised at the things I've found rattling on guitars that sounded like it might come from the frets.

    Strum it and touch different things, as mentioned before. You'll be shocked when you find the culprit, I'm sure.

    Bob
     
  14. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    The pickups are vintage-voiced and are sitting about 6/64ths away from the stings...

    I put a capo on one of the frets (I tried multiple) and just kept striking the string and listening while holding down various parts. Buzz never stopped and it always sounded like it was coming from the frets. I told you, this is maddening!

    I think it's time to turn it over to a pro, I'll report back any findings.

    Thanks all.
     
  15. Strathog

    Strathog Supporting Member

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    Have you sighted down the neck ? Sounds like there could be a slight twist....
     
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  16. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    I have, actually... BUT I swear my eyes are whack, because I have a really hard time seeing the straightness of necks. I have a precision straight edge and it looks ok when I lay that on there, but so far that seems to make the most sense...
     
  17. Shane Sanders

    Shane Sanders Supporting Member

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    I had an archtop one time that did some weird buzzing, acoustically, and it was the pickup rings not being fully seated against the body. There were a few screwholes stripped, not to the point that the screw would fall out, but enough that they were no longer really applying downward pressure. The way the body was amplifying the sound made it seem like it was emanating from the whole guitar.

    You may have a truss rod that is vibrating with sympathetic resonances, too. Though, the way you describe it, I am less inclined to think this is the issue.
     
  18. slydgtrplyr

    slydgtrplyr Member

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    if you are using Ernie Ball or DR strings they have thinner corewire with compression windings causing the string to oscillate more. D'addario's have stiffer core wires and it has worked for me in the past on guitars with low action. I like to have about .010 relief in the middle when depressing the string at 1st and 12th frets, and then setting the action at .062 treble side to .065 bass side at the 12thfret. try that and see. if you have a 7.25 radius this may be a little low if you are a blues playa that likes to bend a minor third at the 15th fret.so you may need to raise treble side to .065 to keep from noteing out.
     
  19. fontenel

    fontenel Member

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    Right on... I do use EB strings, but I actually was just given a few sets of D'addario's, maybe I'll give that a try.

    I do have a 7.25, but I'm not looking to do crazy bends at the 15th...

    Thanks!
     
  20. Shane Sanders

    Shane Sanders Supporting Member

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    It's a long shot, but excess string from a tuning post can vibrate against the headstock if they happen to not be clipped very short.

    Also, if you tape a piece of paper on your fretboard just ahead of where you are fretting a note (or maybe get a friend to hold the paper in place), you should hear a different timbre of the buzzing if it's really the string in contact with a fret. It might serve you to eliminate that possibility with an easy test like that.

    Good luck!
     

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