Strat question: how low action without fret buzz?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by tWreCK, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. tWreCK

    tWreCK Member

    May 2, 2003
    This is a question for all you low-action strat heads out there - how low (or high) action do you have without fret buzz? I guess some people can tolerate more or less fret buzz but I like as buzz free as possible but with as low action as permitted.

    I have a Grosh Retro Classic (swamp ash/braz rosewood board) with SS 6105 type wire and a 6 screw D'Pergo vintage tremolo bridge and I'm trying to adjust the action as low as I can go without annoying fret buzz. Neck radius is 10" & I'm using 10-46 SIT strings. I currently have the bridge flush against the body with 3 springs. If any of you guys have a similar setup to mine I would like to know what action you have (measured in 64ths)? Seems the lowest I can go is 3.5/64 but I'm still getting a bit of buzz. The strings feel too stiff for me and I would like to have them even lower (without buzz of course). I know this is considered to be low action but I need it to be lower for legato runs and easier bending etc. I realize the radius is a limiting factor but surely it should be possible to have it lower and buzz free? I have played Suhr's with similar specs and gauge strings with ultra low action - how do they do it?
  2. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    does it buzz when plugged in? my L6s buzzes like crazy when unplugged, but not when it's plugged in and, since it's an electric guitar, i don't mind as long as it can't be heard through the amp . the action is super low on it.
  3. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Fret buzz is the result of the uneveness of the frets in relation to one another. If you want super low action, have the guitar Pleked, the frets will be within .0001 of each other allowing super low action. Humans are not capable of the precision of a laser. In a decade people will not be performing fret dresses, it will all be computer done labor.
  4. gw_bluesman

    gw_bluesman Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    You may also need to consider how much relief the neck has, you may need to adjust your truss rod especially it is is buzzing more at the ends and less in the middle of the neck.

    Good Luck !!
  5. jbro

    jbro Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    There's only so far you can go without buzzing; and the lighter you play, the lower you can go. Plek'ing is great, but a Plek'd neck will still buzz if you pluck a string hard enough to make it hit the frets.. there's no way around it. If low action and no buzz is what you're after.. play lighter, or use thicker strings. Assuming your relief is where it should be - if it buzzes all over the neck, your strings are too low (or too light, or you're picking too hard or in the wrong direction - however you want to look at it). If it just buzzes at a few spots, then your frets are uneven and need dressing. Again, that's if your truss rod is adjusted properly to begin with. If it's not, that may be all you need to do.
  6. dankayaker

    dankayaker Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2003
    Blacksburg VA
    I partly disagree . .I have a McInturff that plays with lower string action than all three of the Plex'd Suhrs I've owned.
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

    Feb 19, 2007
  8. Zelmo

    Zelmo Member

    May 14, 2006
    Central MA
    Correctamundo! Don't even think about adjusting the action until the neck is adjusted properly.
  9. deoreo

    deoreo Member

    May 15, 2007
    True, a good level and dress is gonna play well, regardless if it was arrived at with a Plek machine or not.
    But, I gotta admit, I just had my first experience with a Pleked guitar - a LesPaul style with 10's on it - and man is it nice! The action is at 3/64ths. for both E's and it has the least amount of acoustic buzz of any guitar I've played, even when hitting it pretty hard, and no buzz thru an amp. The action could even go lower!

    But to answer the OP I don't know if I'd want to take it any lower, I think anything below 3/64ths. is going to be a finiky set-up, in that humidity levels could constantly effect it. Also, depending on your style, for some people, ultra-low action can be harder to do bends/vibrato on. Just my 2 cents.

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