Fret Buzz after Levelling

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Slowtwitch, May 20, 2019.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I attempted my first fret levelling on my first build and felt it went well, however can't verify it yet since the build isn't finished yet (but now I suspect it will buzz).

    Feeling confident, I wanted to level the frets on my Epi LP which has very minor fret buzz in one or two spots and a few minor string grooves near the nut. High Jumbo frets, so plenty meat and live in these frets.
    Guitar setup I'm happy with, relieve is standard, not too little (straight), something around 0.06 at 6th fret.

    The process I followed was from this thread from Ron http://www.tdpri.com/threads/fret-leveling-yer-tele-101.201556/

    This is what I did:
    remove strings and nut, straighten the neck (t/r), use a wood straight edge over the neck centreline and check for any light under any frets. When I felt the neck is as straight as I can see, I started.

    Levelling beam is a 6mm thick piece of glass taped to a piece of melamine for extra stiffness. 320 grit masking tape and superglued to the glass. (note the marks of the superglue, is this an issue?)
    IMG_20190514_164254.jpeg

    Sharpie pen marked all frets

    Move the beam heel to nut (back and forth) slightly to check levelness of neck. No contact around the middle of the neck, adjust t/r, redo until it seemed like the beam was touching frets from all over the neck.

    This straightening of the neck process is the only thing I'm wondering about ito where I screwed up

    Now I started sanding the frets in figure of 8 both ways, up and down and across.
    No pressure on the beam. Working slowly checking for low spots till all sharpie marks were scratched across all fret surfaces

    I didn't need to remove much on this neck.

    Re-crowned by sharpie marking again and filing away till only a thin line is left on the fret crowns.

    Re-string and adjust relieve to spec, now there's plenty buzzing (no chocking though)

    Where could things have gone wrong?

    Thx for the help
     
  2. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    The sandpaper is not one piece (we don't get long strips of fine paper in SA)
    So I cut 3 pieces to make up the beam
    CA glue marks visible and random (I used the thin, watery type of CA), so can't think it added any hight
    IMG_20190520_090421.jpeg
     
  3. robinn

    robinn TDPRI Member

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    Have you tried simply a little more relief?
     
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  4. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    The idea is that I can run strings lower, not higher, it buzzes at spec relief and string hight, Too high will cause other issues
     
  5. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    Which strings are buzzing? All of them?
     
  6. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx TDPRI Member

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    Also, is there buzzing all along the neck?
     
  7. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    most buzzing is on e, B, G 1 to around 12th fret. Other strings have very minor. worst part is 5th to say 11th fret
     
  8. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    What is the action height and also how much relief?
     
  9. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    You mean a straight edge made of wood ? If so, it's likely that it or your 6mm glass leveling beam are not straight / flat, or maybe you applied the latter unevenly.

    If you're confident in your tools, you wouldn't re-adjust the neck relief when the leveling beam didn't touch all middle frets - you would know that the neck was already straight (because you set it that way) and conclude that the middle frets were lower, and would therefore proceed knowing that those frets need little or no leveling. Whether that is really the case is hard to tell because of the uncertainty regarding your tools.

    Get a notched straight edge (in your scale length) to set the neck straight before leveling. You can also use it to check the straightness of your leveling beam.

    Your leveling beam movements should be mainly along the line of the strings, not sideways across the board. Your Epi LP will have a relatively flat radius, but the more you move a flat leveling beam sideways across the board, the more you flatten the radius out of the frets.
     
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Really, I wouldn't attempt any of this without having a machined straightedge as a reference. Sheet goods made today just aren't flat. Float glass is supposed to be flat, but any old piece...I don't know as it isn't my area of expertise.
     
  11. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    It was a new piece of float glass bought for the purpose. the straight edge, as I understand it is just to get a rough neck straightness, the final straightness as I understand is only achieved with the levelling beam, not so?
     
  12. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    by levelling the fretboard with notched level, doesn't mean the frets are level, hence rather using the fret tops to level the neck, or do I have it wrong?
     
  13. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    I think you have that wrong. With the neck perfectly level this will reveal which frets are not.
     
  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    While the glass on the melamine is excellent.. it can still flex enough to be problematical.. I recommend going the extra mile to make a "T" shaped beam with a piece mounted lengthwise, perpendicular to the primary beam... this will pretty much eliminate any flex that could compromise your efforts.

    and the notched beam used for leveling the fingerboard, independent of the frets isn't really necessary unless the fret work is absolutely horrible... that WAS an issue often in the 50's - 70's..

    Just mark the frets with a marker and hit it with the leveling beam.. if the middle frets are low.. showing no contact with the beam... tighten the truss rod a crack.. conversely, if only those frets so signs of the leveling beam.. loosen the truss rod a touch...

    r
     
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  15. Ronnie2shoes

    Ronnie2shoes TDPRI Member

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    I use a neck jig. Adjust truss rod to level/straighten the fret board. Check this using a notched gauge. Check again. Neck must be straight and there should be no movement when leveling. Check out the Dan Erlewine method. It works every time. I know because I have done several dozen with excellent results.
     
  16. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Ron in your tutorial you recommend using a piece of granite top, I just popped around a granite shop and got an off-cut, thinking maybe there's still flex in the glass beam. have you found that they are generally flat (enough) and still a good option to use as a levelling beam or not?
     
  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    if there glass is thick. like ½ or more. . . and you can silicone glue several ¼ inch sheets together.... glass is fine... but yes. a single ¼ inch sheet is too flexible without some sort of support..

    If you can afford a good leveling bean, like LMII's go for it... or a 24" aluminum level is a good substitute...
     
  18. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

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    From your description of your process, it sounds like you didn't have the neck straight when you started the levelling process. You said you made it level, then noticed that the middle frets were not touching your levelling beam. In a proper levelling job, this is the problem you're trying to fix. You'd leave your neck at that point and remove material from the high and low frets until you're level with the ones in the middle. Instead--and again, this is just going by your description--you kept turning the truss rod and made your neck back-bowed. Then you levelled to that.

    Put another way, you wanted to shave the frets near first position and near the end of the neck while leaving the middle mostly alone. Instead, you shaved everything equally in spite of the fact that this wasn't what your neck required.

    Also: it is at least possible that your nut is part of the problem. If your nut slots are low, you can level and still end up with buzz.
     
  19. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx TDPRI Member

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    Well, the point is to _make_ the frets level. You get the neck straight and use your beam to flatten the frets to match the flat neck.
     
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  20. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    So here's the question - is it just buzz heard as you dig in to the strings acoustically, or is it transferring through to your amp? You may have the bridge or nut set too low even if your frets are perfectly leveled.
     
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