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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

set up question

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TXNJ, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. TXNJ

    TXNJ TDPRI Member

    Feb 16, 2016
    Hello all. Finally took my 50s baja to a shop for a professional set up. This was my first time so I don't exactly know what to expect. I took it in because despite my fiddling around with saddle heights, relief, etc, I couldn't get some of the string buzz to go away, despite having high action.

    Got the guitar back on Saturday and while the action is noticeably lower, and it seems to play better, there is still a fair amount of string buzzing, and on some strings that didn't buzz previously. I asked the guy if that was normal and would it come through on the amp. He said it shouldn't. I have noticed it coming through a bit, but not a crazy amount.

    I play my tele unplugged a lot because I have young kids and sometimes I just want to sit in front of the tv and practice chords quietly. However the string buzzing is kind of annoying. I had him put on a fresh set of NYXLs during the set-up, so it's not an old string issue, and the strings were 10s, which is what was on the guitar before, though that probably shouldn't matter so long as he set it up with the 10s, which I'm sure he did.

    Is it normal to have buzzing on an tele most of the time? I don't recall experiencing this a lot when trying guitars out in stores, but I am FAR from experienced.

    Also, the person who did the set up has been in business for a long time, has some pretty impressive local clients, and generally has a backlog of 10-14 days, so it isn't like it's my buddy in his basement doing this only once every couple of months.

  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    Take a credit card and rock over three frets up and down the strings, use a sharpie to mark the high rock points. You'll see where they line up with the buzz issues.

    Edit: I was interrupted while putting in the above and only now got back to this. A few more notes:

    I started fret leveling with a 6 inch flat file, upgraded to a granite strip, and then a fret leveling jig. I recently finished restoring a broken guitar that I showed the fret leveling jig I built. It may depend on what the guy leveling your frets used as each upgrade in tools and techniques I have done makes for a better outcome. Currently the top end is a Plek machine.

    There will often be no buzzing after immediately finishing the work but a day or two or three later some buzzes will occur. This seems to be due to the system adjusting to the new forces (truss rod was adjusted so a big pressure change happened internally) and/or new humidity changes (shop to the house, house on different days). Some string stretching can be involved as the strings bend tighter over the saddles or at the nut so they are ever so slightly lower, and this work is ever so slightly impacted by a lot of variables.

    First couple of guitars I leveled with my jig I had this buzzing and so I backed off the saddles slightly and tuned until I could play at my normal strumming (which is forceful at times) and some-what saddened I had to back this off I measured the backed off point. I looked up the manufacturer's specs .. only to smile .. my settled-for action was slightly more than half the factory spec.

    Dave on Daves World of Fun Stuff youtube channel has made the passing comment that he rechecks the setup the next day before shipping back because he has seen drift too.

    Short term talk to the setup guy. Middle term you may need to raise the saddles slightly. Long term you may see benefit from a fret level.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

  3. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    No, buzzing isn't normal.

    There are a lot of people who will tell you that Fenders buzz, they're wrong. There are a lot of people who tell you that Fenders can't be setup with 'low' actions, they're wrong. If your guitar came back with buzz in places it didn't have before, your tech has not done his job. Some techs look down their noses at MIM guitars. Some would rather work on Gibsons. Who knows what happened.

    It may be that you need a fret leveling. Take it to a guy who will sort it out without having to resort to excuses.
    Tim S, Mr Green Genes and xafinity like this.

  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    Some buzz is nearly inevitable, but I really think what you are describing is excess.
    Jvin248 gives good advice. Look for a high fret. If that is indeed the issue, the fella you paid to fool around with it should have addressed it.

  5. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    You should be able to run a MIM pretty low and it will be fine.

    Fender ships the nut kind of high and has a conservative relief spec. But their string height spec at the 12th fret is pretty low. It's 4/64" IIRC. I tend to run my low E and the A string higher than spec (I do about 6/64th on the low E). But I cut my nut quite a bit lower than their spec (big improvement) and I can run less relief than their spec (0.010") without a problem.

    I probably need to try lowering the low E + A as I kept making additional improvements to the setup and can probably lower it back down. I like to be able to hit the bass notes hard without much buzz though, and 6/64th still feels super easy to play after playing acoustic.

  6. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Friend of Leo's

    Sep 24, 2013
    The Hudson Valley
    Buzzing will be picked up by the amp from my experience.

  7. Heyitsmejoeg

    Heyitsmejoeg TDPRI Member

    Jan 3, 2015
    I have a 50’s baja no buzz. Some techs don’t do a good job unless you’re a guitar pro or they’re backed up or their training someone and your six string was used to practice. A GC person told me this. Same thing happened to me, do the credit card thing read some tele boards and you tube. You can do it yourself

  8. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2013
    It will buzz a little if you have the action low and pluck hard, so how you play will factor in to that. Unless you set the action fairly high I wouldn't expect to be able to strum like you're at a campfire without some buzzing.
    So if your action is reasonably medium, and you're picking reasonably like it's an electric guitar, not a campfire strummer, you should have little to no buzz generally. If those things are in order and it is still buzzing , and the setup is good, then you might have some uneven frets.

  9. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    Every "good" tech that I have met are also pretty good players. He should have played it after it was set-up so I doubt there is an issue with the frets. My guess is that it played great for the man who set it up, but he isn't you so there may still need to be some fine adjustments to match the way you play.

    I would bet you dinner that if you handed the guitar to that tech and he played it, there would be zero buzz. The problem is in the way that you play compared to least that is my belief. Take it back to him and ask him to play it, then you play it in front of him so that he can make the adjustments.

    My 50's Baja does not buzz at all for reference.
    Heyitsmejoeg likes this.

  10. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    Without seeing/playing it, my guess is that the frets need to be leveled and crowned.

    It's also possible that he over-filed one or more of the nut slots.

    You mentioned that it's now buzzing on strings that didn't buzz before. Is it buzzing across the board, or only on certain strings?

    Separately, I don't care what they guy's marketing material says. If you took a guitar to him specifically because of a buzz issue and he gave it back to you with more buzz than there was to begin with, he didn't do his job.
    nojazzhere and xafinity like this.

  11. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    A valid point, but it only goes so far. A good tech is also aware of this very issue, and sets the guitar up for the person playing it, not the person doing repairs on it.

    He should've asked the owner to play the guitar in front of him and show him what the problem was before even trying to fix it.

    He knew that when he returned the supposedly fixed guitar to its owner and the guitar's owner played the guitar, it still buzzed, and worse than it did originally.

    Rather than addressing the issue, he just told him that it wouldn't come through the amp, took his money, and sent him on his way.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    Steve Holt likes this.

  12. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    what mr green genes said

  13. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    OP: to Milspec's point, you're playing unplugged in front of the TV set with kids screaming in the background.

    You're probably hammering your strings harder than you need to in order to hear what you're doing, and most likely developing more bad habits in the mean time.

    Get a Pignose.
    Milspec likes this.

  14. ladave

    ladave Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2017
    Los Angeles
    First, I'll qualify myself by saying I don't have a lot of experience in this matter. But recently I took a little relief out of the neck on my MIM Strat and lowered the action a tad. Noticed some buzzing right away (unplugged). Could not hear it at all after plugging in.

  15. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement

  16. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    New strings are kinda floppy and buzz a bit..... play it for longer let everything settle and see if the rattles go away...

    how much relief is in the neck? is it dead flat?.... you may just need a little relief on the neck...

    you could get a small allen key and screw your saddle screws a quarter or half turn on each one to raise the action a bit...

    sounds like it's almost there.... bar a few small tweaks...

  17. TXNJ

    TXNJ TDPRI Member

    Feb 16, 2016
    Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like it could be a combo of different playing styles, a high fret, or just an ok, but not great set up. I did play it at the shop when I picked it up and when I noticed the buzz on the low E (which didn't previously buzz) I asked if that was normal and would it come through on the amp. He said it was normal and wouldn't come through. I've only had a chance to play a couple of times (and briefly at that) since I got it back, so I will pay special attention to how it sounds tonight when I play. Worse comes to worst, I can always raise the saddles back up a bit I suppose.

    But to me it just seems odd that he would do a poor job. He literally makes a living doing this and has been doing so for 20+ years. It's basically a new (bought in 2016) baja, so it wasn't a complicated job. Perhaps I just need to let the strings settle in and really listen for the buzz on the amp.

  18. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    'so it wasnt a complicated job"
    wrong. a proper setup is a hell of a lot of measuring, every setup done properly is complicated.
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

  19. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Feb 27, 2017
    Palmetto, Florida
    Low action vs buzz-free is always a trade off. Guitar necks move around and maple is not the most stable of woods. It only takes a couple of thousandths of an inch change for a clean note to turn fuzzy. If you truly want the lowest action possible with clean notes all up and down, then a fret leveling and recrowning is called for, but now you're looking at $300+. I've done this with each of my new electrics, but then I'm a luthier with all the necessary tools (they are many and expensive) and lots of experience. Most luthiers now put an additional 0.015 inch fall off beyond level from the 12th fret on down to facilitate lower action. NYXL's are very crisp strings, you might try their 11s, I find them easy to bend.

  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Given that at this point we are not exactly sure what the problem is after reading the OPs explanation of it, and given the OP not knowing if the buzz will or should come through the amp, I'm suspecting that there was miscommunication, and that the OP is not providing enough information for us or the tech to make the needed adjustments that will satisfy the requirements for playing unplugged on the couch while watching TV with no buzz.

    OTOH if the tech did not sit down with the OP for a couple of minutes to get an idea of the specific setup needs, then the tech fell a bit short too.
    Maybe the guitar was simple left for a setup?
    And then after the job was done the OP asked the tech "will string buzz come through the amp?".

    A busy tech is not really a guitar teacher, and the question of what a guitar will sound like plugged in is more an issue about the player.
    The question gets asked here often enough, and I really cannot understand asking how a guitar is going to sound through an amp if you have the guitar and an amp right there in front of you.
    It might be worth playing your guitar and a few other guitars to find out how they sound through an amp.
    Seriously, this question is so common and so impossible to answer.

    We just don't know how the guitar plays well enough to answer questions about what the tech did.
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

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