Fret buzz

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by rubylv, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. rubylv

    rubylv TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Location:
    New york
    Hi all! First post here. I have a 3 month old FMT HH set neck Tele. Purchased from Sweetwater. Sound is exactly what I'm looking for. Problem is I cannot get action as low as I would like for this guitar. I have a fairly aggressive playing style at times. I've tried different amounts of neck relief and have settled at .010"/.25mm but that puts action on the low E at 8/64"/3.16mm.
    I use 10's for strings. I still get some buzz in frets 1-3 when I'm hitting the strings hard on the e,a &d strings. Only really noticeable when I'm playing the amp clean. Little dirty and it's not an issue.

    Is this reasonable or should I be able to get lower action? I would normally go back to where I bought it but I live in NY. Want to avoid sending it back to Indiana!
    Thanks in advance for looking.
     
    WalthamMoosical likes this.
  2. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,587
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    Picture of the bridge?

    If you got bent steel, steel block, or brass eaches theres tiny (really tiny) allen screws to raise your fat E, a, d.

    Different bridge, not that simple.

    Edit:
    You'll need to re-intonate probably.
     
  3. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    First off, I gotta congratulate you on the guitar- you officially have a very cool tele!

    Now to get to the problem:

    • Adjusting neck relief is not a generally accepted method of adjusting action at the 12th or 17th frets (depending on where you measure). .010" is a good relief setting. Also, how are you measuring relief? The most accurate way I have found is to use a notched straight edge and feeler gauges, holding the guitar in playing position, checking between 8th and 9th fret, on the wood of the fretboard.
    • How much adjustment do you have available at the bridge saddles? Have you made any adjustments there for action? I typically tune up, install a capo at the 1st fret (to eliminate the possible effect of improperly set nut slots), and measure action at the 17th fret.
    • Are you playing in standard tuning, or a different tuning?
    My first thought is that you may be getting an inaccurate relief reading, especially if using feeler gauges underneath a string depressed at the first and last frets, and that you may not have the amount of relief you think you have.

    Edit: this is also the standard order of operations when I set up a guitar: relief first, string action with the bridge next, nut problems third, intonation and pickup height last.

    Second thought is that you may have a high 4th fret.

    Also, tuning and playing style play a factor: hitting the strings hard will cause an increase in string buzz, especially at low action. 8/64" shouldn't typically have that problem. Also, if you are down or drop-tuning with 10-46's, string buzz will increase unless you have a very light touch.

    Fun fact: the guy who first made tuning the low E string down to B in metal (a tuning used by Soundgarden and Zakk Wylde) did so with a standard 10-46 and used a very light right-hand touch. I can't remember his name; he was an underground metal guy in the late 80's/early90's. Zakk Wylde used a .060 for his 6th string so he could tune low like that.
     
    rubylv likes this.
  4. rubylv

    rubylv TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Location:
    New york
    Yes I understand that. I was wondering if my measurements were "reasonable" as the neck radius is a healthy 15.75. I should be able to get the action lower is my thinking.
     
  5. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,393
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Morganton, NC
    Sweetwater's website states that they do basic setups on all new outgoing guitars, so it seems odd that you would have intonation issues right out of the box.

    You did say, "Problem is I cannot get action as low as I would like for this guitar. I have a fairly aggressive playing style at times." It appears that those two sentences are in direct opposition of each other, no? IOW, if you have a more aggressive playing style, I would think that you would want the action set a bit higher.

    In any case, Sweetwater's customer service is very gracious, so, if you think you got a warped neck, or need fret leveling, just contact your salesperson for a return authorization.

    Good luck. And please post the ending to this story. Inquiring minds wanna know.
     
    rubylv likes this.
  6. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    The 8/64" action the OP is claiming is quite high for any guitar, in my opinion, but you are indeed correct: aggressive playing lends itself to more of a medium action vs. a really low action. I have been surprised several times watching rig rundowns and the like, in which players who I consider to be 'shredders' don't have low action. They do have aggressive picking hands, though.
     
    Collin D Plonker likes this.
  7. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    Stock bridge on that bad boy should adjust for action just fine. It's a typical six-saddle hardtail/string-through bridge.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    4,978
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Southeast Massachusetts
    My suspicion is that you have at least one high fret. With the relief set where you say it is, you should be able to get the action down to 4/64 with no buzz IF the frets are level. Get a fret leveling tool or at least use a short straight edge to check your frets to make sure they are level. If you’re not sure how to do that, it won’t take much digging to find a video on how to do it.
     
    twimsatt and rubylv like this.
  9. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,884
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's not really that complicated.

    - Adjust the neck as straight as you can get it.
    - Set your action to where you'd like it to be.
    - Play.

    If it buzzes down at the first few frets, you need more relief (the neck is backbowed or too straight). If it buzzes up high, there's excessive relief (you have too much forward bow.)

    You kind of have to go back and forth with these adjustments until you find a happy medium....and If you're a heavy handed player, you'll maybe need to live with action that's somewhat tall..or lighten your touch a bit.

    Bottom line, if you can't hear buzzing with the guitar plugged in at a moderate volume, don't worry about it :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    Wallaby, rubylv, PhredE and 1 other person like this.
  10. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2019
    Location:
    Raincaster, Oregon
    You could do the old super glue baking soda trick, Fill the nut slots a bit then file them down so they're not as low. Probably not the best fix but it would get rid of the buzz possibly.
     
    kingvox and jwp2 like this.
  11. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    this is a sound procedure but I don't believe the OP said anything about string buzz on open strings. He mentioned specifically frets 1-3, which makes me think either relief is out of proper adjustment range or a high fret.
     
  12. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    +1 here. This is good, simple advice.
     
    rubylv likes this.
  13. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2019
    Location:
    Raincaster, Oregon
    You could be right, I assumed fret 1 buzz to mean open.
     
    rubylv and gregulator450 like this.
  14. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    Now I didn't think about that. the "through 3" is what made me mentally exclude the open strings. good catch!
     
    rubylv likes this.
  15. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    nowhere anymore/UK
    1]the Gtr was set up to factory specs=Hides uneven fret height.Shop just sells as is!
    2]Purchaser now adjusted further to 'personally' suit to 'musical tastes etc'... & issues arise=suspect uneven fret height=TRACE & confirm or eradicate!=L & C frets correctly!
    3]Uneven fret height=guarantees fret buzz regardless at any action preference!
     
    singlecoil, Jakedog and gregulator450 like this.
  16. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    nowhere anymore/UK
    frets after installation have to be left equal in there height [L & C'ed etc to perfection'] otherwise ...fret buzz results regardless of action preference.
    adjusting the relief,raising the action etc...won't resolve fret buzz if..it is traced to be because of uneven fret height!hi/lo frets.
    It only takes an error of a few thou'' in L & C'ing to cause fret buzz!once rectified fret buzz eliminated if the frets be the cause!
     
    rubylv likes this.
  17. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    nowhere anymore/UK
    Check the frets 'ARE' equal in there height.If confirmed to be ok..[2]check string slots are filed to depth accurately.If too low=FRET BUZZ results.[3]Raise action to suit & [4]adjust relief to thus suit etc.
    Don't 'assume'' the seller[the shop] does this=They just sell the product etc.
    99% of gtrs require a set up to suit the players specific 'musical preferences'.All players should 'learn' to set up their gtrs=saves $$$'s & chasing your tail to the sea.Alternative=FIND & Pay a proven 'experienced' gtr technician to do it etc.
     
  18. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    nowhere anymore/UK
    If one applies guesswork then the resulting set up will be further 'compromised'=chase your tail.There are books that can 'inform' ,how to set up & rectify issues [tools to use] etc.BUT..if one does not have/acquire the required 'dexterity' to use the tools correctly then the only alternative is to find someone who can correctly assess,rectify etc. MANY players do learn to diy etc with 100% success.
     
    rubylv likes this.
  19. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    nowhere anymore/UK
    All players should have this book;The gtr repair guide by D Erlewine-a MUST have!it gives in depth 'understanding' that is required.Tools to use & numerous examples in depth!& much more.=no more guesswork!
    but it does not give 'specific' instructions to specifically set up a gtr!=Learn from it.With confidence gained YOU CAN.
     
    Southboundsuarez and 8barlouie like this.
  20. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,447
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    The Dry Side
    I have to +1 everything that @Thebluesman has posted here. He knows his stuff and he is right on.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.