help with this rattling noise

emann

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Hi,

been playing my home built tele for over a year now and all is fine...between thursday and friday I have noted this rattling noise on the high e when only played at the 8th fret...all other frets there is no rattling noise and all other strings on all frets play fine. I had bought this flamed maple neck ready and only did the work on the fret levelling and nut and been playing it for the past months.

I am attaching a small video hopefully you can hear this noise.

Rattling noise on home build tele

Any advise please as not sure if it has to do with the truss rod, any fret needs work maybe or saddle adjustment?

Thanks to all.
 

KeithDavies 100

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For me, that sounds like it's hitting the next fret up as it vibrates when you pluck it, so the action needs raising a touch. (I might be stating the obvious, in which case apologies!!) Difficult to tell whether truss rod adjustment or fret work is necessary, but others with more set-up experience than me will chip in, I'm sure. There are some great videos on YouTube to take you through setting up a guitar, and I suspect following one of those would help you get it sorted out.
 

emann

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thanks to reply and no worries re the obvious..that passed my mind too but since it is my first build I wanted to check on the advise of others and not sure if I need to work on truss rod, fret or saddles etc...will wait a bit more for some other responses!
 

PhredE

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e high e when only played at the 8th fret..

Assuming that your nut is cut correctly, saddles are adjusted reasonably well, etc.
The other thing I would check right away is the relief (truss rod adjustment).
The 8th fret lies at about the midway point between nearest and farthest frets -- trans. the 8th fret lies at the point where deflection (from a straight line) should be at a maximum. Add just a tad more relief by loosening up the truss rod ever so slightly (1/4 turn maybe max to start). Then play it and test/check it again.
Edit: for reference, the distance between top of 8th fret and bottom of high E as about 0.008" for 'typical' relief (sometimes as little as 0.005" and as much as 0.01" is used). Do you have a means to accurately measure?

If you leveled frets, did you make sure to crown and polish as a follow up? A flat fret top will produce all sorts of nasty resonances and buzzes. So, definitely check that fret up close to make sure the crown is good and polished well too.

It would be most helpful to have a set of high quality images of the area in question to help diagnose.
 
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emann

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I think the fret work when I did at the start was fine as up to now it played well and only since thursday I am getting this noise...so maybe will try the truss rod adjustment first...so adding relief by loosening truss rod is counterclockwise correct?
 

KeithDavies 100

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Assuming that your nut is cut correctly, saddles are adjusted reasonably well, etc.
The other thing I would check right away is the relief (truss rod adjustment).
The 8th fret lies at about the midway point between nearest and farthest frets -- trans. the 8th fret lies at the point where deflection (from a straight line) should be at a maximum. Add just a tad more relief by loosening up the truss rod ever so slightly (1/4 turn maybe max to start). Then play it and test/check it again.
Edit: for reference, the distance between top of 8th fret and bottom of high E as about 0.008" for 'typical' relief (sometimes as little as 0.005" and as much as 0.01" is used). Do you have a means to accurately measure?

If you leveled frets, did you make sure to crown and polish as a follow up? A flat fret top will produce all sorts of nasty resonances and buzzes. So, definitely check that fret up close to make sure the crown is good and polished well too.

It would be most helpful to have a set of high quality images of the area in question to help diagnose.
I told you others would pitch in who know more than I do!! :)
 

PhredE

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so adding relief by loosening truss rod is counterclockwise correct

Well -- depends.
Normally 'yes'. < That assumes a single action truss rod.
(Some necks are built with double action truss rods however, especially many newer ones.

Try counterclockwise first. You should feel tension lessening as you twist the nut. If it feels like more tension as you adjust, you might have a double action truss.

It's always good to mark the position of the nut (you can use a small sliver of tape or the like to 'mark' the position of the hex wrench to know at what point in the rotation you started the adjustment(s) -- eg; put a small piece of tape on the headstock to mark where the wrench 'points to' -- so you know the original position of the nut (< kinda useful if things seem to go 'wonky').

Pictures of the fret(s) involved would still be really helpful to make sure we're not steering you in the wrong direction. (Don't want to add another problem into the mix!)
 

emann

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Well -- depends.
Normally 'yes'. < That assumes a single action truss rod.
(Some necks are built with double action truss rods however, especially many newer ones.

Try counterclockwise first. You should feel tension lessening as you twist the nut. If it feels like more tension as you adjust, you might have a double action truss.

It's always good to mark the position of the nut (you can use a small sliver of tape or the like to 'mark' the position of the hex wrench to know at what point in the rotation you started the adjustment(s) -- eg; put a small piece of tape on the headstock to mark where the wrench 'points to' -- so you know the original position of the nut (< kinda useful if things seem to go 'wonky').

Pictures of the fret(s) involved would still be really helpful to make sure we're not steering you in the wrong direction. (Don't want to add another problem into the mix!)
 

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PhredE

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The photos don't *seem* to indicate any obvious problems, but then again..(?)

As Peegoo suggests, run a fret rocker on the group of frets around the 8th fret -- especially on the 9th fret under the high E string (so place your rocker on frets 8, 9 and 10 and see if it wobbles). If it wobbles when centered on the 9th fret, it is high and likely not allowing a fretted note on 8th fret (C) to vibrate clear of the nearest neighboring fret.

Do you have a way to measure relief accurately?
When I zoom in as far as I can go I see the 8th fret looks a tiny bit flatter on top than maybe some of the neighboring ones.

Re: polish / smoothness.. can you run your thumbnail across the fret (especially under the high strings) from side to side with no catching or grittyness? I like perfectly smooth frets for super clear/clean sounds (I don't play distorted much).
 

Telenator

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thanks to reply and no worries re the obvious..that passed my mind too but since it is my first build I wanted to check on the advise of others and not sure if I need to work on truss rod, fret or saddles etc...will wait a bit more for some other responses!

Yup. You can adjust the truss and raise the action a little, but it may soon be time to level the frets and crown them.
 

Ronkirn

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fret the e string at the second fret... check the clearance over the first fret.. there should be some... about the same as a couple sheets of paper thick.. If there is none, the string slot in the nut is cut too low.... and it may be cut with a slope the wrong way.. it should slope away from the frets so the string rests on a fine "knife edge" at the leading edge of the nut...

If ya make it past that hurdle... the next big target is the fret board.. Have you leveled and crowned it? If yes... then ya start checking mechanicals.. is there a little tension on the truss rod so it can't rattle.. saddle springs, is the string retainer tight?? stuff like that..

r
 

glenlivet

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Did the weather change where you are at? Here in Michigan, it's warmed up, and we've got a ton of rain recently. This time of the year I sometimes have to give some of my guitars a little adjustment (usually a slight truss rod tweak) as the rising temp and humidity can cause the necks to back-bow just a little.
During the cold dry winter they tend to go the other way.

edit: especially with hollow / semi-hollow bodies
 

Boreas

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It sounds like a flat fret crown to me, but that wouldn't happen overnight. Your frets appear to have nice crowns, but can't say for sure. And keep in mind, a fret doesn't need to have a flat crown to do this - a worn fret with a divot can do it as well.

But if this started overnight, I would guess temp/humidity changes tweaking the neck. Less likely, but indeed possible is a popped 9th fret. @Peegoo addressed those scenarios. If it is high, try tapping with a fret hammer and see if anything changes. Even less likely is a loose/poorly seated 8th fret that can create a sour tone. Even much LESS likely is a string that happened to get crimped/damaged in that area.

Some strong reading glasses or magnavisor are often necessary tools! Especially at the ripe old age of 49!
 
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schmee

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I think the fret work when I did at the start was fine as up to now it played well and only since thursday I am getting this noise...so maybe will try the truss rod adjustment first...so adding relief by loosening truss rod is counterclockwise correct?
Get a fret rocker. If it's only doing it there, then the next fret up is probably a little high. Fret height changes can occur.

But it is in the area effected a lot by truss rod adjustment. CCW will loosen the truss rod giving more relief.

It seems like raising those frets up may be the answer though.... wouldn't that be accomplished by flattening the neck rather than more relief? Figuring that out is making my head hurt! :lol:
 

Gardo

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Set the truss rod so you have about .012" relief at the 8th fret.

Next, run a fret rocker around the problem area to see it you have a lifting fret.
I don’t have a proper fret rocker so I use the edge of a credit card.
 

plusorminuszero

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I have been trying to eliminate the same attendant sound
on a duo sonic. In this case the jack tang was suppling
a resonant e note just slightly flat. It was killing the 5th
string (A) harmonic, which is weak on this particular board. Once under the guard I beefed up the pickup donuts using stuff from littered vape carts, from the Hooters lot, as to be able to lower the pickups in case the cause
was the string being too near the pickups. Also consider that if the donuts have compressed from age etc., the pickups can vibrate. I pasted a piece of foam rubber against the pocket where the jack tang was. This worked. Initially I suspected the truss rod but on inspection - I removed the neck to help isolate any rumbles - there was no clunking there. No hint of looseness in channel.

It could be the strings behind the nut. It could be a lot of things. Try clamping down on the strings after you pluck that c note and with ear to body listen for anything carrying on
inside. Even dangling pickup wires can cause muting problems. Dampen the string sections behind your fretted note as well as behind the nut. It's a pita but it means you like the instrument. A small string can easily be vamped.

Once, I found this problem was in fact the truss rod.
I drilled out a dot at the 5th fret and applied a resin used
for swelling the wood in chair leg joints, using vacuum at the adjusting nut recess at the heel. It worked. I only wish I had allowed for more of the resin to flow...it seemed to take just a little before it stopped flowing. But it worked.
I should mention that a truss rod vamp on strings can occur whether the rod is relaxed, or under tension. I have witnessed where the rod, when adjusted and under tension, caused the rod to act like a vibrating string. Loosened
it was no longer doing this. This sounds counter intuitive
but you have to consider that the channels are cut much larger than when Fender started out. Look at the koa strip
on early Fenders. They measure just over .1875", which is the rod diameter. Now they are .250", sometimes more,
indicating that underneath all that is a skinny rod flopping around in a oversized channel route.


I don't amp often, so having the strings act properly is important. Also, as mentioned, a sour note can be an action problem, but this is pretty easy to determine: simply raise the saddle. You shouldn't have to jack things higher than your wont. Also, sometimes saddle vibration is the cause. Try gently snugging up the height on screws on a barrel to determine if there is an uneven down force on one.
Once you are confident you have this where you want it a small amount of loctite blue will keep them in place, as these
heights are always lowering with vibrations. You don't need more than a tiny amount applied on just a thread or two.
If you need to alter this setting later on, the small application
of thread lock solvent will allow this, as well as provide some resistance to travel until you reapply the stuff later, if needed.

I prefer a near dead flat neck all the way along fret surface
using just token relief, a thou or two. However,
one thing I have learned is that a zero fret height nut
is not necessarily ideal. A long time lesson here because I
always kept that height so low that after a year or so,
due to the string wraps creating an impression in the nut slots, I'd lose 3 or 4 thou and then it was finally setting up
lower than the first fret. I found that I was losing a subtle resilience, a rebounding effect, which effect actually
improves feel of the string set, behind the fret hand,
especially when jumping between chords. Now I try for a few thousands above zero fret height, at the nut, and am cautious when filing. It is very easy to ruin things by being in a hurry. It takes at least a year for the string wraps to make impressions. So in the meantime I enjoy the slightly higher action at the nut, though it is still very close to zero fret height. I studied the parameters of violin set up,
the scoop, and nut height, in order to learn that perhaps
zero fret height is not necessarily the best on a guitar.
This lets the strings ring out behind the fretted notes, however, so dampen the strings behind your fret hand while diagnosing this sour note.

Lastly, perhaps firstly...look very closely at the frets to make sure there isn't interference ahead. It's a new neck? You never know. I find that guitars sweeten with use, as strings carve out a swath to match their arc, in the frets. That is why I use very little relief. I want the strings close to the wood because even this affects sound. A small diameter string can be very sensitive to any vibration or interference.

I wish you luck; do let us know what you find.
 
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