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high E & B strings vibrating weirdly/incompletely

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by jc77, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. jc77

    jc77 TDPRI Member

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    Not buzzing exactly, but not ringing true -- you have to listen closely, but the tone is wavery, like the parabola is weird -- it has the sort of swiss-cheesy sound my 4-track had when it was starting to go, like there's a faint rapid warble, or shifting discontinuities in the sound.

    I've brought this problem up before, under a different topic, but I've let go of the off-center hypothesis https://www.tdpri.com/threads/rebuilt-tele-bridge-installed-off-center.1033476/

    I find this guitar hard to tune -- but other guitars with more measurably off intonation, worse frets, etc sound more in tune to me.

    I'm thinking of the saddles -- compensated Gotohs. Maybe the point of contact is a problem? The bridge plate underneath isn't mint, but I don't think it's so gouged that it would cause this shifting sound.

    Right now I've got Thomastiks (.11 and .15) -- previously DR True Blues pure nickel (.10 and .13). I didn't notice this strongly with the DRs, but they were so noisy/sloppy it would be hard to tell. I did notice it with D'Addario Chromes previously (.11 and .14)

    The neck pickup passes the 1 nickel, 2 nickel test -- but maybe it needs to be lowered for this gauge of string? It's kind of as low as it goes without coming loose -- may need to replace tubing/springs -- I've never looked under the pickguard.

    Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
     
  2. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you notice it more on an upstroke then a downstroke?

    Sent from my LG-H932 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    It may be due to magnetic capture.

    Lower both pickups into the body (lower than normal) and see if the weirdness is reduced. This is just a test, and does not mean you have to leave the pickupos there.
     
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  4. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mine sound like that when the ceiling fan is running. Is there a fan nearby?
     
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  5. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    I didn't see a mention of guitar type, so I should ask about that up front.. and,
    does problem happen on open plucked strings or just fretted ones?
    Similar problem amplified or unamplified?
    (etc)

    I've dealt with similar problems in the past. Hopefully, the more experienced folks chime in, but in the meanwhile here are the things I had to check/tweak to help solve the problem:

    (Some) things to check:

    > Bottom of adjuster screws on bridgeplate (machining can leave a rough end-I smoothed with sandpaper)
    > Bottom of bridgeplate on body (needs to be smooth [no burrs] and fit flush)
    > Check fit of adjuster screw(s) in saddles too (you can use something like Threadlock [not the permanent type] to help eliminate extra 'wobble' of a bad fit)

    I had a similar problem on my Squier '51 and found out when the bridge was installed the grounding wire underneath was placed so it touched the high E string and that created residual tinny resonances that drove me crazy. Since pulling the bridge and moving the wire (and swapping on some stainless steel saddles..) everything is a-ok now.
     
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  6. jc77

    jc77 TDPRI Member

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    Fascinating groundwire scenario! Something may be up with the groundwire I think -- sometimes the guitar is super noisy unless grounded by me; other times quiet. Yeah I should check the adjuster screws (glad to know a word for those!) -- but I just put on these Thomastiks...

    Pickups... neck pickup I think I'd need to take the pickguard off; bridge doesn't want to go much lower, nowhere to go, plus screws get loose

    guitar = mashup of 89 USA body (i think) & MIM joe strummer neck. luthier rebuild, a couple CL generations on = lots of ways not to be up to spec

    No not a fan, but there is that sort of cancellation effect.

    One forumite suggested string bind in a conversation -- my frets have been leveled, but not crowned I think
     
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  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    You want to make sure to get those frets crowned if they haven't been (I learned this the hard way!).
    Fortunately, there are a lot of terrific threads up here on TDPRI on how to DYI if you're up to it (you'll likely have to buy a crowning file, if you want to go 'path of least resistance' and get good results [I did]). And, you'll need some fine grade sandpaper/abrasive sheets and probably some 0000 steel wool or similar.

    The effect of playing a fretted note with a flat top fret is: a) it will require more effort to bend, b). the finer unwound strings will ring with the fundamental and extra overtones (and often quite ugly compared to natural harmonics, etc). It just won't 'sound right' -- and most sets of ears can detect it.

    Check the other stuff first, but do give a real close look at the frets from a side profile -- they should be semi-circular top from a side look. If flat, bingo! "Houston, we have a problem".
     
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  8. jcsk8

    jcsk8 TDPRI Member

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    This is much probably what you´re having. Notice that the thinner strings have less mass and are prone to be caught by the pickups magnetic field.
    Specially the neck pickup.

     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  9. Martinp

    Martinp Tele-Afflicted

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    maybe the string tree?
     
  10. jc77

    jc77 TDPRI Member

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    checked with the luthier: frets were crowned --

    but the "extra overtones" remark is dead-on -- yes, like an octave up, not clear like a harmonic, dull but full, & pulling sharp

    string tree... sound happens when fretted -- could

    what is the protocol for lowering the neck pickup? it seems to be attached from the inside (tele-noob here)
    because if you have to take the strings off & the whole thing apart, adjust, reassemble, test -- it makes finicky tinkering kind of an all day thing
     
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  11. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    You'll have to remove the pickguard to access the mounting screws for the neck pickup. I *think* (disclaimer: I don't have a T-type with the same pickup mount, so what I say is from memory on previous guitars..), but, you may be able to just take the pickguard screws out and gently lift/slide the pickguard out of the way .. then you can access those neck mount screws to lower the pickup.

    If, there isn't enough clearance in the above approach, then you'll have to loosen or pull the strings to make enough clearance to get the pickguard out of the way.

    Oh, and re: string tree and the 'above the nut' overtones.. I went and bought a few 3/8" rubber grommets from my local Ace. I stick 'em between pairs of strings up above the nut (like E and B, and B and G) and these seem to deaden the overtones generated there. Easy to pop in and pop out.

    PS. Glad to hear about the crowned frets!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  12. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds to me like 'Stratitis'; pickups too close to the strings.

     
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