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High E string help

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by humblepie, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. humblepie

    humblepie TDPRI Member

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    I have a really nice parts tele, made with the best kinds and brands of pieces, wood and electrical.
    The guitar is really everything I want in a tele, BUT, the high E "plinks". It doesn't punch and ring like the other 5 strings. What could the problem be?

    I've been playing many years, understand how to set up, set intonation, neck pitch.
    I've had this problem on other guitars in the past, here and there, but always just lived with it. With the high quality parts, including Wilkinson hardware and brass saddles, there seems to be no reason for this.

    I would love to hear from anyone who can contribute to a solution.
     
  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Probably the nut slot. Could also be the saddle.

    Brush out the nut slot with a toothbrush and see if that helps. If it doesn't, more aggressive methods may be necessary.
     
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  3. zeoy

    zeoy Tele-Meister

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    Does this happen with the string open or fretted? If it happens with fretted notes, does it go away if you fret higher than a specific fret?
     
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  4. Scotty 2

    Scotty 2 Tele-Holic

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    POSSIBLY,,if the string is of a lighter ga.there won't be enough mass in the metal to let the magnetic pull of the pickup function correctly..You might try a heavier
    ga. string set?????????
     
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  5. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    It's not the string mass. Like zoey implied, we need more information.

    Is this happening to all notes? What model bridge and saddles? Is there a string tee? How high is the action and how much relief is there? Is it possible that the string is hitting something a little bit, like a pickup set too high or something?
     
  6. humblepie

    humblepie TDPRI Member

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    Okay, it happens when it's open, as well as when it's fretted. That would seem to point to the bridge.
    The nut is an Earvana nut, cut and installed by Warmoth when they built the neck. Ebony board, compound radius. I should have given you those details.
     
  7. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    I've had this problem in the past and a good setup, heavier strings and pickup height adjustment fixed it.

    Unfortunately I'm not sure which one of these (or all of them) fixed it.

    I've heard people suggest adjusting your playing, and just "digging in" more in the lower e, and that could be what happened to mine.

    I hope I haven't unknowingly ajusted my technique just for that guitar. One really shouldn't need to do that.

    Good luck with it!
     
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  8. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm one who believes string mass has that effect..Not saying that's your problem, but it might be..Did you try raising the treble side of the pickups ?? Or if you have adjustable pole pieces raise the 1st string pole piece..
    Then maybe you need to try a different brand of strings..
    Hell, I dunno..
     
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  9. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    The key does seem to be the distance between the string and the pickups. If everything else is good raising the low side of the pickups should be the only thing left.

    Going to larger strings "seems" to help a tiny bit. The tiny added width of the string would put it a "tiny" bit closer to the pickups. Pickup adjustment is much less subtle and is the most likely solution, especially if one doesn't want to go to a heavier gauge string.

    Edit: It has been brought to my attention that increasing string gauge in fact, doesn't get the string any closer to the pickups.

    My opologies for my incorrect assumption.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  10. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    If I had to take a guess I would say it is the nut. if the buzz stops when you fret the notes it would be the first place I look. That said without seeing it it could be anything. There are a few fine adjustments that need to be made before the problem can be determined. I have on rare occasions run into "bad" strings. Check to make sure the neck isn't back bowed before you do anything. Then make sure the frets are level, set the action to factory spec. If that doesn't fix it it is most likely the nut. There is a test you can do with a feeler gauge to determine if the nut is cut to deep. You can look up in the setup specs ... it is a little different on different guitars. There are books with this info.

    Both of my Tele's are really touchy with setups and environmental issues. They need attention especially when the season changes. Improper humidification can cause all kinds of problems.

    I wish I could give you better info but without seeing it there is much more I can say.
     
  11. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    We still need the important details to help troubleshoot:

    What bridge?
    How high is the action, and how much relief?
    What gauge string is it?
    How close are the treble pickups to the strings?

    FWIW, Warmoth does a medicore job on nuts, but if the problem happens on fretted notes as well, the nut probably isn't the problem.


    I think you're having trouble envisioning what's going on. If you put a piece of paper on the table and then stack more paper on top of it, does the stack get closer to the floor?
     
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  12. jpjr50

    jpjr50 Tele-Holic

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    Do you have brass saddles?

    My high E would wear a groove in the soft brass, get stuck in there and it would plink.

    I switched to Stainless Steel Threaded saddles and swapped out the stock plastic nut for a TusqXL.

    No more strange noises and much better intonation.
     
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  13. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Unseated or damaged saddle? Check the height and intonation screws, and look for burrs where the string goes over the saddle.
     
  14. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the visual. I didn't think that one through obviously. Thanks for the correction!
     
  15. MMARSH

    MMARSH Tele-Meister

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    If you are using bent metal saddles, check that the two height strings are actually screwed down correctly. If one of then is loose, you will get exactly this symptom.
     
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  16. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I would also clean everything that string touches, particularly the saddles.

    I once spilled a drop of sugared coffee on the bridge at the high E string, and that string "plinked" horribly until I discovered the cause. Cleaned the saddle etc. with damp rag, then some naphtha for good measure.
     
  17. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

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    The simple and reliable answer is to take it to a skilled repair/setup guy ... he will figure it out immediately and fix it and explain what he did and why and you walk away. Pay him and you are done.
     
  18. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Holic

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    I just had a similar experience using some very expensive custom bridge parts, and it turned out to be the relationship between the thru hole and the back of the saddle - there are three angles of sting bend when you drop a six saddle bridge onto a tele, the thru hole, the back of the saddle and the front of the saddle, and if the relationship in the mid one of the three is wrong then you get buzzes on the bridge - the fix was to change the saddles for vintage type to change the geometry (a neck change and a reset also sorted out the rest of the geometry of the guitar - the perils of building with off spec donor bodies.

    IMG_1015.JPG
     
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  19. skantzos

    skantzos TDPRI Member

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    Can you measure the relief on the high E string (not the usual low E) in playing position?
     
  20. S00NERMAN

    S00NERMAN Tele-Meister

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    Sometimes it is just the way it is until you change things up a bit. I have a Gibson Vegas that had weird harmonics on different strings with different setups, bridge changes and tuning tension. I finally got it to sound good by tuning down 1/2 step and using the Thomastik Infeld flatwound strings (after swapping the unwound E and B for D'Addario's). I still have no real explanation, but whatever makes the guitar happy works for me!
     
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