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How much fret buzz is acceptable?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by MrCoolGuy, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. MrCoolGuy

    MrCoolGuy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I recently bought a 1965 Mustang.
    It's great, but had never had a fret
    level. It was buzzing a little and fretting out. I took it to a well respected guy and he did a great job, but it still buzzes a little on a few low frets of the low e string. I know that old Fenders are prone to this type of thing... and I can't hear it when the amp is on, only when played unplugged.
    How much buzz is acceptable to you?
    The tech is more than willing to help get it right, I just don't want to be unrealistic in my expectations.
    Thanks! Screenshot_20210127-224119_Reverb.jpg
     
  2. MrCoolGuy

    MrCoolGuy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    By the way, I can eliminate the buzz by raising the bridge a little, but I was hoping to keep the action lower.
     
  3. MrCoolGuy

    MrCoolGuy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Screenshot_20210127-231512_Samsung Internet.jpg I found this... which helps me feel better but what do yall think?
     
  4. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Personally I don’t do fret buzzing. I am on the side that says that even electric solid bodies should sound correct unplugged. I saw a video once were Steve Cropper said that a lot of hit songs that he was involved in were written using an unplugged Telecaster. I doubt that his guitar buzzed.
     
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  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    If you can't hear it through the amp it's fine.
     
  6. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    If you aren't getting the [amplified] sustain you want due to buzz, then it's too much.

    Most people these days are trying to play with strings that are too light and action that is way too low to allow for a truly buzz free setup with anything but the lightest of touches. These guitars were designed for flat wound 12s – high tension strings, and low action was not the be all and end all back then.

    If your frets are in good order, and you aren't getting the sustain you want through an amp in the real world, then you just need to learn to play with higher strings...and/or you're playing hard all the time higher strings won't kill you, and once you get used to it, you'll find that you actually play better, technically – especially if bending is "your thing."

    "Buzz free all the time" really shouldn't be your primary goal IMO. Buzz is a tool that you can use to control tone, sustain, and percussiveness. Your guitar should be buzz free with a very light touch, and buzzing on every single note with a heavy touch. You should be able to control the range from zero buzz to lots of buzz by using your right hand.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    How do you know this?
    First time I hear something like that.
    Old Fenders are just.....guitars.
    And like all guitars unless you do a perfect crowning and leveling they will buzz if your action is very low and the neck has minimal relief.
     
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  8. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i have never owned any guitar with any fret buzz at all. but i don't like low action. i can't really play a guitar with low action. feels all wrong to me.
     
  9. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I will tolerate almost zero fret buzz. But I do a LOT of practicing totally unplugged. No amp. I’m dealing with a tele right now that when setup how I like it, has zero fret buzz playing with my fingers. Even when I play wicked hard. Nothing BUT fret buzz when I play it with a pick. Even lightly. Weirdest damn thing I’ve ever encountered.
     
  10. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    How much relief does the neck have?
     
  11. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Which frets buzz?
     
  12. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have no fret buzz on any of my 16 guitars, but I set them up all myself....

    Some required filing frets and polishing, some were cause by neck relief, some neck angle, I could go on...
     
  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Why do you doubt that his guitar buzzed because of that? It's more likely that he learned to control buzz and use it to taste because of that. Unplugged electric players naturally become extremely dynamic players via the right hand. Encompassing a wide right hand dynamic range (as he obviously does) means that you are using controlled buzz, unless you are using 7 mm action.

    He's a master at using string and fret interactions, controlled via right hand pressure, to create tonal effects. He's buzzing all over the place...when he wants to...and not when he doesn't want to. But he typically buzzes quite a lot. Don't know how ya can't hear that, if you've ever really paid attention to him. No, he doesn't typically use a lot of electronic distortion...but he uses the whole range from perfectly clean to filthy with his right hand. A large part of that "filty" end of the spectrum is achieved via fret buzz.

    He's fret buzzing big time through almost this entire song, as he often did. These are not pure, clean notes on the fretboard that are just getting their dirt by overdriving the amp. They are very dirty notes ON the fretboard itself. If ya can't hear that, not sure what else to say on the matter.

     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  14. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe it did. I don’t know. I am more in rz350’s camp though. Fret buzz is not something that I look to have.
     
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  15. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    I think electric guitars are like electric typewriters. It was much easier to type with an electric typewriter because electricity did most of the work. Rather than pick hard enough to make low action strings buzz, just turn up the volume. Also, a short bit of buzz during pick attack is hard to hear.

    The reason frets buzz while playing unplugged is not a problem is because you have to hit the strings hard to hear them when uplugged. If you play unplugged enough for that to bother you then raise the strings. I love low action and I totally agree with post number 3.
     
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  16. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 Tele-Meister

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    I can only repeat what most have said already. If you can't hear it through the amp and if it isn't actually interfering with the sustain of a note and if it doesn't bother you, it's not too much. As much as you like your action low, you would be surprised what even a quarter turn on your saddle height can do. Won't see it with a ruler, but it is sometimes enough to get you out of it. Sound is always a subjective thing, so I of course am only offering my own opinion.
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    "Buzzes on a few low frets of the low E string" sounds like there are some high frets there, maybe even a little back bow there or a bit of neck twist.
    Twist meaning at any given truss rod setting, one side of the neck has more relief than the other, and here it sounds like possibly the low E side has less relief than the high e side, with a bit of back bow or hump between say the 1st and 8th frets.

    Fret specific buzz is different from low action that can buzz anywhere if you pick hard.
    Take down the high frets/ area it buzzes on.

    All frets should have the same degree of buzz potential, or on a given string the frets should all have the same buzz potential. If some frets buzz worse or more easily, generally those frets are high.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  18. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    None is acceptable. Indicative of neck bow. A simple adjustment.
    Love that Mustang.
     
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  19. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I love this track, but the opening solo guitar part (baritione? bass?) definitely buzzes. Is it too much buzz? Acceptable? Any thoughts?

     
  20. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

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    The clearance between the fret you're fretting, and the next fret is -- say, 0.1mm?
    So when you hit the strings fairly aggressively with a thickish pick, as most rock guitarists do, that string vibrates like crazy and then of course it's going to buzz against the next highest fret.
    I suspect the guys who 'won't tolerate any buzz' play with a light touch, and more power to them, but for the rest of us that's just unattainable. Rock on!
     
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