Levelling upper frets more?

PoopSoupGuitars

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Hi all,

In the constant fight for low action and minimal buzz, I had an idea yesterday of levelling the higher frets (say, 12th to end) more than the upper frets, since this is where I'm getting some fret buzz when I drop the action low. I'm wondering if anyone has an reasons not to do this? Is there an obvious downside I'm missing?

And I know I should start with the truss rod, trust me it's been adjusted to as good as I can get it.
 

Boreas

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Hi all,

In the constant fight for low action and minimal buzz, I had an idea yesterday of levelling the higher frets (say, 12th to end) more than the upper frets, since this is where I'm getting some fret buzz when I drop the action low. I'm wondering if anyone has an reasons not to do this? Is there an obvious downside I'm missing?

And I know I should start with the truss rod, trust me it's been adjusted to as good as I can get it.
It is a common procedure called "fall-off" or something similar. Truss rods typically only adjust up to about the 12th-14th frets and beyond that the neck stays flat. But flat does not always mean level, so sometimes it is preferable to do this - especially if you have an aggressive attack.

When doing this, typically techs angle the fall-off toward the bridge rather than filing those particular frets equally. Otherwise you can still get buzzing.
 

Freeman Keller

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The neck to body transition is frequently tricky, particularly on acoustic guitars. There is often a little hump at the joint and the f/b extension may go up, drop off or be flat. I try to build my necks perfectly flat including the transition and I run as small a relief as I can get away with. Altho its a problem with acoustics very few people play above the 12th fret so it turns out to not be a big problem. This is a crude representation of what is happening

Neckprofile.JPG
 

schmee

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Hi all,

In the constant fight for low action and minimal buzz, I had an idea yesterday of levelling the higher frets (say, 12th to end) more than the upper frets, since this is where I'm getting some fret buzz when I drop the action low. I'm wondering if anyone has an reasons not to do this? Is there an obvious downside I'm missing?

And I know I should start with the truss rod, trust me it's been adjusted to as good as I can get it.
I have tried "fall away" on a couple of guitars over the years to fix buzz at very low string height. I have never found it to actually improve anything. Also, I have never had a guitar that actually came with "fall away" from 1938 to 2018 models.
If your guitar has a hump in the neck at the body join, then I guess that's a way to try to cure it. But maybe getting rid of the bump would be better.
 

Freeman Keller

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Fall away is very common on acoustics. If the fretboard is well leveled before it is fretted then it shouldn't be a problem on an electric.
 

old_picker

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Fallaway is used here on tight radius necks particularly on 7.25" radius fingerboards. 9.5"and 10"radius also have fallaway routinely machined in. Very useful for bendy players. Once you get to 12"radius the necessity is not there but some fallaway can be added if you want to go to the trouble. Flatter radius and compound radius necks don't need it at all.

It's no big deal to do as long as you have the correct size radius blocks. Machining in a little fallaway adds a few minutes to the leveling job but makes a huge difference to the playability of tight radius necks.
 

Wayne Alexander

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I find it's necessary to have some fallaway on many guitar necks to avoid fretting out or string buzzing. If you have fret leveling/crowning/polishing tools, just make it so the height of the frets gradually reduces a bit from the 12th fret to the heel of the neck. It usually doesn't have to be a particularly drastic reduction.
 

Fenderbaum

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Just did a little bit fall-away on a bass today. Its not new.

Fall-away are very common procedure on 7.25" radius and sometimes 9.5" to reduce/eliminate fret-out on bends.
Only downside is that your two or three last frets needs to sacrifice a certain amount of nickel to achieve it.
 

kuch

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Remember that thread a couple of weeks ago where people were questioning the effectiveness of the micro tilt neck. this is exactly what it was meant for. If you feel that the correct neck relief does not give you as much low action on the upper frets, tilt the headstock forward and then lower the relief.
It would be the same effect as shimming the neck.
 




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