Shim or fall away?

blackieNYC

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My neck is straight - I measure the relief around .010 to .015”. I’ve rocked the whole fretboard (only frets above 12 needed a little filing) and I think I’m leveled. The action at the 12th is .070. Not very low. I’m still getting a little buzz - all frets above the 5th or so. All strings. That plinky sound like my daughter’s ukelele. I think the upper frets are the cause.
At this point I could file the frets into a fall away, or should I shim under the nut end of the heel?

Or neither? Let me know if I should provide further info.
 

Hobs

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A shim will make no difference once you readjust the bridge for the same action. I would suggest a little less relief.
 

dsutton24

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If the problem is from five on up you need look at the rest if the setup before thinking about fallaway. That is as long as you're confident that your frets truly are level. That's a lot of neck to try to correct with fallaway.

Have you ever used a fret rocker before? I don't use one, I've never gotten the hang of the thing. I an tell more with just a few strokes of my leveling file.
 

blackieNYC

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I did get the hang of the fret rocker. An acoustic luthier guided me on that.
How high are the saddles? They are pretty high. Including the thickness of the bridge plate, the strings at the saddles are right about .50” above the surface of the guitar.
the action at 12 is .070, and the action at 21 is almost the same. That seems unusual, no? It seems like the buzz is from those upper frets. If I pluck at the 5th, the upper frets are right in the middle of the string’s widest vibration, right?
Action at the 1st fret is currently .02”
(Roasted Warmoth neck)
 

blackieNYC

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I did get the hang of the fret rocker. An acoustic luthier guided me on that.
How high are the saddles? They are pretty high. Including the thickness of the bridge plate, the strings at the saddles are right about .50” above the surface of the guitar.
the action at 12 is .070, and the action at 21 is almost the same. That seems unusual, no? It seems like the buzz is from those upper frets. If I pluck at the 5th, the upper frets are right in the middle of the string’s widest vibration, right?
Action at the 1st fret is currently .02”
(Roasted Warmoth neck)
Hobs I’ve got the relief down to .010” with feeler gauges.
 

old_picker

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.070" ïs pretty high to still be getting fret rattle.
Shimming as said earlier won't make any difference. Your problem is in the leveling of the frets. All frets from 1 to 22 need to be levelled perfectly before even considering attempting to add [subtract] a fallaway ramp into the equation

Once you are perfectly level from stem to stern, fallaway can be machined in from around fret 11 through to 21[22] Generally a fallaway ramp is needed only if you want lower action on a 7.25" to 10.00"radius fingerboards. Twelve inch radius and above it is generally not required. For Low action I am talking around .045"between crown of the 12th fret and underside Bass E string. Also talking generally for players requiring to pull big bends up high.

Relief is another setting that needs to be right. You dont want too much or not enough. I set relief so that when the stings are capoed at fret one and you hold down fret 14 when you tap the string string with the amp on you can hear a slight tap as the string hits the top of the 5th to 7th. Visually you'll be looking for a smidgin of air under those 3 frets - I am talking just a hint of air.

Lots of hype about buzz or more correctly fret rattle. This problem most of the time is caused by a mismatch of playing style, string gauge and action height. Players will say yeah I want the lowest action and super light strings - they pick up the guitar and proceed to smash the crap out of the strings and complain about fret rattle. Clearly what is required there is a bit more air under a set of heavier gauge strings.
 

schmee

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I do mean a partial shim to adjust neck angle.
Still won't make any change once the string action is set.
In theory a string is a straight line between two points. With action set the same the frets have the same relationship to the string.

I tried fall away on one guitar I had that issue with. It made zero difference... wasn't up there I guess.
I think some guitars just dont do well with real low action.
.070 is pretty low in my book. I mean.... we are talking a single hair above 1/16".
Of 11 guitars I dont have any I like as low as .070 on the high E.
 
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NoTeleBob

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If the action is the same at 12 as it is at 21, I think you have a neck issue. Strings should not be parallel.

Try loosening the truss rod and getting a little more relief.
 
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pypa

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When u say your neck is straight, and the frets are level, you’ve done this with the truss rod at neutral and no strings, right? A rocker will get you locally flat but it sounds like you have a more global problem that a radius beam and marker might help identify.

Also have you checked the “fret plane” through to where it intersects the saddles? Is there upward travel available on your saddles?

In the several I have built, once the above is set, rarely will you get buzzing on all strings once they are under tension.
 

Freeman Keller

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My neck is straight - I measure the relief around .010 to .015”. I’ve rocked the whole fretboard (only frets above 12 needed a little filing) and I think I’m leveled. The action at the 12th is .070. Not very low. I’m still getting a little buzz - all frets above the 5th or so. All strings. That plinky sound like my daughter’s ukelele. I think the upper frets are the cause.
At this point I could file the frets into a fall away, or should I shim under the nut end of the heel?

Or neither? Let me know if I should provide further info.


You have received a whole lot of advice, you'll have to sort thru it and see what you thing is good. I'll just say that 10 thousands of relief is the upper limit of what I tolerate and that would be on a blue grass players old Martin. My target with good frets is 5 or less. With that kind of relief I like action between 60 thou on the high E and 90 on the low, give or take 10 or so. That requires perfect frets, but of course thats the start of a perfect setup.

I like to measure next fret clearance on all strings at all frets, that tells me what the neck is doing. If the guitar does not buzz when fretted at the first fret and measured at two, if you have clearance all the way up the neck it won't buzz any where else (duh). If the clearance goes up (as it will if you add fall away) no harm is done, it just gets harder to play in the upper reaches. If the clearance goes down you need to figure out why.

I thing fall away is important on an acoustic but generally don't try to build it into an electric neck. There has been a long discussion about fall away at OLF. you might want to spend some time reviewing this


I'll also add that my approach to a setup on any guitar involves measuring everything first and understanding how each factor relates to each other. This might help

 

Alex_C

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I would try shimming the neck to see if it helps. It is inexpensive and easily reversible.

I have a guitar that needed a tiny bit of neck angle adjustment because the action was a bit too high at the upper frets. I decided to shim it, now it has a slight buzz at the lower frets. I need to use a slightly thinner shim. Micro-tilt was designed for a reason. Full disclaimer, I'm a partscaster hobbyist. I've only built about 8 guitars, so my experience is very limited.
 

Ricky D.

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Your frets are not level. If they were level, you would not have rattle/buzz from the fifth fret up.

I have four guitars that measure just about like yours. Relief .015”. First fret .015”. Twelfth fret action, 1/16” to 3/32”, high E to low E. No string rattle, and I have a heavy touch. Your guitar should be at least that good.

From your post, it seems like maybe you touched up a few frets using the fret rocker, but did not do a full level and crown. You’ll find out exactly what’s wrong pretty quick if you do.
 

blackieNYC

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No Tele Bob - correction: I have 4/64ths at the 12th and 5/64s at the 21st.
Thanks everyone- this is very helpful.
Seems like I got the neck flat using strings as my straightedge. Maybe the rocker isn’t enough. Perhaps I need a beam and notched straightedge.
 

Novatuc

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My neck is straight - I measure the relief around .010 to .015”. I’ve rocked the whole fretboard (only frets above 12 needed a little filing) and I think I’m leveled. The action at the 12th is .070. Not very low. I’m still getting a little buzz - all frets above the 5th or so. All strings. That plinky sound like my daughter’s ukelele. I think the upper frets are the cause.
At this point I could file the frets into a fall away, or should I shim under the nut end of the heel?

Or neither? Let me know if I should provide further info.
When you say the action (string clearance actually) at the 12th fret is .070" do you mean the Lo E or Hi E side? .070 clearance Lo E 12th fret is not bad at all. It is too high for the Hi E though.
 

viking

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Listen through the amp , and DONT overthink this.
No rattles through the amp ?
Next question , please .....
 

highwaycat

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Using the strings as a straight edge can work good but sometimes the string may have a kink and be deformed and throw you way off.
Try getting the neck straight with no relief, sometimes you can spot a problem that way.

Now these days the only fall away I do is around the 18th fret to 22nd fret, like .002”. I barely do fallaway on bolt on necks. Cuz I level the frets with the neck still attatched to the body.
 

old_picker

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You said it earlier '

notched straight edge.

If you are working on frets this is the tool you begin with.

Until you have the board flat working on the frets is wasted time and fret metal.
 




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