String buzz even with high neck relief and action

63 vibroverb

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If the frets are leveled and it’s still occurring, I would take a look at the neck pocket. Even a slight incline could cause the neck angle to be off and have strings buzz. One non-intrusive way to remedy that is to get a maple neck pocket shim from stew mac and raise the tuner side of the neck (half a degree should be enough). You could get a luthier to alter the incline/decline of the pocket later, if this is indeed the issue.
 

TokyoPortrait

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Hi.

Man, I swear, my fat E string started to buzz after reading this thread. What's up with that?

To the OP, don't worry too much, it's a journey as they say. Or maybe, it's a trip. Cos there'll be flashbacks.

I'm not a complete novice, but compared to many here, I'm Jon Snow and they'd have reason to chide me with "You no nothing." All I can say is keep forging on.

Pax/
Dean
 

moosie

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The ones I love are the folks who say "my action is a little high, I'll adjust the truss rod" and then they hold the guitar up, squint and look down the neck and do their magic.
Well, that does have it's place. I maintain my own, and my son's guitars. No one else touches them (he doesn't even bother changing strings), so whenever he says his action has changed, I know it's the ever-changing Northeast humidity moving the neck.

I always go through the motions of a full setup, but all it ever needs is a slight truss rod tweak, and I intonate the new strings.

I could easily see a fairly non-technical player start with a pro setup, and if nothing else changes but the action, tweak the rod themselves. The twice-yearly setups on every guitar can get pricey, but in this part of the world, if you want fairly low action, it's a must.

Intonation seems to scare most players, but as most of us know, it's pretty easy to do, as long as you can live with realizing first hand that the guitar will never be completely in tune. If someone else does your intonation, you can continue telling yourself the fiction.
 

moosie

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Oh right several frets can be high, but you can't have 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 ALL be high!
Hah! When I read this, I laughed out loud. I was struck by an image of a dude who 'leveled' his frets right down to the board.

Why did you do that?

The frets were too high.

Which ones?

All of them.

ba-dum!


I'll just see myself out...
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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My 2 cents: I agree with many here on the thread, a shim is in order or perhaps the
shim in the neck pocket now is all wrong.
 

Telenator

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If it's buzzing when it's fretted and there is proper neck relief, the culprit is the bridge saddles. They're too flat.

You need to take your rounded nut file and gently round off the back side of the saddle slot. The string is buzzing in the slot.

This will fix it.
 

telemnemonics

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I was wondering too if it's a saddle issue. The buzz is problematic across most of the low E string and the buzz is also present on the A although it's not as bad. Both are connected to the same barrel. I've got Gotoh In-Tune Compensated brass saddles.
Those saddles shouldn’t buzz on the low E unless the string is against the raised height screw, which is possible.
I cut or file off the bottom of the height screws so they don’t protrude but it can happen in some setups.
Here I also file off the back of the lengthened saddle sections which you can see here on the A and D break angles behind the point at the end of the playable section of string. Just my desire for firm consistent break angle which I don’t like the look of on this saddle design where the A and D strings had that extra high point to break over before reaching the saddle top and having that second break angle. Anyhow, unless your low E is buzzing against the height screw which is NOT sticking up in this pic, the low E is not likely to buzz on this saddle type. Is the saddle height screw raised though? Can your low E be buzzing against the height screw?
Could be

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3C132F85-FAB1-4228-A1C6-1144FD8F4FD7.jpeg
 

sax4blues

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How long has it been doing this? Could it just be your technique?

I had an old acoustic that was left to me by a neighbor where I had a similar issue. I finally convinced myself that there must be a loose brace or something and took it to my tech. He picked it up, played it, and no buzz. It was me the whole time.
Ha Ha Ha, this was my first exact experience. Hadn’t played in 25 years so took my Hohner Les Paul in for set up. Got home and it still buzzed and fretted out. Took it back, the tech plugs in and plays beautifully. I sheepishly went home and got to work.
 

telemnemonics

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Shims do not address buzzing. They only adjust the neck angle, which in turn adjusts the relationship between the string height and saddle height.
Yeah I don’t want to sound mean toward all the shim obsessed posters, but we see shim comments far too often, and as long as the neck angle allows enough saddle height range to set the action both too high and too low, adding a shim will never fix buzzing.
 

schmee

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I did some mods to a guitar this week. It has just been feeling 'hard on the hands' and some buzzing. After checking it I realized it had little if any relief. I took the advantage of having the neck loose to give it more relief. Unfortunately this guitar has the truss adjustment in the heel. What a PITA!
After restringing it had plenty of relief and played much better. But it now had too much relief. (probably .015-.020) So neck loose again and tried to find a middle ground on the truss rod.
But it plays far better with relief than it did flat. I had forgotten how much difference it makes in how it feels on some guitars. With no relief the strings just feel too tight and hard.
 

KokoTele

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schmee, another luthier taught me a trick for speedy adjustment of heel truss rods:

Capo the strings somewhere convenient. Then loosen the neck screws. (I do the ones closest to the nut last as the rest of the heel will keep the neck in place.) Don't detune first. Take the neck off and make your adjustment, then reattach the neck. Helps to have a way to hold the guitar down, but you can wrestle it without if you really want to. (I have the fancy StewMac vice, which makes this way easy.)

Doesn't hurt anything and makes the task much easier. After enough practice you'll have a good feel for how much to adjust the truss rod so that you only have to do it once.
 

schmee

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schmee, another luthier taught me a trick for speedy adjustment of heel truss rods:

Capo the strings somewhere convenient. Then loosen the neck screws. (I do the ones closest to the nut last as the rest of the heel will keep the neck in place.) Don't detune first. Take the neck off and make your adjustment, then reattach the neck. Helps to have a way to hold the guitar down, but you can wrestle it without if you really want to. (I have the fancy StewMac vice, which makes this way easy.)

Doesn't hurt anything and makes the task much easier. After enough practice you'll have a good feel for how much to adjust the truss rod so that you only have to do it once.
Thanks! that's pretty much what I did, except I did loosen the strings and then capo it. It wasn't too bad to do. I didn't even have to actually remove the neck, just tilt it back while in the neck pocket.
But I usually buy headstock adjustable necks. I made a mistake ordering this one a couple years ago and haven't adjusted it since initial install.
 

63 vibroverb

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Shims do not address buzzing. They only adjust the neck angle, which in turn adjusts the relationship between the string height and saddle height.

They can address buzzing if the neck pocket angle is too steep towards the bridge end. It may or may not solve the OP's problem, but I wouldn't rule it out without trying.

Yeah I don’t want to sound mean toward all the shim obsessed posters, but we see shim comments far too often, and as long as the neck angle allows enough saddle height range to set the action both too high and too low, adding a shim will never fix buzzing.

Not sure why I'm being called obsessed for suggesting a shim, but it has solved buzzing issues in my experience. Is it the cure-all for everything? Of course not, but this aggression towards shims is unnecessary. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work, so you take it out and try something else.
 

telemnemonics

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They can address buzzing if the neck pocket angle is too steep towards the bridge end. It may or may not solve the OP's problem, but I wouldn't rule it out without trying.



Not sure why I'm being called obsessed for suggesting a shim, but it has solved buzzing issues in my experience. Is it the cure-all for everything? Of course not, but this aggression towards shims is unnecessary. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work, so you take it out and try something else.
I referred to the broad collective of "shim obsessed".
Not singling you out but I think only two suggested a shim in this thread.
Shims are needed at times but a Tele very rarely needs a neck shim.
Oddly though they are a talking point and some will suggest them to fix almost any problem.
Including those who say shims suck tone, those who say shims cannot have any air gap and should only be bought from Stew Mac etc etc.

You just got caught in the crowd!
I use (business card) shims but never when I don't know what's wrong with a guitar!

The OP is trying to choose between all our suggested "fixes" plus suggestions to figure out what's wrong before fixing it.
So I addressed shims.
 

dsutton24

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Provided that you've cranked the neck back into shape, made sure the saddles are sitting down on the bridge plate, and checked for high frets... Two thoughts:

1. Have you tried a new string?

2. Even though it makes absolutely no sense at all, I've fixed two cases of chronic E string buzzing by opening up the nut slot a bit, and making sure the slot tilts toward the headstock. Everyone will tell you (including me most days) that if the string is buzzing on fretted notes that it can't be the nut. Apparently it can, even though it can't.

Figure that out.
 

fushifushi

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Here's an update. I've reduced the relief on the neck and adjusted saddle heights to get it closer to baseline specs (and closer to how it came home from the tech).

MEASUREMENTS:
- Relief - 0.008" (capo 1st fret, hold down 21st fret, measure at 8th fret)
- Action on low E - 5/64th at 17th fret
- Action on high E - 4/64th at 17th fret
- First fret action on low E - 0.016"
- First fret action on high E - 0.012"

HOW IT PLAYS:
This set up feels great under the fingers! Super fast and comfortable. Licks are much easier than when I had high neck relief and high action.

HOW IT SOUNDS:
- Low E - 5/64th at 17th fret. Buzz city from 1st to 14th with the lightest useable attack. After the 14th there's still buzz but it's not as prominent. The buzz is worse with this set up than with the high neck relief and action. I consider this amount of buzz unusable.
- A - 5.2/64th at 17th fret. Buzz across all frets with light attack but much less prominent than on the low E. Whereas the amount of buzz on the A was acceptable with the high neck relief and action, it's not acceptable with this set up. Just sounds exactly like a guitar that needs to be taken to a tech for attention.
- D - 4.5/64th at 17th fret. Great. No problems.
- G - 5/64th at 17th fret. Has that sitar sound when played open, and a few frets have a slight buzz or more like the beginnings of fretting out. On the whole I'm okay with this string except for the sitaring when played open.
- B - 4/64th at 17th fret. Awesome, strong, clear.
- E - 4/64th at 17th fret. Awesome except the 16th fret is fretting out a little. Still, pretty happy with this string.

Those saddles shouldn’t buzz on the low E unless the string is against the raised height screw, which is possible.
Here's a picture of my saddles. The strings aren't touching the height screws. I didn't follow the second part you said about filing the backsides of the saddles.

full
 
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