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Fretting About Frets!


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Ok im new to this and want to go about things on my own because i want to.

Here's my question. It think i have the (brand new Fender strat american) neck truss rod set up ok, the frets are nice and even and the same heights and looking oh so purty and new, the nut slots are perfect but i still cant get the action as low as i want without buzz towards the frets closer to the body. The strings buzz even at the spec height fender gives. I usually play with 9's but have also tried 10's and same issue

First anymore suggestions would be great.

Second would it be wise or even cure the problem to lower the frets in succession increments as they get closer to the body to eliminate the buzz and get the action as low as i would like. Even looking at it against other guitars the action looks to be a bit high. I play with a light to moderate hand not very heavy.

Thanks

joe

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Hmmm, less truss rod tension will give you higher action in the middle of the neck. I would try the opposite, to be honest. Add a little quarter turn tighter, then raise the bridge saddle height so the strings clear the high frets (when i say high I mean up about fret 15 to 21/22) and stop buzzing. You should be able to balance out the action evenly along the whole neck by getting the bridge height and the truss rod tension just right if you are sure all the frets are perfectly levelled.

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Second would it be wise or even cure the problem to lower the frets in succession increments as they get closer to the body to eliminate the buzz and get the action as low as i would like.

you need a little relief.

that´s all. a perfectly straight neck, will buzz. with a little refief things should work out just fine.

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Truss rod adjustment is not going to stop buzzing on any frets closer to the body, so, if your frets are all level, then your neck angle may be the problem

seems like you don`t know what you`re talking about.

in this case, its best that you don`t say anything, instead of giving bad advice.

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Hmmm, less truss rod tension will give you higher action in the middle of the neck. I would try the opposite, to be honest. Add a little quarter turn tighter, then raise the bridge saddle height so the strings clear the high frets (when i say high I mean up about fret 15 to 21/22) and stop buzzing. You should be able to balance out the action evenly along the whole neck by getting the bridge height and the truss rod tension just right if you are sure all the frets are perfectly levelled.

I'll give it a shot. i did mean more tension as you sayso the neck is flatter when strings are to pitch.

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Hmmm, less truss rod tension will give you higher action in the middle of the neck. I would try the opposite, to be honest. Add a little quarter turn tighter, then raise the bridge saddle height so the strings clear the high frets (when i say high I mean up about fret 15 to 21/22) and stop buzzing. You should be able to balance out the action evenly along the whole neck by getting the bridge height and the truss rod tension just right if you are sure all the frets are perfectly levelled.

I'll give it a shot. i did mean more tension as you sayso the neck is flatter when strings are to pitch.

Ok one more basic question... should the truss rod be tightened with the strings to pitch so you can see the effect? Will it hurt anything if it is tightened with the strings tight?

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Truss rod adjustment is not going to stop buzzing on any frets closer to the body, so, if your frets are all level, then your neck angle may be the problem

seems like you don`t know what you`re talking about.

in this case, its best that you don`t say anything, instead of giving bad advice.

Actually His theory has merit. Think about a neck with a bit of negative neck angle, your dealing with a guitar that is supposed to have no real angle, so a hint of negative would not be out of the question. If that was the case, extra relief would raise the position of the lower frets as relief is added, and string would be potentially become problematic as you fret higher up the board (if this problem is slight and he is really driving down the action very low, it is certainly not out of the question). May not be the first thing that comes to mind, but if the frets are truely level, and the neck is flat or has at least a hint of relief, he is not picking too hard, trying to take the action impossibly low, nut is truely set correctly. Then something has to be causing the problem. To be honest though, this is not a hard thing to detect, especially if he is able to make the measurements and do confirm the settings he has. I would be a little more concerned about the truss rod adjustments that were suggested, without confirming he understood how to adjust a truss rod. My first suggestion would have been to take it to a professional for a set up, and get a book or video on fretting before starting to toy with his nice new Strat.

Also;

you need a little relief.

that´s all. a perfectly straight neck, will buzz. with a little refief things should work out just fine.

A perfectly straight neck, with level frets. Does not require any relief. Although a little relief can make small changes that occur with changes in humidity and what have you less problematic, as well as may benifit a heavy handed picker.

Peace,Rich

P.S. Might want to be careful about telling someone they don't know what they are talking about, and suggesting they not offer their suggestions. Unless you are really sure, and suspect the bit of advise could do harm.

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Truss rod adjustment is not going to stop buzzing on any frets closer to the body, so, if your frets are all level, then your neck angle may be the problem

seems like you don`t know what you`re talking about.

in this case, its best that you don`t say anything, instead of giving bad advice.

Well, no, what he suggests is indeed a possibility. You ever play a telecaster?

On the other hand, tixie, have you actually measured things? Especially the neck relief -- did you take out a feeler guage and measure the distance between the 6th/7th fret and the E string?

You can't just eyeball this (at least, not when you're just learning what to do). And you'd be surprised at how small the increments are -- the other day I set up a friend's new Ibanez -- it literally required a 1/16th turn of the truss rod to get the relief to behave (I admit, I was very impressed by the responsiveness of that guitar!)

And there are other factors at play --the pickup heights, for one.

I'm assuming you've been to the Fender setup guide, right?

Before you start considering changing the frets of a brand new and presumably expensive guitar, you need to get the setup sorted out. Personally, if I paid that much for a guitar, I would insist that it come to me already set up. And I wouldn't use that guitar to learn how to do a set up --you have other guitars, right? Take this to a shop, have a tech do it, ask if you can sit in to watch how it's done. Pride has nothing to do with it.

And if you have to shim the neck, I'd consider the guitar 'broken' and would return it. I'd maybe accept that on an Asian knockoff, possibly on an MIM, but no way on a MIA.

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Just to add my tuppence worth.

There are many factors that affect frets buzzing the truss rod being one of them (and quite likely in this case)

So protex statement is just wrong and not that helpful what is the point in putting a reply like that up?

I agree with hector.

Edited by joshvegas
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Just to add my tuppence worth.

There are many factors that affect frets buzzing the truss rod being one of them (and quite likely in this case)

So protex statement is just wrong and not that helpful what is the point in putting a reply like that up?

I agree with hector.

A did the measurements ot the nut height and the 6th fret and the action measurements at the 12. The frets are in fact level.

So actually it is MIM body with and MIA Neck. The pocket fit was fine and the screwholes lined up perfectly. I did put a shim (two pieces of plain paper) on the body side when attaching the neck because the saddles had to be way way down to the body. the shim raised the saddles much more than I thought but thought acceptable as they are now adjusted not quite in the middle but closer to the top.

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So actually it is MIM body with and MIA Neck.

That explains some of it --the MIM neck I had was significantly thinner at the heel (probably the rest of the neck too) than MIA specs. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that some MIM models are more like 7/8 the scale of the equivalent MIA. You might need to route the neck pocket.

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Truss rod adjustment is not going to stop buzzing on any frets closer to the body, so, if your frets are all level, then your neck angle may be the problem

seems like you don`t know what you`re talking about.

in this case, its best that you don`t say anything, instead of giving bad advice.

Also;

you need a little relief.

that´s all. a perfectly straight neck, will buzz. with a little refief things should work out just fine.

A perfectly straight neck, with level frets. Does not require any relief. Although a little relief can make small changes that occur with changes in humidity and what have you less problematic, as well as may benifit a heavy handed picker.

Peace,Rich

I never said that he was wrong. in fact, the only thing that made me write this was the way he wrote " truss rod adjustment is NOT going to stop buzzing on ANY frets closer to the body"

I do agree that neck angle MIGHT be the problem, and this he said right "then you neck angle MAY be the problem." but there are so many other variables that could lead to this particular problem, and yes, one of them could be the neck angle.

and I really think that the strings needs some very small space to vibrate. and this I`m sure you know rich, many classical builders plane the end of the fb on the bass side for this reason. and having no truss rod to adjust relief this is the way to go. on a electric I always adjust the neck straight and then loosen the truss rod a just a bit until there`s a little relief. and I mean, a little. to me, having a little relief can help setting the action lower. and this is how I`ve been setting up guitars for the last 5 years, and works fine for me.

I never meant to be so harsh on the guy, but he should watch out for the way he says things. he never touched the guitar, he never looked at the guitar, so at least he should be using words such as maybe, might, could be, and etc.

Edited by Hector
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Hector, joshvegas,

When he replied with this prior to protex responce.

sounds like the trus rod needs to be looked at

ok, less tension so it bows away from strings? Right now it is straight with no strings and slight bow up with strings at pitch. I was told a few times slight bow towarsd strings is good.

Thanks again,

joe

Protex is right in assuming the neck is either flat or has a hint of relief at a minimum based on the responce. In that case no additional relief is going to solve the problem on higher frets. You guys know that the relief that is added does very little to improve the clearance of strings when you fret higher up on a neck, especially the highest frets where the truss does little(hopefully) because the neck is bolted to the body, and you are near the end of the truss(if access is from the heel). Your truss will stop short of the highest frets if it is a common double acting accessed from the headstock. Adding much more relief is really only useful to mask some problems in the lower frets (maybe up to 12-14?), but beyond that not likely, no matter how crazy you get with your relief.

Either way; he is starting to fill in the blanks, about some adjustments he had to make to get this neck to work. I think Mick is on the right trail, and Protex neck angle theory may very well be the case because of the way he retrofited this neck and body. To be honest, I took from his first responce this was a new US Fender Strat from the factory. Which made a neck angle issue less likely, but now that he is feeding us more bits and pieces things will start to make more sense.

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I'm with hector on this my beef wasn't with the opinion about the neck angle it was the nature of the post.

The first part was just wrong and therefore not helpful when someone asks for advice they want advice about all possiblilties not for one persons perfectly valid opinion to be shot down and replaced with another valid opinion.

and as you say more information means more likelihood of accurate and useful advice.

I guess I didn't make myself clear which is just as bad I guess but I'm pretty sure that you guys can see what hector and I meant!

Edited by joshvegas
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I am kinda starting to feel like I am sounding like a jerk here(harping on this), because I don't want to sound disrespectful to Hector or joshvegas (I am sure both of you are very sharp cats, and are trying to be helpful. Which is very cool). At the same time I didn't feel like it was fair to Protex when his responce was not out of line, and actually very valid.

When he was told this by Hector;

seems like you don`t know what you`re talking about.

in this case, its best that you don`t say anything, instead of giving bad advice.

I don't care how you read that. It says he does not know what he is talking about, and that he should not respond because his advise is bad. I don't believe Hector was trying to be that harsh, as he responded;

I never said that he was wrong. in fact, the only thing that made me write this was the way he wrote " truss rod adjustment is NOT going to stop buzzing on ANY frets closer to the body"

I do agree that neck angle MIGHT be the problem, and this he said right "then you neck angle MAY be the problem." but there are so many other variables that could lead to this particular problem, and yes, one of them could be the neck angle.

and I really think that the strings needs some very small space to vibrate. and this I`m sure you know rich, many classical builders plane the end of the fb on the bass side for this reason. and having no truss rod to adjust relief this is the way to go. on a electric I always adjust the neck straight and then loosen the truss rod a just a bit until there`s a little relief. and I mean, a little. to me, having a little relief can help setting the action lower. and this is how I`ve been setting up guitars for the last 5 years, and works fine for me.

I never meant to be so harsh on the guy, but he should watch out for the way he says things. he never touched the guitar, he never looked at the guitar, so at least he should be using words such as maybe, might, could be, and etc.

Of course Hector still advised Protex to watch out for the way he says things, and that it would be better to use words like "maybe, might, could be". Hector was not following his own advise in his responces.

you need a little relief.

that´s all. a perfectly straight neck, will buzz. with a little refief things should work out just fine.

I am sure some would take exception when Hector said a perfectly straight neck will buzz. This is not true(yes, I am not following the advise about qualifying everything now, but I don't think everything needs to be qualified) as long as the action is reasonable, and the player does not play too hard(lack of control), and there are no fret issues. Of course there was no reason to slam Hector for his statement. Not that big a deal.

That is all I am going to say about this. I am pretty sure the guys will see what I meant also (more importantly, hopefully Protex will not feel like he is getting hammered on his 6th post on this forum. I suspect he is new to this forum, but not new to building).

Peace,Rich

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Thanks everyone for all your input. I went through everything again step by step. I did get rid of the buzz and the action is a bit better? but still not where i would want it. Maybe i am asking for lower than is possible. fender specs actually seem high to me.

I will be looking for a good pro do give it the once over as well and maybe watch him go through the motions. The problem is how do i find a good tech / luthier... i was told to stay away from Sam Ash and that the only major one here. Im on Long Island so if anyones in the area and recommend someone.

Thanks again for everyones input.

joe

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okay guys.

I give up.

sorry about that.

I`m off to my vacation.

Oh now, it's not that big of a deal. And I'm sure you meant well (maybe not against protex, but in general). We all get grumpy sometimes. And besides, this is the internet, it's not a luncheon with the ladies.

Like i said i rechecked everything. i reset the neck angle by half of what i had added just a smidge of tension did the saddle height thingy and i now have a sweet sounding (without an amp of course) MIM body and MIA Neck combo. Im even a hair lower than fender specs. Maybe i was also just expecting the action to be impossible low (like not even having to press a string down hehehe)

Once again thanks to EVERYONE for the advice and discussion!!!

Joe

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OK Let's get this straight.

First of all I was offering advice to the person with the problem, obviously you Hector( and joshvegas) thought I was slating your opinion which was not my intention,

however, my opening reply is a statement of fact, ( as taught by experts) which perhaps I should have qualified at the time. ( fryovanni went on to do so later, thanks btw) Secondly I suggested there maybe a problem with the neck angle, and I do believe I said maybe.

So what may I ask gives you the right to tell me that I don't know what I am talking about, and that I give bad advice?

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OK Let's get this straight.

First of all I was offering advice to the person with the problem, obviously you Hector( and joshvegas) thought I was slating your opinion which was not my intention,

however, my opening reply is a statement of fact, ( as taught by experts) which perhaps I should have qualified at the time. ( fryovanni went on to do so later, thanks btw) Secondly I suggested there maybe a problem with the neck angle, and I do believe I said maybe.

So what may I ask gives you the right to tell me that I don't know what I am talking about, and that I give bad advice?

Protex,

I hope you don't read too much into it. Hector has been around for a while and he is not a bad fella (helpful, and not mean spirited at all from what I have seen). After a person has been on this board for a while trying to help newer builders, they start to get kinda jumpy when a newer member posts up. I have seen a LOT of people sign up, give a flurry of crazy advise that could be harmful (damage projects). If a person really takes trying to protect newer builders from bad advise very personally, it can become frustrating, next thing you know they misread, don't quite follow, or whatever and post a message telling that member to not give bad advise. It is not a good thing, it is a product of the open nature of the board(which is actually nicer than the rigid structured opposite). I think everyone meant well, although you got knocked around for no reason(sorry for that), but hopefully you will understand.

You should post up an introduction topic, and let us know a little about yourself, what you like to build and such. Actually, I think I will just go post up a "welcome Protex" topic in the off topic chat area. Maybe you can let us know a little about yourself, what you like to build, fix or whatever.

Peace,Rich

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