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Buzzing after a pro level/crown/setup

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Chris House, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    I'm having some perplexing and vexing fret buzz issues with my 2008 American Standard strat. I just got it back from my local shop to have its frets leveled. I went ahead and paid for a setup too. The frets are flat and perfect (I checked with a Crimson Guitars fret rocker). But it still buzzes on the lowest three strings along most of the neck. The middle frets are the most pronounced. I can't tell exactly where the buzz is coming from, but it definitely sounds like fret buzz. I ruled out trem spring rattle. The character of the sound is the same as when I move my fretting finger as far away from the fret as I can and it buzzes like crazy. It's that same sound, just lesser.

    The big problem is that the buzz comes through the amplifier. So my opinion is that this is beyond an acceptable amount of buzz.

    I've messed around with the setup. Here's where I have it now:
    Action: 2.5mm on the low E at the 17th fret, the rest of the strings are at about 2mm at the 17th. I've tested going higher (as much as 3mm on the low E) and the buzz is mildly improved but still present.
    Relief: I've gone back and forth with this, but currently it's at just a hair above .011 inches at the high E at the 7th fret (holding down at the 1st and the 17th)
    Pickup height: bass side is at 4mm from string to pole, treble side is at 3mm (while holding down the 17th fret).

    I called the shop and spoke with the tech who worked on it. He's a really nice guy and we chatted for a while. His points were essentially: strats tend to be a bit buzzy, that my technique may be a factor, and that it's a good idea to just try not to let it bother me. But I really don't think it's my technique. When I pick VERY gently there's no buzz and I notice that the buzz is worse when I strum a power chord than single notes. But I don't think my normal picking is inordinately heavy. I don't think it's my fretting hand either; pressing the string down right behind the fret until my finger turns white doesn't fix the buzz.

    What else could possibly be the problem? What could I be overlooking? I'm about to throw this thing out in the snow :(
     
    Gautier30 likes this.

  2. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    981
    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    Did you measure the relief?
     

  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    You should not have to go above 2mm to have buzz free playability....my guess is it's your technique or the guy did not do a proper fret level.....a rocker only checks the next fret on either side....it doesn't check the overall level of all of them.....

    You're not new to electric guitar are you? What experience do you have? Welcome to the forum!
     
    Dick Blackmore likes this.

  4. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    Yes, it's just over .011 inches at the high E at the 7th fret.

    Thanks. Yeah, I'm pretty new. Just started playing last June.
     

  5. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    981
    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    well .011 is not off and in the zone I like to aim for .010-.013. Sometimes when you get buzz on low frets or below the 12th but not above the 12th its too much relief. Have you checked the saddles to make sure the saddle adjustment screws are all firmly touching the bridge plate?

    Probably going to need some Ron Kirn or one of the other expert experts weigh in.
     

  6. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    You said frets are flat. Did the tech crown them? No crown =fret buzz

    Maybe you meant level.
     

  7. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    Yeah the saddle screws are all firmly touching.

    Yep I meant level. The frets look nicely crowned to my (admittedly inexperienced) eyes.
     

  8. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    A mild breakthrough. I've determined with a high level of certainty that the buzz is emitting from the next fret up from the currently played fret. I figured this out by placing a capo on a fret, picking the string to consistently produce the buzz, and gently sliding the corner of a post-it note over the next fret. Without exception the buzz was replaced by the papery vibration.

    So what does this mean? My first thought is action, but remember that I'm already at about 2.5mm at the 17th.
     

  9. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
    That would mean the fret immediately in front is higher.

    Raise the saddle a bit and see if it helps.
     
    StratGuyBri likes this.

  10. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Strat-O-Master

    685
    Jun 15, 2007
    CHARLOTTE, NC
    Have you talked to the guy that did the fret work. Since he can look at it first hand he should be the best to diagnose your buzz problem.
     
    West Coast Idea likes this.

  11. mrzmikey

    mrzmikey New Member!

    Age:
    47
    2
    Jan 11, 2018
    Texas
    Have you check to see if the neck is level. Will buzz with a back bow.
     

  12. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    Like I mentioned in the first post, I called him up and he basically said it could be my technique, that strats are naturally buzzy, and I should try not to let it bug me. I took all of this with a grain of salt.

    Like I said, the relief is just above 0.011 inches at the 7th fret.
     

  13. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    Hmm, but it's like this all the way up the neck.

    If my action wasn't already high I'd assume raising the saddles is the right solution. But I'm already at 2.5mm at the 17th.
     

  14. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
    If it's like that all the way up the neck you have a backbow.
     
    T Guitar Floyd likes this.

  15. Believer7713

    Believer7713 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Dec 27, 2016
    US
    First of all, Welcome to the forum. Secondly I see that you are in KC too...always nice to meet a local here.
    My question is what gauge strings are you playing. I know when I played .009-.042s I had a lot of buzzing on my low E string no matter what I did but when I changed it up to a custom set of .009-.046s the buzzing all but stopped. When I get really heavy on the strings they tend to buzz a little but nothing like they did with the .042s.
     

  16. Chris House

    Chris House Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    23
    Jan 12, 2018
    Kansas City
    Thanks!
    I'm using Ernie ball Super Slinky 9-42s. A higher gauge definitely makes sense. What brand do you use?
     

  17. Believer7713

    Believer7713 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Dec 27, 2016
    US
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

  18. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014
    LAS VEGAS , NV
    While a too light gauge of strings, coupled with heavy handed picking/strumming can certainly exaggerate string buzz, the tech's comments of "strats tend to be a bit buzzy" along with "strats are naturally buzzy, and I should try not to let it bug me." are a total crock of POO! I do however, agree that going to a .009 to .046 set may help a lot. That's what I use on all my main players. During periods that I gigged and played a lot more and my hands and fingers were much stronger, I typically used the next set up of thick & thins, at .010 to .052 and could bang them strings like a red headed step child, with nary a problem! Though not a huge fan of GHS strings, they're OKAY, but I don't want to start a debate about string brands, as folks like what they like. I will however suggest that once you decide on a brand, you stick with that same brand and set, to minimize setup and intonation issues.
    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     

  19. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Different string gauges will not eliminate the buzz. A thicker gauge will dance around more and just buzz more.

    You have a fret or setup issue if it is not your technique, and I do not think it is you cuz you did not have this problem before.

    Unless you are not measuring the relief correctly and have a backbow you have a problem that he gave you.

    Basic guitar setup is just the correct geometry to make it play easy and in tune, the action height is supposed to just be a preference, not raised up to fix a buzz that should not exist.

    If you play lightly, even a low action should not buzz on a fresh level and setup. It does not buzz because it is a "Strat", it buzzes is because of bad geometry. This is math, not voodoo.
     

  20. usul1978

    usul1978 Guitar bricolo Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 9, 2015
    France
    Would a shim helps in this situation, one way or another ? Or would it just move the problem ?

    I'm asking as I don't really have any shimming experience !