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Symmetry2170

Fret buzz problems and sustain

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hey guys, just a quick question.

 

I'm playing right now noticed some fret buzz on my A string on my Ibanez S series prestige 2170. It seems to buzz when the note starts to naturally fade out and seems "worse" i guess you could say, on the upper frets between 13 and 22. Maybe it's nothing and I'm just hyper sensitive to my guitar lately.

 

My question is this: Is it normal to have some fret buzz on the upper frets? Perhaps because the frets are closer together?

 

and, how do I get rid of the buzz anywhere on the neck completely? I know the strings may be too low, but none of the strings do this.

 

 

 

And as a second note, how can you tell when a guitar has good sustain? I've been hearing a ton of negative comments about my guitar model in particular having good sustain, and maybe my ear is just that bad, but I can't tell what's good and what's bad sustain. and i think all these negative reviews on the guitar that i own has got me worrying about the one i own and maybe perceiving negativity about it when there is none.

 

Bear in mind, too, that I'm playing unplugged with both of these questions. (waiting on my new head to arrive)

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Fret buzz will reduce your sustain, because it dampens the string's vibration. Having said that, people will adjust their guitars with varying degrees of buzz based on their own personal tastes. Also, the harder you play, the more likely your strings will buzz against the frets. All of my guitars have fret buzz unless I pick very lightly. I like them that way. Yes, it does hurt my sustain and tone a bit, but it's a trade off I'm willing to make for lower action.

 

I would expect higher frets to buzz less, because the string angle to the bridge increases as you go up the neck typically, allowing a bit more clearance for the next fret up the neck. If you have doubts, have a tech look at it. It may just need a minor adjustment. Many guitars do when new, even expensive ones. If the higher frets are buzzing more than the lower with everything else being the same (how hard you pick, etc), it probably needs a setup. Might have a couple of frets up high that need dressing down a bit, might need a neck adjustment, etc. Hard to say without looking at it. Don't seat it though, it's generally not a big deal and can be taken care of easily by a decent tech.

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I may take it in to a tech this week, possibly tomorrow. I know that with the trem on my guitar, and any guitar for that matter, it does reduce sustain. I think I'm a lot like you when it comes to what you mentioned about trading off a little bit of buzz for a lower action.

 

I also noticed tonight that when I would use my tremolo arm a few times, it would distort the sounds of a regular chord. But, then I used the tremolo arm again and it seemed to correct this distortion that I was hearing reverberate off of my strings. I think I'm just not as used to a tremolo system as some other people. Hopefully I'll get the hang of it. I'd like to learn how to intonate it properly and string it better. The last time I had it restrung it was done by a tech and then I did it myself and I could tell there was a difference somewhere.

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Can anyone else lend some advice?

 

Maybe how to get rid of this problem? I played one of the newer Ibanez SV series' today and it's action and intonation was amazing. I guess just have the tech at my local store do it for me again? It's free because I bought the guitar there and you get free maintence on anything you purchase from the store. That includes restringing, set ups, installs on pick ups, anything. Pretty cool feature. I've been shopping there for 9 years, so i know the ins and outs. haha.

 

but, back on topic, I would like to know how to set it up and everything myself. I'd feel more comfortable that way knowing what exactly was done to my guitar and by who. preferably, me, but if i can't do it correctly, i want someone who can.

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There are lots of setup guides on the net; try this one for trem-equipped guitars:

 

http://www.jemsite.com/tech/

 

It's fantastic and has advice on neck relief, bridge height, trem setup, pickup height etc etc...

 

First thing you should do if check your neck relief. The neck should be damn near straight; if the neck bends 'backwards' you need to loosen the truss rod to straighten it back out. If it bends 'forwards' i.e. toward the bridge, you need to tighten the truss rod a little (never adjust the truss rod more than 1/4 of a turn at a time - it is very sensitive and takes a little while to rebalance itself).

 

Once your neck is straight (check by fretting the low E at the first and last frets, and observing the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 7th fret. There should be a TINY gap (0.5 - 2mm)), move on to bridge height and individual saddle adjustment. It's all their on the site I linked.

 

Oh, and please have a go at making these adjustments yourself. It is satisfying and fun to maintain your own instrument and will make you feel more manly.

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Ah, okay. thanks guys.

 

Seems like a lot of information to take in at once, but we'll take it in steps and see how it goes. But, you're right AlexMC, It is satisfying. Like I said earlier in this thread, I'm still somewhat new to tremolo systems, especially the Ibanez ZR.

 

 

I had no idea what neck relief is. Do necks tend to become "bent" or "bowed" naturally?

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I had no idea what neck relief is. Do necks tend to become "bent" or "bowed" naturally?

 

Yes, because there is a huge force applied by the strings. Unsupported a neck would tend to bow up. The truss rod is there to counteract this wood movement, and can be adjusted accordingly to provide different amounts of bow. The bow present in the neck is commonly referred to as relief.

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You need to adjust the tension in the truss rod to counterbalance the tension in the strings. A properly balanced neck will be as straight as a die. You should really get this sorted before you proceed with any other adjustments, as a bowed neck will screw up your other measurements.

 

Don't expect to ever see a neck shaped like a banana - it is much more subtle than that. But a neck only 3-4 degrees off straight will have massive action problems.

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Alex MC I'm sorry to dissagree, A neck should not be straight as an arrow, it should have a specific amount of relief for several reasons. You get maximum tone, proper action, (and for seasoned guitarists) the vibrations that are created on the left side of the strings (nut to freted note side of the string) create rich harmonics that would be dampend out by the frets.

 

Playing wise with the neck dead on you have to adjust the strings higher and the notes tend to be harder to bend because of increased friction of multiple frets rubbing the strings on bends.

As a general rule you should match the highest string in a properly balanced set of strings (Custom sets may vary this) If your E string is .009 relief is best at .009, .011, at .011 etc. After this, you must tweak it in to compensate for the idiocyncracies of the particular guitar itself.

Depending on the guitar and fret wear etc if you go too low you loose dynamics and and too high you loose playability.

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