Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Stratocaster Fret Buzz

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Stratocaster Fret Buzz

    Never had this problem before...

    I've been getting some annoying fret buzz along the wound D/A/low E strings from about the 3rd or 4th fret & up the neck when attacking those particular strings a tad more aggressively than normal. It might be par for the course or a seasonal/humidity issue but here's some background info. Thanks in advance for any input/insights.

    Temporarily switched from 10s to 9s because I happened to have a set of them lying around. During the course of installing them, I confirmed the correct truss-rod setting at .010 with a capo@1st fret & low E string depressed@22nd fret;raised the saddles a bit & reset intonation. Everything seemed to work OK but a day later the strings at the aforementioned frets started to buzz slightly. After allowing the strings to stretch & settle-in, I repeated this entire procedure seemingly correcting the problem (again) only to have the same symptoms re-occur the following day.

    Does the trem claw screw settings & triangular pattern tremelo spring (3) tension have anything to do with this? Having used 10s exclusively prior to this set of 9s I've never really messed with the trem claw/springs & have no idea how to adjust trem spring tension relative to string tension, let alone understanding the concept. Being a two-point bridge, I just leave the bridge plate at 1/8" clearance & don't even use the tremolo arm.

    While simply slapping on another set of 10s & re-adjusting everything might assure some return to normalcy, my curiousity has been piqued in terms of how to make this current configuration work along with a better understanding of what caused this annoyance to begin with...narrower string gauge, lower string tension, trem claw/springs, seasonal humidity?

    If seasonal humidity has/had anything to do with it, then why didn't this ever happen with the 10s over the last 5-10 years? Mass & weight facor of the strings themselves?

  • #2
    I wouldn't blame anything down the bridge end for this. This is either nut or truss related. By chance you don't have a double locking setup do you? The fix would be rather easy that way. Look at how the neck is lying, you might have to loosen the truss a little bit. Your frets may be wearing down as well, but the evidence is stacking against the truss if you ask me.

    Comment


    • #3
      This ridiculous scenario finally came to a resolution...called an acquaintance who is a guitar technician & his recommendation was to simply replace the string set! It worked.

      Apparent moral(s) of the story...(1) certain string sets (even ones that apparently exhibit little wear or loss of tone) can create fret buzz later down the road; (2) if the guitar regularly has 10s (or higher) on it, don't dick around & slap a lighter gauge on (even if the strings are free) because you might end up wasting more time with allen wrenches & tuners than constructively playing the instrument.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, if "constructively playing the instrument" is the goal then stay with what works for a specific guitar. But...

        Yes, there will be a long and gradual adjustment period if you change anything on an instrument that has enjoyed consistency for a while. As mentioned, the truss rod is probably to blame, considering the symptoms you described. Did you take additional measurements of the relief as the problem worsened?

        I personally have never found 9's satisfactory on any "strat" type guitar. Mine is particularly "fat" sounding and I use a set of 10's but replace the 10 with an 11 and tune down a half step. Any time I put 9's on a strat the result is ALWAYS thin weak tone with chinky high E and B strings. And I have noticed the phenomenon you mention in my own experimentation. Strat's need 10's "." (period) or better to perform IMHE.

        There are exceptions. If , for example, you have a Warmoth strat with a custom 24 fret "Gibson" (24.5") scale and a bridge humbucker, then 9's might be OK.?. But on any semi normal strat you need a little more tension to shake the wood and produce enough acoustic tone to make any fret buzz worth while.

        JM2C

        Chuck
        "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

        "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

        "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
          Well, if "constructively playing the instrument" is the goal then stay with what works for a specific guitar. But...

          Did you take additional measurements of the relief as the problem worsened?
          Chuck
          There are times when my playing is not all that 'constructive'....but that's another story!

          Chuck, I didn't take any measurements as the problem worsened because it just seemed to happen one day/overnight. While attempting to dial this annoyance out via the truss rod, it appeared that variation(s) in truss rod tension did little if nothing to improve or worsen the symptoms which I have been correctly informed is called 'fret chatter' rather than what I initially had referred to as fret buzz. The funny thing was that it must have occurred gradually over time (about 6-8 weeks or so). The 9s initially seemed to physically work OK but apparently the neck relief (or something) must have shifted & for some reason could not be compensated for by a truss rod adjustment.

          Incidentally, the same thing occured on an acquaintance's Stratocaster over the weekend, except that a simple string change did not alleviate his
          problem(s) & he was replacing 10s to begin with. The fret chatter disappears only when the action (at the bridge saddles) is raised past the point of what most folks would consider good fingerboard playability...the string tension is now downright unpleasant & the truss rod seems to have no impact on correcting this issue.

          The guy at the shop said that 'fret chatter' (even with good fret condition) is a common Stratocaster symptom & that sometimes the problem can be corrected, sometimes not...the matter of fret chatter degree being pretty much an individual acceptance factor based on 'the nature of the beast'.
          Last edited by overdrive; 03-02-2010, 06:50 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Strats can be tricky to set up. And, more importantly, not every "strat" is for every strat player. Confused.?.

            Because of the camparitively small body, assembly line construction methods and high magnetic pull on the strings strats seem particularly prone to resonances. These accentuated frequencies and in the wrong circumstances can pronounce fret rattle in all it's forms, be it buzz or chatter. Playing style, the amp used and of couse string guage all make a difference. I've known guys who set up their strat to sound the way they want and just learn to live with whatever differs from their usual playing preferences. Strats can be picky guitars resonance wise. Maple finger boards seem to make the parameters more narrow too.

            As long as your neck is straight there IS a string guage/ truss relief combination that will work for most strat type guitars. Whether it suits your playing style is another problem that is sometimes only solved by selling the instrument or learning to live with something different than what your use to.

            Chuck
            Last edited by Chuck H; 03-02-2010, 08:56 AM.
            "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

            "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

            "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
              Strats can be tricky to set up. And, more importantly, not every "strat" is for every strat player...

              Because of the camparitively small body, assembly line construction methods and high magnetic pull on the strings strats seem particularly prone to resonances. These accentuated frequencies and in the wrong circumstances can pronounce fret rattle in all it's forms, be it buzz or chatter. Playing style, the amp used and of couse string guage all make a difference. Maple finger boards seem to make the parameters more narrow too...

              As long as your neck is straight there IS a string guage/ truss relief combination that will work for most strat type guitars....
              All very good points Chuck.

              As this fret buzz/rattle/chatter fix-it saga finally comes to a close, everything you previously mentioned entered into the equation/picture.

              While I'm usually not a willing sucker for punishment, I agreed (sort of) to tackle the other aforementioned Stratocaster, the one that belonged to a acquaintance...it was previously rattling with 10s & continued to do so even with the new set of 10s installed.

              Covering all of the bases with seemingly unsucessful results (i.e. replacing the strings, various truss rod relief & saddle adjustment settings, fret/nut inspection & an awareness of the potential effects of staggered pick-ups on a 9.5 radius fingerboard etc.) eventually led to another Stratocaster-exclusive culprit.

              In this particular situation it turned out to be the trem springs. Apparently there is a subtle 'balancing point/act' between the spring(s) tension & the tension of the guitar strings when tuned to pitch. And it goes beyond whimsically tightening or un-tightening the claw screws for certain desired effects (e.g floating or hardtail configurations) or as per 'ballpark' Fender specs That would be too easy!

              I am beginning to suspect that over time, the trem springs (in this case, those lighter black ones configured in a triangle pattern) maybe lose some of their inherent tension due to fatigue and/or continued use even though the bridge-to-body measurements may look OK if set-up for floating...just guessing.

              In any event, this damn Stratocaster was fret rattling badly regardless of whether the tremelo was floating or in a fixed hardtail position. Finally I undid everything & started from scratch with absolutely zero, loose, non-functioning settings on everything except the truss rod. This groundfloor & upwards approach apparently did the trick. The tremelo was left in a 'semi' floating position & out of curiosity I measured the body-to-bridge base gap...it was slightly less than the 1/8" Fender spec. The fret rattle was finally gone...unless of course, the strings were struck extremely & 'unaturally' hard.

              Relieved that all of this exasperation is finally over.

              Comment


              • #8
                overdrive - It sounds like you're doing pretty well! I've been doing setups for years, and while lots of techs like to think of setups as the "oil change" of guitars, that it is stupidly basic, it really isn't. Everything else I've learned about guitars has informed the way I approach set ups. Each one is unique, and as such each one is a challenge, or at least a small learning experience. Of course I've gotten way better and way faster over the years, but I think anyone who downplays the value of a good set up really is ignoring lots of nuances about the instrument.

                A few things to keep in mind:

                A high nut will tempt a person to set the saddles too low to achieve a given feel. Lowering the nut lets you raise the saddles a bit more for the same level of comfort. If you really want to get into doing setups, a good set of nut files is a must.

                Fender doesn't really bother doing serious fret crowning after leveling on their non CS models. Given that many of the guitars have fret widths clocking in at .103", that means lots of flat frets, especially on the maple boards where they can't do the "back and forth" sandpaper thing for a pseudo-crown. Given what Chuck H said very well (thanks Chuck) strats are instruments that tend to be tuned into all those clanky buzzy sounds and it is more exaggerated on a strat than on a different guitar.

                I've found fatigued trem springs to be the cause of many problems, though fret buzz hasn't been one of them yet. I can see how it could be a problem though, as you stack up all the strange resonances that Chuck mentioned.

                Another thing that doesn't help is the tendency of most modern manufacturers to err on the thin side when making necks. Thinner necks are more prone to strange sounds, thick necks sound wonderful. If you go into a music store looking for a thick neck guitar to take home, there MIGHT be a couple signature models or an oddball Custom Shop thing, but chances are they'll all be pretty thin. Just sayin', is all.......

                Comment


                • #9
                  Appreciate the insights FK. I'm beginning to suspect that the nut grooves were the source of my particular issue/problem, especially if reverting back to a set of 10s alleviated the fret rattle problem. Ironically, doesn't Fender generally ship with 9s on their current American-made Stratocasters? Like what's their point? To create a potentially buzzy/rattle-bound guitar with wussy fingerboard tension specifically designed for tone-deaf weenies? If such is the case, then the guitars should be properly set-up for 9s at the factory with all of Chuck's & your insights taken into serious consideration. Perhaps there are too many ROI anal-retentive MBA types overseeing the manufacturing/QA protocols at Corona with the primary objective of simply getting them out the door.

                  Speaking of anal-retentive & the other Stratocaster...the guy picked it up earlier today & was pleased with both the playability & the fact that the fret rattle was now eliminated. After playing it for awhile, he proceeded to pull out a 6" machinist's rule to check the action at the 17th despite my telling him that at this point, certain numbers don't mean jack (to me) anymore. The measurements came to 4/64" (E to D) 5/64" (A) & 6/64" (E) courtesy of those questionable (& possibly fading) tremelo springs + a couple of beers & 3-4 smoke breaks on my part during the tweaking ordeal.

                  In retrospect, there will probably always be some who either advise using distortion to cover up Stratocaster fret rattle or the countless guitar salesmen who try to reassure their potential Strat customers that the apparent fret rattle is simply a natural, 'trademark' characteristic of the instrument. B***S*** The guitar should be capable of being played somewhat 'aggressively clean' to begin with...with ProCo Rats, SD-1s et al as simply additional tonal options. Of course proficient RH technique also enters into the equation as a clumsy 'three-fingered blacksmith' attack usually won't work well with any kind of instrument...except for maybe those committed to grunge rock benchmarks.
                  Last edited by overdrive; 03-04-2010, 10:50 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fender has set up with 9s for a while. It would have started with the debut of the American Standard line in the 80s, when shred guitar was the thing. Also, pre-SRV craze so 9s were probably outselling 10s.

                    I think I know the nut issue you're talking about. Fender nuts don't like having extra width or else they rattle around, so if they've been widened and you go down a gauge you sometimes get that buzz. There is a fix, a little super-thin super glue and a recut and you're fine, but it is a slight nuisance.

                    My take on the whole "what gauge is best" thing is pick a gauge that goes with your playing style. If you play hard, you need heavy strings, if you play light you need light strings. Every gauge at a given tension has sort of a magic amount of playing where it opens up... if you play 9s hard, they sound terrible. If you play them with a light touch, they have a beautiful presence and wonderful dynamics. You'll never get that sound out of a heavy set. Conversely, if you pick up a jazz box with 12s or 13s and play softly it'll sound dead. You really need to dig into those instruments. Since most players these days have a bit of a texas blues streak in them, 10s and 11s usually sound the best.

                    As to why Fender doesn't just set it up right from the factory.... well, set ups take time. If a local tech charges $60 for a complete setup, imagine that being added onto the dealer price of every guitar. Plus, in order to do a good set up you need to have a strong familiarity with the instrument, like I said it isn't just the "oil change" of guitar repair, it does take a strong understanding of how guitars work. They wouldn't be able to round up that many guitar techs willing to work for those wages and conditions. As it is they probably can train people off the street. They set it up based on basic spec sheets (which is what those sheets are meant for, not for professional techs to use in their own shops)... Often times in these factories few of the workers will be actual musicians, while you'll probably never find a working tech that isn't also a player. But, also as you said, a more rigorous set up process in factory would hold things up, end up sending things back to other departments for fixes, etc.... all stuff the managers probably don't want to deal with. Been there, done that. The phrase "good enough" gets used a lot in production. But, if you are that rigorous you end up with a $2000 guitar pretty quick.

                    I feel your pain! I don't like clients measuring or looking at the action either, I want them to play it and THEN let me know. There are things you can do to make it feel more comfortable without actually lowering the action, and that is what I try to do. Get the nut height correct, match the radius of the saddles to the fingerboard so they aren't all over, don't put the trebles way higher than the basses, all those things will make it easier to play but not necessarily by putting the strings closer to the fingerboard at a given fret. I figure that is what a client is bringing me the instrument for, if they are measuring it, why didn't they just do it themselves? Oh well, I prefer doing work for players than for gear heads for many reasons, that is just one of them.

                    Comment

                    antalya escort
                    kartal escort
                    sex vidio
                    altyaz?l? porno
                    antalya escort
                    Working...
                    X