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  • My HM fender- poorly.

    Chaps,

    My fender partscaster is made from a fine squier? body + japan jazzmaster neck, squier hardware + decent budget £30 p/ups. Looks gorgeous, & sounds v. good.

    But, the 3 wound low strings always badly 'constrained' by the frets, the vibrations hampered so they often buzz & die/ never ring. Low E worst. This makes it -play- like a poor squier, when being a japanese deep-lacquered fender neck it should play really well. (9's or 10's, Slinkys: decent enough, my go-to strings).

    I need to find out the cause, & if poss sort it out. As it is, Ive set it up -afaict, & from doing so many times over many yrs- well, fine tuning the gap @ 12th & string height above, to minimise these niggles. But I'm no expert. Maybe occasional necks need extra attn, or a different set up I don't know.

    What I did notice buying the neck 5 yrs ago (s/h ebay), different to any gtr Ive played, is very low frets giving it a super silky-smooth feel, opposite to say a cr*p squier with huge frets you actually change the pitch by pressing harder- urgh. Not fret wear having done this, bc surface totally even all over each (IE frets in vgc).

    So all signs are its a belter (certainly looks it), & as japan fender necks reknown to be some of the best (concurring with a fab reissue tele I had, with similar deep golden hue) I seeked out another for this partscaster. Competant seller stating 'one of his favourites' selling a few necks at the time.

    Its an odd one. sometimes I play it & love it (usually tinkling around higher register/ higher strings) with its buttery feel. Other times I hate it, convinced its a lemon, the 3 wound strings playing worse than any squier.

    Any ideas? thx SC


  • #2
    Adjust the rod in the neck.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKtlsps4SqY
    Who does not know and knows that he does not know - teach him Confucius)
    Who knows and does not know that he knows - wake him Confucius)

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    • #3
      Twisted neck? Maybe that’s the guitar equivalent of immediately suspecting a bad OT in response to every amp niggle.
      I wonder if a tweak or 2 in the neck pocket may help, or a shim etc.
      But if the neck aint straight, it’s just chasing a ghost.
      Dunno how to check for a twisted neck, sorry; I’d just get a luthier to appraise and advise.
      My band:- http://www.youtube.com/user/RedwingBand

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      • #4
        Is the problem with the lower strings only for open strings (or fretting up near the nut), or does it happen when you fret towards the body as well? You might have a high fret that needs to be filed down. If so the problem will go away when you fret above that high fret. You can use a fret rocker to check for high frets. I could also be that your action is just too low for those strings (they do need to have room to vibrate). You can also just raise the action for those three strings by raising the saddles on the bridge.

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        • #5
          First thing I'd do is checking relief. I use a long straight edge that covers the whole neck, but this method also works:

          - Capo down strings at first fret. Look for the gap between each string and the top of frets 7-9 when pressing down at last fret. I want a gap (relief) of 0.008" to 0.010". A short piece of a high e-string makes a good feeler gauge.

          - If there's no gap (zero relief), the neck is likely to have a back bow. Loosen truss rod by a quarter turn and check again.

          - Relief should be about the same for each string. If not the neck might be twisted - severe problem.

          (Neck relief changes with temperature, humidity, string gauge and different tunings.)


          Second step: Adjust string action at the bridge. With a strat I typically go for around 2mm (0.08") between top of fret #17 and bottom of strings. Bass strings can lie a bit higher. Preferred action depends on player and style.

          Another issue could be a tongue hump aka raised neck tongue.
          Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-18-2020, 05:14 PM.
          - Own Opinions Only -

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pdf64 View Post
            Twisted neck? Maybe that’s the guitar equivalent of immediately suspecting a bad OT in response to every amp niggle.
            I wonder if a tweak or 2 in the neck pocket may help, or a shim etc.
            But if the neck aint straight, it’s just chasing a ghost.
            Dunno how to check for a twisted neck, sorry; I’d just get a luthier to appraise and advise.
            This very thing occured to me pdf at almost same time you replied, out walking.. twisted neck?! omg. I hope not. I had thought long ago twisted necks would be 'obvious' IE you could clearly see a bend, but after your reply perhpas such horrors aren't actually visible to the eye even looking down neck.

            Yes of course ideally I send to luthier.. but I don't have funds to, like maybe the majority here would, hence it being a partscaster costing under £300 from 4 donor gtrs.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by glebert View Post
              Is the problem with the lower strings only for open strings (or fretting up near the nut), or does it happen when you fret towards the body as well? You might have a high fret that needs to be filed down. If so the problem will go away when you fret above that high fret. You can use a fret rocker to check for high frets. I could also be that your action is just too low for those strings (they do need to have room to vibrate). You can also just raise the action for those three strings by raising the saddles on the bridge.
              Its buzzy uniformly over all the wound strings, pretty much all over the neck so I'm sure its not a high fret or even a few like so. Yes I have triied all the saddle H variations, settling on nothing daftly low but not 'crap cheapo gtr' high either. Their H is a pretty good medium in everyone's book Id say. I also have a smidge of a gap of neck relief where its meant to be too.

              So the same is set up on my £80 tele copy really, but nothing of any similarity in the wounds: they generally don't buzz & ring fairly well (for a japan mfr tele copy as I think it likely is) same slinky 9's or 10's, same smidge of concave neck relief in the right spot.

              the only difference I can see & tell, is all the frets are super-smooth-low, like Ive rarely known on any strat. But if all frets good relative to each other.. can I discount this unusual lowness lets call it, as any concern I wonder? is the fretboard actually coming into play when it just inherrantly shouldn't (I assume it shouldn't)-?

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              • #8
                Its buzzy uniformly over all the wound strings, pretty much all over the neck so I'm sure its not a high fret or even a few like so. Yes I have triied all the saddle H variations, settling on nothing daftly low but not 'crap cheapo gtr' high either. Their H is a pretty good medium in everyone's book Id say. I also have a smidge of a gap of neck relief where its meant to be too.
                What bass string action do you measure at fret #17? If it buzzes at all frets but last one, your action is too low.

                is the fretboard actually coming into play when it just inherrantly shouldn't
                No, it's only relative fret height which influences buzzing.
                Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-18-2020, 12:21 AM.
                - Own Opinions Only -

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                • #9
                  http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/repair/electric-guitar/
                  Electric Guitar Repair Topics
                  https://guitargearfinder.com/guides/guitar-truss-rods/
                  Ultimate Guide to Guitar Truss Rods: Adjustment, Tools, Covers, Intonation
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ekS4KBMpVY
                  How To | Micro-Tilt Adjustment & How it Works | Fender
                  https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/212774786-How-do-I-set-up-my-Stratocaster-guitar-properly-
                  How do I set up my Stratocaster® guitar properly?
                  https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Time_for_a_Neck_Adjustment
                  Time for a Neck Adjustment
                  Who does not know and knows that he does not know - teach him Confucius)
                  Who knows and does not know that he knows - wake him Confucius)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post

                    What bass string action do you measure at fret #17? If it buzzes at all frets but last one, your action is too low.



                    No, it's only relative fret height which influences buzzing.
                    Ah good I can rule out any fretboard interacting then.

                    I measure 1/16" bass string H @ 17th fret.. that is, from fret to the bottom of the string. A tiny mite more perhaps, but call it 1/16".

                    Thanks SC

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                    • #11
                      I measure 1/16" bass string H @ 17th fret.. that is, from fret to the bottom of the string.
                      For me a bass string action of 1.6mm would be too low. I adjust action by ear and with strats the buzzing typically stops at around 2mm or slightly above for bass strings.
                      FWIW, Dan Erlewine measured 2mm action at one of Eric Johnson's strats.
                      Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-18-2020, 10:14 PM.
                      - Own Opinions Only -

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post

                        For me a bass string action of 1.6mm would be too low. I adjust action by ear and with strats the buzzing typically stops at around 2mm or slightly above for bass strings.
                        FWIW, Dan Erlewine measured 2mm action at one of Eric Johnson's strats.
                        Ok understood- isn't it though in conjunction with the neck relief.. or is your suggestion to do this 1st, then look at the relief next.

                        thx (btw dont know who both chaps are I am sorry!)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sea Chief View Post
                          - isn't it though in conjunction with the neck relief.. or is your suggestion to do this 1st, then look at the relief next.
                          Always take care of relief first. Too much relief forces too high no-buzz action. But I thought you already checked relief?


                          don't know who both chaps are I am sorry!
                          Try Google if you care.
                          Just so much:
                          Dan Erlewine is a highly respected US american guitar repair expert and luthier.
                          Eric Johnson is a highly respected and demanding US american player.



                          Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-18-2020, 11:43 PM.
                          - Own Opinions Only -

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post

                            Always take care of relief first. Too much relief forces too high no-buzz action. But I thought you already checked relief?




                            Try Google if you care.
                            Just so much:
                            Dan Erlewine is a highly respected US american guitar repair expert and luthier.
                            Eric Johnson is a highly respected and demanding US american player.


                            Ah ok will look at relief 1st. Yes I always put a fraction of bow in, but whether its still too straight -for this particular neck- I don't know. Maybe some necks just like a bit more, some can handle an almost dead-flat relief, even two the same/ off the same prod line? I don't know, I'm only guessing maybe so (in which case there's no specific relief figure a neck should have).

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                            • #15
                              Helmholtz I have a business card + 2x magazine pages.. so measuring (hard to do as its so small) Id say 1mm of neck relief, @ 7th fret.

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