Topic: Help w guitar issues

Hi all!!!!

So here's the story, I took my guitar in to the shop back in Juneto have the action lowered. I didn't know if it needed it but if it made playing easier I'm was all for it. So, they told me it was pretty low already, but they would file the nut to make adjustments. Since then I've read conflicting stories about lower at the nut. I get her home and notice a little buzz on the low E, no big deal really. I get to learning new stuff in the next month or so that moves me up the neck. Now there is lots of buzzing on 2 or 3 strings. I change to a heavier gauge string having read that the increased tension could put some relief in the neck and eliminate buzzing. Bad idea, I didn't like the thicker strings and buzzing was still there. I take it back in Aug and have them look at it again. They say frets aren't level. he showed me and sure enough they weren't. Level frets, new bridge to raise action and get rid of buzzing, and restring. Ok, it's only been two weeks and it feels like a totally different guitar. For the worse I mean. Sounds tinny, same strings I've always used though. I have to push alot harder and really close to the fret so I get a clean sound. I used to not have to push hard at all and anywhere in the fret was fine. So now my progress with barre chords has fallen way back because I have to push harder now to fret a chord. Oh, forgot, it's an Ibanez PF4, just a standard acoustic nothing special.

I'm thinking about taking it to someone else to look at.
Any other suggestions?

Thanks for the help!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Help w guitar issues

I would take it too someone else,sounds like they goofed it up .                dino

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

Re: Help w guitar issues

I've had several guitars and Mandolins professionally set up. The best set ups involved sitting down with the repair tech and playing some to give him an idea of my playing about the sound desired, action desired, and the specifications of the instrument...  example on a guitar set up for a lot of slide playing or some really aggresive strumming, might want a higher action and maybe heavier gauge strings. For some clean and smooth easy rythym or fingerstyle might want different gauge strings and/or a lower action...  It costs more but is really worth it! Also what works for me might not be the best for you...a good repair/set-up tech can work with you to set-up the instrument so that you'll get the most benefit...

Middleaged Redneck sorta guy who refuses to grow up...passion for music, especially Southern Rock but like bout everything cept Gangsta/Hip Hop. Collect guitars, mandolins, and love to ride Harleys.

Re: Help w guitar issues

The first set up your nut was cut to deep that's why you got the fret buzz after restringing. If they would have crowned the frets after the leveling you would not need the new bridge. They could have also shimmed the nut to bring up your action since they cut it to deep. When you set up an acoustic you select the gauge of strings you play and always stick to that gauge because your guitar is set up to play with them. (adujusted for that gauge).

Bootleggr Guitars.

Re: Help w guitar issues

You say You didn,t know" if it needed it"    ...why fix something if it wasn,t broken .

Re: Help w guitar issues

Well, it looks like this thread is still going, the first I've been here.  I'll throw in another two cents worth. 

I'd guess the nut filing they did at first was okay.  That's always a compromise between buzz and too-high on the first few frets.  When you began to play up the neck and get buzzing, PROBABLY it had nothing to do with the nut.  It's POSSIBLE to get buzzing because of small vibration contacting frets between the one you're fretting and the nut. But their diagnosis of uneven frets at fault is ten times more likely. 

Seems like MAYBE they got the action too high at the saddle (bridge).  You check that first by measuring the heights of the strings above the 12th fret.  Should be less than one-eighth inch on the bass E or 6th, and 3/32 inch on the treble strings.  They should not have got this wrong, and don't be surprised if you find the action not overly high by that measure.  The frets have been leveled now, so you can probably get by with filing or sanding off the bottom of the saddle to get the action lower.  I've seen lots under 3/32 on the bass and about 1/16 on the treble, but you have to work down a little at a time, checking on buzz as you go.  If you go too far, it means another new saddle or a shim is required.

One other thought.  If they took A LOT off the frets, the first or first few in particular, and did  not re-check the nut, it's possible the slots in the nut are again not deep enough. But as a practical matter that will affect only the first frets.  If the nut were so high as to cause high action up the neck, I would be painfully at the first fret. Your set-up person should also check the relief at the outset, probably did.

Good luck.

7 (edited by zguitar 2009-10-08 03:24:02)

Re: Help w guitar issues

I thought that if the action was high then lowering it would only help.

So I measured and all the strings are exactly 1/8 at the 12th fret.

I think it could stand to be lowered, but I'll stick with it for now. When I get a new guitar then I'll take them both in. I found a local guy that works by appointment only and sits down with you and your guitar to make adjustments. Hopefully that will solve everything.

Thanks all!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Help w guitar issues

Sticking with it "for now" is your business, but 1/8 inch all strings IS too high.  If your frets have been properly leveled, you should be able to set the low E at 3/32 inch and the high e close to 1/16 inch, without excessive buzzing.  Those are small dimension differences but large differences in how hard it plays.  (I've done a LOT of these.)

Re: Help w guitar issues

What about adjusting the truss rod tension?

"Every shortcut is a toll road"

Re: Help w guitar issues

Thanks Herb!!!!

I'll take it in before the year is up. All frets have been leveled, so I'm sure the action can be lowered like you said.

I won't touch the truss rod. Besides, the next is straight.

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Help w guitar issues

The truss rod tension is only adjusted to control relief, not to affect action height.  The "relief" is a small amount of bow of the neck under string tension, between the nut and the portion of the neck that's too thick to flex -- around the 12th fret.  It's called "relief" becausse it allows a small amount of room for the strings -- especially those big bass strings -- to vibrate without touching the frets.

If you have a 12-inch straight edge, you can lay it on the neck just off the nut so it's touching the first fret. The other end of the 12-inch straight edge (a good quality ruler, perhaps) will be around the 12th fret on the most common size steel-string guitar neck. With the straight edge touching the 1st fret and the 12th, check the space below the straight edge, above the 5th fret. 

If the 1st and 5th and 12th frets all touch the straight edge, that's zero relief. Most finger pickers and others who don't pluck the strings hard can be happy with zero or very little relief.  If there's one thirty-secondth inch (half a sixteenth) between the 5th fret and the straight edge, that's too much -- probably way too much.  Tightening the truss rod reduces the relief, but is a dangerous adjustment to play around with.  The truss rod can be broken or the wood might be damaged. The truss rod is only turned a small fraction of a turn at a time and then the instrument played for a while to let it stabilize before another measurement.  It will always be recommended to have that done by a "pro."

If you don't have that high quality 12-inch straight edge (like a machinist's rule), you can still check the relief.  In that case, you fret the same string at the 1st fret and the 12th fret, and again check the clearance between the 5th fret and the string.  You're using the tensioned string as a straight edge, and it's always correct.  If you have a capot, you can put that on the 1st fret, fret the string at the 12th fret, and have a hand free to try to gage the relief. That's a little harder to do when you're using the string for a straight edge, because the string may flex as you try to measure.

Re: Help w guitar issues

Howdy Zguitar, and Welcome Aboard Chordie Herb!

  Herb really seems to know this stuff, and I have nothing to add to his comments of any real value as it is all well covered!

  That's really cool, and be assured that your continued contributions to these forums will be appreciated.

Thank You for posting your question Z as it is a subject that many have rattling back in the corners.

Thank You Herb for a very informative and accurate answer.

Take Care;

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Help w guitar issues

Good pull Herb, I rarely do any work on acoustics I don't have enough paitents. That's why I build and restore electrics. once again good pull.