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Fret buzz with high action

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fghtffyrdmns, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. fghtffyrdmns


    Oct 22, 2012
    Hey all,

    I'm fairly new to the setup game, but I just bought a new Mustang bass, and the action is quite high. I lowered the saddles a bit, but anytime it get even close to the action I've currently got on my Jazz bass (still a bit high, tbh) I get buzz like mad from the 8th fret up.

    Now, I'm assuming I need to make a truss rod adjustment here (I would think tightening it), but I want to double check before making any changes as I've always been a bit gun-shy with truss rod adjustments. Any help would be amazing.

    EDIT: I should note, the buzz appears to stop around the 15th fret.
  2. fghtffyrdmns


    Oct 22, 2012
    Okay, so I'm taking some measurements now. Based on what Fender tells me, for 9.5" radius necks, if I'm capoing the first fret and holding down the last on my E, I should be at about 0.014" (0.32mm) at the 8th fret. I'm currently at .020 (0.5mm), after tightening the truss rod about 2 quarter turns over the past couple days. I've noticed the range the of the buzz is narrowing a bit, now only getting really bad around the 11th fret (though still somewhat present at 8) and disappearing around 15 still.

    How much time should I be giving this in between adjustments? The last thing I want to do is overtighten and screw up my neck!
  3. Look at the neck, is there a back bow or a bow? With the strings tensioned. Back bow loosen rod, bow tighten. Youll get heaps of buzz if your rod is too tight causing a back bow! Should not need not wait. Check youtube. Heaps of demos there. Also search tb. There are good advice threads.
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    • There is no reason to wait between adjustments.
    • Some folks like to bend the neck so that the truss rod doesn't have to do the bending, only hold the adjustment.
    • If the nut squeaks, stop turning it.
    If you don't know what over tightening a nut feels like take the guitar to a pro to have it adjusted.
    rockinrayduke and JLS like this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Opinions vary on waiting between adjustments. I tend to wait between them if the adjustments are pretty extreme. But be prepared for your neck to "settle" a little bit, especially if you are making large adjustments. You may think you have ever it fixed and go to bed. The next day it has settled a little back toward where you started from. So you may have ever to adjust it a little a few days in a row to get it to stay put.
  6. fghtffyrdmns


    Oct 22, 2012
    Thanks for the input, everyone! I'll keep at it over the next few days and see what happens. It's definitely getting flatter (around 0.016 last I checked) but the buzz remains the same right now.
  7. fghtffyrdmns


    Oct 22, 2012
    Alright, I'm baffled now. I've got the neck relief exactly where Fender says it should be (0.012), and my action is currently around 1/8" at the 12th fret, and it's STILL buzzing everywhere between the 8th and 15th frets. What am I doing wrong??
  8. rockinrayduke

    rockinrayduke Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    I'm with the many luthiers here that agree that there's no need to wait between adjustments. Put the neck where you want it be and go on from there.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You need to have the frets leveled. If the relief is set about right, and you have buzzing through a zone and stopping at one particular fret, that means that you have a high fret or a high spot on the neck. From what you are describing, the 15th fret itself is probably the culprit. The fret itself may have lifted up slightly, or a slight bump may have developed in the fingerboard in that zone. Either way, checking the seating of that fret, followed by a basic fret leveling, will fix it.

    This really has nothing to do with the relief setting. You've already kind of proven that.
    wisconsindead and Lownote38 like this.
  10. Diegos79


    Mar 5, 2018
    First of all forgive me for my English. I have the same problem in a warwick rockbass corvette $$ I have fret Buzz between frets 8 and 15 of the fourth string. the only way that is not heard is raising the height of the string ... leaving a very high action. I want to clarify that the frets are already level
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Well, if you are getting a buzz between frets 8 and 15, that means that the frets aren't level. The buzz is caused by a high spot or high fret, probably right at the 15th.
    EpicSoundtracks likes this.
  12. I’d tend to agree with Bruce but, what’s the relief? Is the neck back bowed?
  13. Diegos79


    Mar 5, 2018
    unfortunately I can not leave the neck straight to level the frets. always tends to have a little curvature ... the sector of the neck pocket is always higher ...

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