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> How Much String Buzzing Is Acceptable?
Fran
post Mar 29 2008, 01:38 AM
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I believe string buzzing is always unwanted and should be avoided, but yet I was surprised after trying a few guitars at my local music shop, when I found out that many of them had some buzzing when pressing certain frets.

I asked the salesman there, and he told me that as long as the buzzing isn't heard through the amp it's not a sign of a bad guitar, as long as the action is low.

I even found that a Gibson les Paul Standard, worth 2100 euro = 3000 $, also had a little bit of buzzing on certain frets. You could only notice it when playing "unplugged", not through the amp, but that made me wonder too. Such an expensive guitar, did it too! blink.gif And I guess that Gibsons are properly set from factory. At least they should, with that price tag.

So I ask you guys: how much buzzing is acceptable (if any!), is it normal for low action guitars to buzz a little bit? Doesn't it substract from the overall tone of the guitar? (Less sustain, etc.)

I'm no expert on setting guitars but I know I like clean sounding guitars through the whole neck, no buzzing at all if possible, with a low action too. Is that impossible to achieve? Is a tiny amount of buzzing always present?





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ZakkWylde
post Mar 29 2008, 01:41 AM
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Buzzing on the low E is acceptable, on every other string it should not buzz at all.


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MickeM
post Mar 29 2008, 01:47 AM
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I can't judge how much buzzing should be accepted in general but as far as I'm concerned I want none what so ever.

I can understand that there could be buzzing when setting a very very low action, but I don't buy that either. I'd say that's too low then - at least for me it is. Personaly I want a straight line from the nut down to the bridge, a well set action and the necks' trussrod setup so it's harmonizing that "straight line" so the distance between fret and string all over the neck is enough to aviod buzzing.


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Fran
post Mar 29 2008, 01:51 AM
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I see, ok.

remember that i'm not referring to the open strings, but also when you fret them in each fret.

None of the guitars had buzzing with the open strings (that would be unacceptable for sure), but many of them had a bit of buzzing in the 12th fret or 15th on certain strings... and they were quite expensive guitars, that got me thinking...


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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 29 2008, 02:03 AM
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Few weeks back my neck got out of "tune" and I had buzzing on the first fret on thickest strings..When I played on that fret I had a little dead notes..You could hear the note but it was not powerful and sounding right as others..It was really bad..I adjusted neck and now its cool...Too much buzzing can kill tone..Some is acceptable of course..Just don't sacrifice your tone for action smile.gif

p.s. it was on my bass smile.gif

This post has been edited by Bogdan: Mar 29 2008, 02:26 AM


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skennington
post Mar 29 2008, 02:24 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan @ Mar 28 2008, 09:03 PM) *
Few weeks back my neck got out of "tune" and I had buzzing on the first fret on thickest strings..When I played on that fret I had a little dead notes..You could hear the note but it was not powerful and sounding right as others..It was really bad..I adjusted neck and now its cool...Too much buzzing can kill tone..Some is acceptable of course..


I'd like to add aquestion here as well if it's ok Fran. Does the size of the fret's also make a difference? My Jackson's have jumbo's and do have a little buzzing on the E and A strings. I've set the action to my liking but don't want to mess with the TR. I would think that if even set up at the factory, the vibration and being thrown around like the transportation companies handle freight, it would effect the set up.


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Fran
post Mar 29 2008, 02:31 AM
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It sure is Ok Skennington smile.gif

The more info, and doubts solved, the better! wink.gif


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fused
post Mar 29 2008, 04:44 AM
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QUOTE (skennington @ Mar 28 2008, 09:24 PM) *
I'd like to add aquestion here as well if it's ok Fran. Does the size of the fret's also make a difference? My Jackson's have jumbo's and do have a little buzzing on the E and A strings. I've set the action to my liking but don't want to mess with the TR. I would think that if even set up at the factory, the vibration and being thrown around like the transportation companies handle freight, it would effect the set up.


Fret size doesn't matter. I always get the highest and widest jumbos when I get refrets. And I do that about once every 10 or so years as I play the heck out of them. But if the frets are level and the neck is straight, of course adding enough relief with the truss rod and having the action adequately high enough to give the strings room enough to breath...so go speak, you should have minimum buzzing.

I usually run my action at about 4/64ths at the 12th fret, a little relief in the neck and I use a very light touch technic as well as picking lightly and there's very minimal, if any, buzzing. Now if you're going to do windmills and really hammer the strings, yeah, they can only behave so much before they can no longer clear the frets and then will buzz.

How high of an action is good enough to clear the buzzing for you? Depends on many variables mostly surrounding your playing style and technic.
String gauge also matters. But fret size, if the guitar is setup correctly, should not be a problem

What I would highly recommend is to get what they call a "Pro setup". A guitar luthier would adjust and clean up any issues such as fret leveling, cutting the nut and bridge saddles to the correct heights, set your action, relief of truss and all.... Then you can just maintain it with seasonal changes etc. from that point forward...until you wear it out again. I have a guitar in for a refret as we speak so I know this all too well. Yup, the most jumbo frets are going on it.

I sure hope this helps.







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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Mar 29 2008, 08:27 AM
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QUOTE (fused @ Mar 29 2008, 04:44 AM) *
What I would highly recommend is to get what they call a "Pro setup". A guitar luthier would adjust and clean up any issues such as fret leveling, cutting the nut and bridge saddles to the correct heights, set your action, relief of truss and all.... Then you can just maintain it with seasonal changes etc. from that point forward...until you wear it out again. I have a guitar in for a refret as we speak so I know this all too well. Yup, the most jumbo frets are going on it.


Absolutely agreed.
If you want the best playability - low action, good sustain with "near-zero" buzzing - a luthier is often required.
I found a lot of expensive guitars in music stores that came from the factory with a bad set-up. The best thing would be to have a cheap guitar to experiment with. So, you can really understand how bridges, truss-rods, etc. work.
On the other side, every guitar is a kind of "unique" piece and you must be careful to avoid serious damages.


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Juan M. Valero
post Mar 29 2008, 10:45 AM
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QUOTE (ZakkWylde @ Mar 29 2008, 01:41 AM) *
Buzzing on the low E is acceptable, on every other string it should not buzz at all.


I share your opinion. In the E low is acceptable and maybe in the A and D but in the other strings is not acceptable.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 29 2008, 11:25 AM
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QUOTE (Fran @ Mar 29 2008, 01:38 AM) *
And I guess that Gibsons are properly set from factory. At least they should, with that price tag.


On the opposite I think Gibsons are not properly setup from the factory and if they did, there is a big chance that in transport they get the buzzing. It is normal for new guitars to have some buzz until they are properly played in.


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Enucleation
post Mar 29 2008, 03:21 PM
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I prefer no buzzing at all, my favorite guitar ahs buzzing on the G string 8th fret but thats because the strings got all bent or something when I was putting it on.

It doesn't bother too much, especially since I can avoid that buzz if I press hard enough and it' not worth the Floyd string change until it breaks XD


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