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> I Need The Advice Of Any Guitar Techs
Praetorian
post Jul 5 2008, 08:50 PM
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Ok...now I am getting frustrated! Remember my whole ordeal with the Ibanez from awhile ago? I bought a brand new Ibanez from Guitar Center. They had to order the color I wanted, when it came it was REALLY warped. So, they took it back as an exchange and I got the Fender Showmaster Strat. I loved it, but there was always some fret buzzing. Nothing like the Ibanez, so I thought "I'll just dial that out when I get it home and get more used to it." Well, I could never get rid of it without making the action really high, so I brought it to two different guitar techs and they both said that the neck was warped also. I was really upset, but the guys at Guitar Center have been great and although I have had it more than 30 days, they agreed to let me return it for something else. I am headed back there tomorrow for a THIRD time to pick something out.

So I was wondering if some of you who have a better knowledge of guitars than I do (which should be the vast majority of you!) could give me some advice of warning signs to look for. Is there some way to tell if some fret buzzing is able to be dialed out...or some that signifies a warped neck? I can't see or feel the warp by looking at or feeling the neck on either of the guitars I have had. This makes me nervous that I am going to go through this all over again for a fourth time!

Sorry for the long post, but any advice will be appreciated!

Ben


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jacmoe
post Jul 5 2008, 09:09 PM
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Ask their guitar tech to do a setup when you buy the guitar.
Shouldn't be too expensive. smile.gif


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fkalich
post Jul 5 2008, 09:38 PM
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Regarding you neck, check the relief on both sides. you hold the strings down where it joins the body, and at the 1st fret. on both sides it should be fairly similar in distance from the frets to the strings. typically the width of a high e string at the 6th fret. I set mine to maybe half of that, as I shred more. You need more if you hit strings hard, especially on the base side, to account for the elliptical vibration pattern of strings. if you have a completely straight neck, and hit the string hard, you will find buzzing playing low on the neck. The little bit of relief adjusts for this, so you have about the same amount of buzz everywhere on the neck. We of course all have that to an extent, using light strings as we do, and generally low action.

It is ok if they are not exact, and if so, preferably you would want more relief on your wound string side if anything. but both sides should be fairly similar.

Basically if you learn to set up your own guitars, you will know if you have any problem. I adjust all my guitars, always have, even when all I knew was how to tune them. Only thing you can break is the truss rod, but if you just use your head you can do that fine without risk. Just like you can drive a car fine provided you don't do things like go to sleep while driving, or go through red lights. Just look on internet. Then you can learn to adjust them just as you want them, not as some tech guy thinks it should be. I even bought myself some nut cutting files, but have not used those yet. If you need to adjust the truss rod, first loosen it a bit, and see that the relief has increased. Maybe a quarter turn. Then you know you can turn it back a quarter to be where you started. Notice how hard it is to turn it. Then if you turn it further to take out more relief, it should not change a lot in how much tension you feel turning it. it it gets stiff stop. then take it to a shop, I did that with a fender (a new one) and found the truss rod was maxed out, manufacturers' defect. Fender replaced the neck under warranty. But that is the way you stay safe, loosen it a bit, check that it is working (relief increased), then you know you can go back to where you started, and see how stiff that feels, and go farther so long as it does not get much stiffer to turn it. then you are safe.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Jul 5 2008, 09:43 PM
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MickeM
post Jul 5 2008, 09:44 PM
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Boy you were unlycky getting two pieces in a row, I never ran into a guitar with a warped neck in my life. Guitars never were my main thing anyway, amps were. But still.
When you say warped you mean twisted, right? Because a twisted neck is only good for crap, a banana neck will be corrected with the truss rod. But Guitarcenter shoud know that.

Since I never ran into a twisted neck... well, what I use to do when I check a guitar is to look along the entire neck just like when you're finding a straight cue in the billiard hall.
...a straight cue was a little bit over the top, I mean finding the least bent one. rolleyes.gif

If you still have the guitar with the twisted neck you should inspect it closely to find if you can see it with your eyes. Great learning for you to know for your future deals. Just hold it and view it from the bridge (face behind the bridge) up to the nut.

then let us know what you see, if you see anything that's wrong. I'm curious to know if it's worth the effort or if I just look stupid when I do this in the shop wink.gif


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Praetorian
post Jul 5 2008, 09:49 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jul 5 2008, 04:38 PM) *
Regarding you neck, check the relief on both sides. you hold the strings down where it joins the body


Where it joins the body...do you mean at the bridge?


QUOTE (MickeM @ Jul 5 2008, 04:44 PM) *
Boy you were unlycky getting two pieces in a row, I never ran into a guitar with a warped neck in my life. Guitars never were my main thing anyway, amps were. But still.
When you say warped you mean twisted, right? Because a twisted neck is only good for crap, a banana neck will be corrected with the truss rod. But Guitarcenter shoud know that.

Since I never ran into a twisted neck... well, what I use to do when I check a guitar is to look along the entire neck just like when you're finding a straight cue in the billiard hall.
...a straight cue was a little bit over the top, I mean finding the least bent one. rolleyes.gif

If you still have the guitar with the twisted neck you should inspect it closely to find if you can see it with your eyes. Great learning for you to know for your future deals. Just hold it and view it from the bridge (face behind the bridge) up to the nut.

then let us know what you see, if you see anything that's wrong. I'm curious to know if it's worth the effort or if I just look stupid when I do this in the shop wink.gif


The tech at the shop was looking at it this way...so I think it is a legitimate way to check! He said that the truss rod wouldn't help because it had a twist. the low buzzing he could dial out, but he said there was a "dead spot" around the 15th fret. Another tech looked at it and agreed. I asked what a dead spot meant and he said that because of the wavy wood, no note could sustain there. I always thought I just wasn't pushing hard enough when I played a note around there.


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fkalich
post Jul 5 2008, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (Praetorian @ Jul 5 2008, 03:46 PM) *
Where it joins the body...do you mean at the bridge?


14th fret is fine. hold down at the 1st fret and 14th. easier if you have a capo holding the first, but you can eyeball it. you should see a bit of clearance, say at the 6th fret, to the string, on both sides, of similar size.
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Praetorian
post Jul 5 2008, 09:56 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jul 5 2008, 04:52 PM) *
14th fret is fine. hold down at the 1st fret and 14th. easier if you have a capo holding the first, but you can eyeball it. you should see a bit of clearance, say at the 6th fret, to the string, on both sides, of similar size.


Oh, ok. I see what you mean now! Do all guitars fret buzz a little bit...even the $2,000 ones?


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fkalich
post Jul 5 2008, 10:02 PM
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QUOTE (Praetorian @ Jul 5 2008, 03:49 PM) *
Where it joins the body...do you mean at the bridge?




The tech at the shop was looking at it this way...so I think it is a legitimate way to check! He said that the truss rod wouldn't help because it had a twist. the low buzzing he could dial out, but he said there was a "dead spot" around the 15th fret. Another tech looked at it and agreed. I asked what a dead spot meant and he said that because of the wavy wood, no note could sustain there. I always thought I just wasn't pushing hard enough when I played a note around there.


just don't assume they are not bs'ing you to an extent. I don't know. An experienced luthier is one thing, some guys working at a shop are another. So many people are so full of it. You know, to adjust a guitar, you have action, string length, truss rod. that is it pretty simple. if you have a neck problem you don't dial it out. just sound like you had your action low, and rather than say he would just raise the bridge, he made it sound like he was an engineer or something doing sophisticated work.

QUOTE (Praetorian @ Jul 5 2008, 03:56 PM) *
Oh, ok. I see what you mean now! Do all guitars fret buzz a little bit...even the $2,000 ones?


yes. you don't want buzz, you play with 13 to 56 strings, and have action of 5/64 on the low e, 3/64 on the high. and have truss rod relief the size of the high e string.

I don't think any of us here do that, so we all will get some buzz, if we hit strings hard.

the better guitars are really good about the buzz appearing to the same extent at all spots of the neck, not some of the fret areas before the others. that is when you can set the action real low. sounds like you have a problem at the 15th fret, probably the wood warped a bit here. it happens. the fret is probably low there.

I don't know about the neck twist, that would be a different thing I think.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Jul 5 2008, 10:04 PM
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MickeM
post Jul 5 2008, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE (Praetorian @ Jul 5 2008, 10:49 PM) *
he said there was a "dead spot" around the 15th fret. Another tech looked at it and agreed. I asked what a dead spot meant and he said that because of the wavy wood, no note could sustain there.

Dead notes can occur on almost all guitars. If you spend a good deal of money on a custom built guitar you can be sure they will be particular and careful when selecting the wood in order to avoid this.
It can also have to do with the frets themselves. If there's air between the bottom of the fret and the wood. it's cheaper and quicker to just hammer in the frets but adding glue before will assure that there's contact between the frets and the wood and no air pockets. ...as I said before, if you go for a custom built guitar. A cheapo is built in a cheapo way and you have to really test the guitar before walking home with it. That's to avoid these kind of lower quality problems that you might get otherwise.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 5 2008, 11:43 PM
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You have to check the guitar thoroughly in the store mate, check for fret buzzing and action, take only the guitar that plays right and doesn't have dead notes or loose sustain. That is very important, or you will need to do a fret job that will cost you.


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MickeM
post Jul 5 2008, 11:54 PM
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A good idea is to try it out unplugged! You'll get a better idea of it's sustain and how the guitar in itself sounds.


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jacmoe
post Jul 6 2008, 12:11 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jul 6 2008, 12:43 AM) *
You have to check the guitar thoroughly in the store mate, check for fret buzzing and action, take only the guitar that plays right and doesn't have dead notes or loose sustain. That is very important, or you will need to do a fret job that will cost you.

Yeah, and then make sure that the guitar you try and the guitar you get is the same.
Often it isn't. wink.gif


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QUOTE ("Steve Vai")
Start by playing something - a bend, a riff, a scale, a song - very slowly; if you make a mistake, start over; do this over and over, until you can play it flawlessly - and I do mean flawlessly - many times in a row. Next, gradually increase the tempo. Eventually you'll be flailing like a madman.
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kjutte
post Jul 6 2008, 01:41 AM
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well, unless you're using retarded low action, you should not buzz.
Always check the neck from above, and both sides. The strings should be symmetrical action all over neck.

Search truss rod setup on youtube.com and you'll learn alot!
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blindwillie
post Jul 6 2008, 12:54 PM
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imo having the guitar properly setup to your liking should always be included in the buy.
When you take home a new guitar you bought in a shop it should play perfectly to your liking, with regards to the prize you paid. If not, you got a defect product.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 6 2008, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE (jacmoe @ Jul 6 2008, 01:11 AM) *
Yeah, and then make sure that the guitar you try and the guitar you get is the same.
Often it isn't. wink.gif


THat is true. The guitar you try you will have to buy, not some other guitar, that is why we try guitars.


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