PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow extrem fret buzz due to weather conditions

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Christian King, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I bought a PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Santana yellow on July 9th at GC in San Bernardino, CA. The action was super high in the store so I took it to their Luthier to get a proper set up. When I got the guitar back it played well but not as expected. There was still some buzz and bending wasn't easy and it felt like some strings were lower than others. So I took it to a different Luthier in my area. He set it up according to Fender specs. I got it back with extreme fret buzz but it was very comfy to play so I tolerated it. When I got home I noticed a weird noise coming through the amp. Since I'm not a pro player I chalked it up to my muting technique. Well I was wrong. It was fret buzz coming through the amp.

    I was ready to return the guitar but my wife urged me to get another set up because she could see that I really like the guitar. I called up another Luthier in my area and explained the situation. He mentioned the weather right away. I live in Moreno Valley, CA, which can get pretty dry. Humidity is about 30-40% on normal days but lately it's been a little more humid (today 80%). He said that when it gets humid the neck swells up and throws everything out of wack. He said to take it to him and he'll check it. When I took it to him it was about to rain so he suggested we wait a couple days for the setup so the humidity in the air can stabilize. After a couple days he called me and asked me to come by to check it out. He lowered the tremolo, adjusted the neck, worked on the nut and adjusted the action. The guitar played like a $2000 guitar. It played like a dream. I couldn't believe it. I was super happy. He even complemented my vibrato (it was so easy to bend that it somehow sounded really good).

    Fast forward the next day I took it to guitar practice at GC. It played the same way. It was top notch. My guitar teacher was really surprised at how well it played for a $850 guitar. He called it a shred machine. When I got home from guitar practice I continued to practice for another 1-2 hours. Right towards the end of my practice session I noticed that the g, b and high e were buzzing again to the point where the strings couldn't oscillate freely for proper sustain.

    I called up the guy who set it up and he immediately asked me if I messed around with it. I said no because I didn't. I asked him about the weather and if that could have affected it because it was starting to get overcast again. At that particular moment the humidity was about 55% according to the weather app. He said he's never had an electric guitar react so severely to the weather. I have a really cheap Fender Squier in the same room I keep the PRS in and it holds its setup. Minimal buzz and it plays ok but it's always had minimal buzz. It stays pretty much stable whether it is more or less humid in our house. How can that be? The Squier was a really cheap guitar that I bought in the late 90s to play some Punk Rock on.

    I don't know what to do. I'm past the 45 days return policy so I can't return it. And tbh I don't want to because I like the look and feel of the guitar. But the current issue is a deal breaker for me. It buzzes so severely it's a pain to play. I've already spent 28% of the guitar's price on setups. That's ridiculously uneconomical. My theory is that the wood wasn't stored probably before it was shipped to GC. And GC keeps the AC running 24/7. So the store is pretty dry and cold whereas my house is a little more humid and about 75-77 degrees. But the wood should be able to adjust which it doesn't. I've already contacted PRS twice but they haven't gotten back to me yet. I don't even know if they will. Stupid covid messed everything up.

    Has anyone here ever experienced something similar? Is there anything I can do? Could it be cheap wood? Could it be the away it was stored at GC or the factory? Did I happen to buy a faulty PRS that slipped through quality control? It can't be my playing because no matter how bad I am, the guitar should hold its setup. Please help me out guys! :(


    EDIT:

    I'll make it easy to understand because it seems like my essay is hard to understand.

    The guitar played like butter after the last setup which was done by an experienced Luthier who has worked on many PRS guitars over the past 40 years. It played really well but after hours of playing it started buzzing all over again but especially in the higher registers on the g, b and high e string. It buzzes so much that it kills sustain. I've had this issue since I bought the guitar no matter who worked on it. I get it set up and it's sorta ok or even plays well and then it starts buzzing again after some time of playing. The last Luthier mentioned that the weather could be the culprit.
     
    #1 Christian King, Aug 22, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  2. Tom Bradovich

    Tom Bradovich New Member

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    I can't address your questions, but I will tell you that if my S2 ever needs a professional setup, there's only a couple of places I'd trust, and GC is not one of them. Nothing against GC, I've bought plenty of items from them over the years. But from my experience with other electrics taken there for setups, it's a stretch of the imagination to call the kids who work at the store in my area luthiers. No offense to kids, but a true guitar setup needs a true and experienced luthier. Your GC setup person may be better than the one I experienced, but odds are against that, especially noways with businesses unable to attract and keep top-notch talent.

    I'm sure other players on this site will be able to shed some light on the questions you've asked, and I hope you can get this all sorted out quickly.
     
  3. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    My first question would be, was the nut changed? That’s been an issue on all my SE’s. The next question….does the tremolo go up 1/2 step? If it’s set up to Fender specs, that’s really wrong. Have you considered going on line, and comparing how your guitar was set up to the PRS videos on the PRS channel? You can simply look for visual cues to see if your setups match what has been done already. People who set up Fenders and Gibsons till the cows come home don’t always do a good job on PRS. I’m more inclined to think that you’ve got well intended but incorrect setups than anything else.
     
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  4. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I didn't take it to GC for the previous setup. I said that the first setup was done by GC and the other two by independent Luthiers with the latter having been in business for 40 years. And I also stated that after the last setup it played like butter until it started buzzing again after hours of practicing. That takes the Luthier out of the equation. They can only give me a proper setup. They can't control the weather or the wood quality or whatever. It seems to have something to do with that. Because why would it be fine one day and the next after hours or practice it starts buzzing all over again? I didn't touch it. No one else did. I can't make sense of it.
     
  5. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Again, how can it be the setup when it played like butter when I got it back from the Luthier? Yes, it goes up and down a 1/2 step. PRS guitars are no different from other guitars. That's like saying a Ferrari needs a special mechanic for an oil change and a Prius can do with a run off the mill mechanic. That's nonsense. The guitar was set up by three different people and the last guy didn't set it up to Fender specs. He has experience with PRS guitars and their trem system. He set it up well. It played like butter. Action was comfortably low without any string buzz. I took it home and the next day after hours or practice it started buzzing again. So how can it be the Luthiers set up? Even a shitty setup shouldn't change. The issue is that the guitar won't hold its setup whether or not it was done by a GC kid or an experienced Luthier. I didn't touch it. I don't mess with it. It changed just by me playing it.
     
    #5 Christian King, Aug 22, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  6. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    First of all, your an analogy is wrong. It would be like saying a Chevy mechanic doesn’t know how to tune a Ferrari. Every brand of guitar has peculiarities and nuances, If you don’t know how to set up a guitar, don’t go there. I do. If it were my guitar, I’d take it back as a warranty issue. These don’t have a 45 day warranty. We’re not having diffficulty understanding your frustration, there just isn’t a magic solution, so we have to run through all the possibilities.
     
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  7. Tom Bradovich

    Tom Bradovich New Member

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    Christian, I understand your frustration, I'd be frustrated also if my brand new S2 was having issues. And, who knows, maybe I'll be in your situation when the weather changes from hot & humid summer to dry winter. Still, do understand we are only trying to help. In my case, by sharing with you my experience with setups done at GC. Besides, trying to do virtual troubleshooting without eyes and hands on the guitar is challenging to say the least. There are a lot of good and knowledgeable people on this site who will bend backwards to help out a fellow PRS owner.
     
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  8. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I understand. I'm frustrated and it clearly shows. I don't mean to be rude. I appreciate your contribution. I apologize for my attitude.

    No the nut wasn't changed. I asked the guy I took it to, to check the nut. He said it was borderline (the guitar came with 10s so we both assumed that whoever set it up at GC filed down the nut to make the 10s fit).

    I thought about the nut but how can that be the issue? I don't understand how the nut relates to the buzz up the neck (12th fret upwards). The distance between the strings and the first fret is just about right so I didn't even consider the nut as the culprit.

    Regarding my analogy, you're right it wasn't exactly analogous. I'm a mechanic and I know that lots of cars are the same. That is, the approach to changing, say, the belt is the same whether it is a Chevy or s Prius. The foundation is the same. I look at guitars the same way. A PRS guitar needs the right amount of relief in the neck and the trem needs to be at the right height and so on and so does any other guitar. And it requires the same approach. A fender has a truss rod and a PRS has a truss rod. They might have different factory specs but that shouldn't matter because the truss rod adjustment etc works the same as it does on any other guitar ( you measure at the 6th or 8th fret etc.). That's the way I see it.
     
  9. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I'm sorry I'm just so frustrated. It clearly shows in my writing style. I don't mean to be rude. I'm sorry.
     
  10. Tom Bradovich

    Tom Bradovich New Member

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    No worries, it's all good. Hope you get it fixed soon so you're back playing with a happy face.
     
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  11. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I’ve bought and sold a number of PRS over the years. I kept the remarkable ones and made money on the others. I’ve been playing over 50 years. I’m 90 miles from the factory, and tech work I can’t handle is done by a professionally trained luthier, former factory employee, and great friend. He said to me, this doesn’t make any sense, unless the truss rod is moving inside the neck. I’ve never seen or heard of this issue, other than your guitar. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer. Call PRS. This sounds like a manufacturing defect. Assuming you bought the guitar new, it will be under warranty. We can all tell you they are great about honoring warranties. You will probably have to go through your retailer.
     
    #11 dogrocketp, Aug 22, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  12. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Could it be my playing? I tend to push on the tremolo when palm muting ( I used to play punk rock when I was younger so my right hand is beating the strings at times because I'm not the most dynamic of players (yet)). I just said to my wife what if the trem moves somehow and lowers the action? Or the saddles from my playing? I'm currently doing a lot of bending exercises. Maybe that has something to do with it?


    EDIT:

    I called GC and they are going to refund me. I'll return the guitar today after get off work. I'll order another SE but this time from Sweetwater. I'll get th custom 22 vintage sunburst Solid body. I'll get the nut replaced right away with a TUSQ nut and get all frets leveled and polished including a proper setup. If I still have the same issue with that guitar it must be something I do.
     
    #12 Christian King, Aug 22, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  13. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    Likely it only needs a slight tweak of the truss rod. After any setup, especially if adjustments were more than minor, the guitar can settle after a day or so, and might need a small correction.
     
  14. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    Shimmilou, the problem seems to be above the twelfth fret. It sounds like the neck is warped. Remember, this has been set up three times. I think Christian’s solution will be the best. Christian, we wish you the best with your new guitar. Please let us know how this works out for you. We all hope you get a great one, and that it makes you really happy.
     
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  15. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I will definitely let you guys know. I hope I'll get it before next weekend so I can take it to guitar practice.
     
  16. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    And that, as they say in France, is "la solution".

    I'm like a broken record at this point, don't buy your new gear at GC. A "New" instrument at GC means "shiny with ample juvenile finger poop in the fretboard".

    For what its worth, buzzing above the 12th usually means either back bow, or you got a high fret(s) up there. The nut does affect play-ablilty to a degree, but beyond the 12th fret its not really a problem. That said, think of the strings as a near parallel plane to the fingerboard. If the nut sits too low, then the angle to the bridge will need to be more severe, meaning higher action towards the higher frets, and while that wont cause buzzing, it will make runs up there feel like drudgery. Keep in mind, Sweetwater is not always 100% perfect, and there are things sometimes beyond their control, but you stand a far better chance of getting good instruments from them because, well...they give a damn.

    If I may, take this as an opportunity to learn how to do a truss rod adjustment. Climate can make the neck move more than you think, and if you know how to do it and what to be looking for, you can save time, money, and you may need to do them a fe times a year depending on the weather/humidity. These guitars are made in a tropical environment, then they might come to Cali where we are basically dying of thirst because of how dry it is. You mentioned you went to a GC in San Bernadino. The climate there is likely very dry, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's making the neck do all sorts of gymnastics.
     
  17. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I have the tools here and I have a basic understanding of how to do it. But it seems as if there's more to it then just slight adjustment of the truss rod to either the left or right.

    I'm suspecting that the one I bought from GC was really dried out because it was hanging at the top on the wall inside the store. The AC was blasting and drying it out. That might have damaged the neck in some way. I've heard good things about Sweetwater. The guitar will play well for sure. But the question is for how long
     
  18. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    There kinda is. Like I said, you just need to know what your'e looking for and why. I recommend an adjustment every season. You may need to do it more frequently during the first two weeks while the guitar is getting acclimated. For PRS instruments, they recommend .005-.010 relief at the 8th. It's a small amount, but it goes a long way. The rods are really sensitive, so if you ever do it turn the thing in increments of eighth or quarter turns. Don't know if you have them, but if not make sure you buy a cheap set of feeler gauges.

    That would do it. GC should have better indoor climate control, but its GC, so.....yah. As for how long, like I mentioned, the neck will move most in the first couple weeks. You may even see it change overnight, where it played fine the night before and not so good the next day. After that time has elapsed, you should be A-OK.
     
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  19. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    When a guitar gets "over adjusted" it will take time to get right , I try to NEVER do large truss rod adjustments , the truss rod is meant to hold the neck in position so when you adjust it , it will be fine but you have really over adjusted it and it will need to be readjusted. Make a small adjustment then wait overnight and check again , make another small adjustment 99% of all guitars will settle in the worst one I ever did took 3 days but it was fine after that.
     
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  20. Daniel Elam

    Daniel Elam New Member

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    I would take it back to the last guy to have him check neck relief, adjust if necessary and document it. Then if the problem persists, take it to him again to see what changed. You should be able to tell by then if this is going to be an ongoing issue with the guitar and whether or not to cut bait and find another one. Also, has any fret leveling been done?
     

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