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. Tom Bradovich

    Tom Bradovich New Member

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    I had to order my S2 Thinline from my local GC since they had none in stock. The salesman asked me if I wanted them to unbox it and do a setup when it came in. I declined. I thought that since PRS does a setup at factory, all a GC tech (not luther or a luthier) would do is f**k it up.
     
  2. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    He charges $120 for a setup. I'm not going to pay that every week depending on how humid/dry it is lol. Besides, the audible fret buzz always affects the g, b and high e from the 12th fret upwards (mostly). No matter the relief it shouldn't affect the higher registers.
     
  3. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I'll keep that in mind. But like I said, fret buzz in the higher registers has nothing to do with the neck relief or am I mistaken?
     
  4. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    Oh indeed it does! It can be a sign if a backbowed neck. Basically, the neck curves down either naturally or if the rod is too tight, and creates a hump around the 12th fret. Anything above there will likely buzz like mad. At that point, there is basically negative relief, so to speak.
     
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  5. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    You are mistaken , in fact relief has more to do with the upper frets , but everything plays a part its all just playing angles Nut height , relief , Bridge height and neck angle all play a part. any part of the puzzle can be off by a small amount and it can cause a guitar to play in a subpar manor.
    I usually start at the top a properly cut nut ( height and slots ) starts on the path to nice even action along the whole fretboard , THEN a straight neck with the smallest amount of relief you can get away with, Then set the bridge height I like my action high e between .060 -.065 " ( usually shoot for .061" ) at the 12th fret The G at .064" Low E at 086" radius to match and adjust to taste in this ballpark as far as relief goes I look for just the smallest amount of string bounce ( or a bit of light under the Low e at the 7th fret ( capo first fret , and fret at last fret , some folks like to use the body joint I like last fret better. One last note if you nut is too short your action will need to be higher at the 12th or you will need extra relief.
    And last low action on an electric will always have some "buzz" if you play aggressively and use light strings that's why acoustic guitar usually have higher action, heavier strings can also get you lower action as they have more string control.
    Best of luck
     
  6. Sybo

    Sybo Nashvillan

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    I do ALL my setups. I have a always in my mind basically understood physics, I have not made any mistakes ( that could not be reversed and learned from) and I just feel more confident with the understanding of my instrument when I set them up myself.
    Now wiring……. I’ll learn it………..
    Setups are kinda like a proverbial musical “see saw”.
     
  7. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I returned the guitar already but now reading your post makes me wonder if a nut replacement would have solved it. The string buzz was mostly affecting the g, b and high e and only after hours of practicing. One theory of mine is that the vibration from the strings removed some of the nut material (basically cutting into it deeper) and over time the action got lower and lower resulting in string buzz.

    I'm getting the nut replaced on the new SE by Sweetwater as well as the frets leveled. I'll have to set it up when it gets here because it will be buzzing all over due to the change in climate. What is the lowest action possible on a PRS SE custom 22 with a trem without audible (through the amp) string buzz?
     
  8. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    To the strings cutting deeper into the nut, absolutely. The stock SE nuts are, in my honest opinion, doodoo. Ive replaced every single one on any SE I've owned. It is possible that might have been our culprit, but without doing proper truss rod adjustments first and letting her settle to eliminate that as a problem, itll be like the tootsie pop question for all time. The world will never know.

    Lowest action on an SE custom without audible string buzz. My 35th has .050 treble side action. Its a hair over 3/64. Personally, I think it can go lower, but there are some problem children on the fretboard that will need a fret eraser. Bear in mind, when I first got it it was 7/64" and still buzzed. :(

    Lowest I ever got is 2/64, or .031. Thats my Pauls Guitar SE. Beyond that, its about as low I think one can go before it goes into sort of unplayable territory, where you will get buzz no matter what.

    One more thing, I would suggest that if you do pay for a setup on this new guitar, dont do it for at least a week, maybe two. The reason being is that any setup work can be spoiled by a guitar that is still acclimating, but the chances go down significantly if that acclimation process is basically done.
     
    #28 Draconomics, Aug 24, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  9. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I'll check the setup right out of the box and make sure it's playable. I have tools here and my Luthiers notes. He worte everything down for me. I'll set it to the exact same parameters and let guitar acclimate. I'll keep you guys updated. I might need some help. The new SE will be here on Friday. Maybe Thursday if I'm lucky.
     
    #29 Christian King, Aug 24, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  10. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    The guitar arrived today. Finally. The setup right out of the box wasn't good. The action was super high. The guy from Sweetwater told me it was going to be set up low. I lowered the action to .06 measured at the 12th fret and adjusted he neck relief to .010 measured at the 8th fret. There's a good amount of audible string buzz coming through the amp past the 12th fret. It's not as bad as before but it's not perfect either. They replaced the nut and didn't cut it well. There's definitely some binding and the distance from the first fret to the low e is pretty significant. The frets are level, though, and smooth. So the buzz comes from the low action or the nut(?). I guess I just can't go that low on that guitar or I'm doing something wrong.
     
  11. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    Set neck bow first, then set action. Mostly, the only thing that needs to be adjusted after shipping is a slight truss rod tweak.
     
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  12. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I adjusted the relief first (.010 8th fret) and then the action (.06 12th fret). When it arrived there was virtually no bow in the neck and the action was set to .07 on the 12th fret. That was way too high for my taste. My Luthier was able to set up the SE I returned so well that he could lower the action down to .05 with the neck relief at .010 at the 8th fret without any buzzing. It's just that it didn't stay that way. The new SE however holds its setup. That's a good thing. It's just that the setup isn't good because it's buzzing on all strings on the higher frets. I'd have to set the action back to .07 to remove the buzz but that's way too high for my taste. How can I get closer to .05 without any buzz? Do I need even more relief or less? Does the nut influence how low I can set it before I can hear buzz coming through the amp?
     
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  13. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    .07 is not too far away from PRS spec suggestions. If you are getting buzzing on frets above the 12th, then you got a backbowed truss rod more than likely. Give it some relief and that should take away the buzz.
     
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  14. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Hey guys so I have the same problem with my new PRS. After I got it back from my tech it played well with great sustain but after hours of playing it developed fret buzz all over the neck causing poor sustain.

    I measured it and found that the action is very low (.04") with a relief of about .08" (According to my tech it should be .010" at the 9th fret). Maybe the neck shifted again.

    I also noticed that because the action is so low I can't really play something like RHCP - can't stop this because the moment I lay my hand softly on the strings to mute, the strings are already so close to the tall frets that muting goes out the window for me especially because I'm still a novice. But I can do it on other guitars where the action is a little bit higher and the fret board a little bit rounder, though.

    I contacted PRS. They're the only ones who can do a proper set up it seems. And they might be able to tell me why the neck shifts or if it shifts because my Squier doesn't do that nor does my cheap accoustic. Maybe I'm too inexperienced to play a PRS
     
  15. Screamingdaisy

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    Pull the truss rod cover off and adjust the truss rod. Don’t adjust anything else. Leave the bridge alone. If it’s properly adjusted you should never need to touch the bridge or nut until it wears out, which should be years down the road.

    Truss rod is user maintenance, especially if you want to maintain a low action. It’s why the guitar comes with a truss rod key.

    Leave the truss rod cover off, adjust it to spec as required. You’ll hear a buzz, raise the action with the truss rod and the buzz will go away. The action is too high? Lower it with the truss rod until it’s where you want it. After a couple weeks you won’t even need to measure it anymore as you’ll be able to adjust by feel.

    On a properly setup guitar, adjust the action with the truss rod, not the bridge.
     
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  16. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Everyone says something else. I'm so confused. I just read about how action has nothing to do with relief and that adjusting the action via setting the relief is wrong. Then one half says for low action you need an almost straight neck and the other half says you need more relief. I don't know what the proper amount of relief is. Not even by feel. That is because I'm not an experienced player.
     
  17. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    So I adjusted the relief back to .010 at the 9th fret. Now everything is off whack. I have a little less buzz in certain areas but for the most part nothing has changed much. My action is higher as well (4/64 bass side and 3/64 high side) yet it's still buzzing causing issues with sustain. When I got it back from my tech it had little to now buzz and the action was 3/64 high and low side.
     
  18. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob New Member

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    I feel your pain. It can definitely be a bit of a minefield, but don’t stress. Anything that is done can be undone. You just need to understand what all the adjustments do, both individually and as part of the overall setup of the guitar. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that explain it.

    Just one thing though from your post above: Adjusting the truss rod, or trying to, in order to set the action isn’t technically the right thing to do.

    Personally I like a flat neck (or very minimal relief) for setting up a guitar for a low action. So, I’d start with getting the neck nice and flat by adjusting the truss rod (which may take some time to ‘settle’ after the adjustment) then I’d look at adjusting the saddles to get the action where I want it. Usually I wouldn’t expect to have to touch the nut at all.
     
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  19. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I don't understand the relationship between action and relief. Let me explain where I'm stuck.

    According to multiple sources the relief is adjusted with a capo on the first fret and then either pushing down the strings (low or high E) on the 12th or 17th fret or wherever the neck joint is. I understand that this is because the truss rod doesn't affect the frets beyond the neck joint. Now, when I adjust the relief so the neck is almost flat but no less than .06" then the low and high E basically sit on top of the frets in the center of the neck (between first few and neck joint). That means that I'd have to raise the action overall so I don't get any buzz somewhere lower on the neck when I dig in. Whereas when I add some relief theres a little bit or clearance between most frets and the strings which means (IMO) lower action is possible to achieve. That is exactly why I don't understand the rule "low action = straight neck". It makes no sense. What am I missing?
     
  20. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    Ok, Ill set it straight. You do not adjust action via the truss rod, but that does not mean it cant. Neck relief has to do with the shape of the neck. Basically, when the guitar is buzzing around the 12th fret and above it means we got a big hump in the middle of the neck because everything below the neck/body joint is curving down. You do not need a dead flat neck to have low action. Its one of those things that is a "feel" thing. Jeff Beck likes dead flat necks, SRV liked banana relief, you just need to experiment. There are no rules, just suggestions and what you feel is right for you.

    When you adjust the neck relief, that is a part of the overall setup. Its a whole system and all adjustments are affecting each other. That is to say, you cant adjust that alone and leave everything else the same, you have to dial in everything else respectively. Guitars are basically machines. An adjustment here can throw off something elsewhere, so all of these adjustments need to be done together. Hope that clarifies things.
     
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