ZM SE Truss Rod Rattle?

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by Liveone, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Liveone

    Liveone New Member

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    I'm a fairly new player (less than a year) and I purchased a new Zach Myers SE the past August after playing one for a bit in a local shop.

    After 4-5 weeks, though, I noticed a really bad vibration/rattle from the headstock when strumming a few open strings. I wish I could figure out how to describe it... it's a very hollow flopping/buzzing sound. Nothing at all like fret buzz, though. It is really noticeable on anything with an open 5th or 6th string, but noting that I can hear carting through to the amp.

    To make a long story short, I took it back to the shop I purchased it at where the techs spent about 2 hours with it. At first they thought it may be a bad string or a loose tuning machine. After a string change and making sure all the screws on the machine were tight, they started looking elsewhere.

    A list of the things I can remember them checking:
    - String change
    - Check the nut for tightness
    - Verified all tuners were tight.
    - Checked every screw/nut on the guitar for tightness including the strap buttons. Opened all the cavities and verified the switch, jack, and pots were all tight. Verified the pickups or the frames around them were tight and not vibrating. Verified the bridge and set screws weren't loose.
    - Checked two other ZM SE's they had in stock to verify they didn't have the same noise.
    - Added tension to the truss rod, then backed it down to the correct relief to ensure it was engaged against the wood.
    - Adjusted bridge height.

    After a couple of hours they both agreed the sound appeared to be coming from inside the neck, about 4 inches below the nut. Knocking on the neck doesn't produce any rattle. It seems to really show up whenever an E and sometimes an A is played. We were having some strange weather at the time (lower temps but really high humidity) and they thought that may have played a role. They suggested that it may go away as the weather continues to change.

    Needless to say, it hasn't gone away in a month and a half since. Some days it does seem better than other, but then other days it is very noticeable. On my own, I have changed the string again back to the original 9s (I had switched to D'Addario 10s after purchasing).

    It's driving me nuts. Again, as far as I can tell, doesn't make the guitar any less playable with an amp, but I still know it's there.

    Do you folks with more experience with guitars and PRS than I have any suggestions?

    Sorry for the overly long first post and thanks for any suggestions!
     
    #1 Liveone, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    It could be one (ore more) of the C clips that hold the intonation screws in the bridge. Back when I had a PRS adjustable bridge on a Hollowbody II, it would rattle sometimes. As you are experiencing, it was annoying but didn't translate through the amplified sound.
     
  3. Liveone

    Liveone New Member

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    Interesting and not something that was looked at. Would your rattle come from the headstock area?

    I should also mention that I removed the tuners one at a time because the noise is loudest around them. The only thing that seems to affect the volume or pitch of the rattle is grabbing a tuner knob and holding it tight. It doesn't really seem to matter which one, any of the six usually change or eliminate the sound. I have also tried muting the strings above the nut or applying pressure to the nut but it doesn't do anything.
     
  4. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    No, but it can be hard to trace the source of a rattling sound sometimes, so I put that one out there as another troubleshooting step.

    And does it do it with the truss rod cover off? I've had them rattle if not screwed down tightly enough.

    If those suggestions don't help, I'm out of ideas.
     
  5. Liveone

    Liveone New Member

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    Yeah, I forgot about that. It was the first thing the techs at the shop checked. They both independently went right for the cover as soon as they heard it.

    Thanks for the help. I'm going to take a look at the C clips when I get out of work.
     

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