Is a little fret buzz normal?

Frank1985

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Is it normal for SGs, or any guitar for that matter to not be 100 percent free of fret buzz? I've set up my neck the way I like it - Gibson specs for action at the 12th fret and 0.25mm relief at the 7th. It's not as noticeable when playing gently, but when digging in for those slightly hairy cleans it is, particularly on the g string. I've used a fret rocker to check for uneven frets - everything seems ok. And afaia the neck is not warped. Raising the action helps but by the time I'm buzz free the intonation gets thrown well off. Is that just the price I have to pay for the guitar to intonate properly? By the way the SG in question is the iommi USA special.
 
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DrBGood

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Is it normal for SGs, or any guitar for that matter to not be 100 percent free of fret buzz? I've set up my neck the way I like it - Gibson specs for action at the 12th fret and 0.25mm relief at the 7th. It's not as noticeable when playing gently, but when digging in for those slightly hairy cleans it is, particularly on the g string. I've used a fret rocker to check for uneven frets - everything seems ok. And afaia the neck is not warped. Raising the action helps but by the time I'm buzz free the intonation gets thrown well off. Is that just the price I have to pay for the guitar to intonate properly? By the way the SG in question is the iommi USA special.
Instead of using generic measurements, why don't you try setting up YOUR SG. Whatever the guitar, I never look at specs, I use this set it up method that a friend showed me. Gets the guitar at its optimal setting every single time.

First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.

Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings, do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with tru
ss rods.
 

An Abiding Dude

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I have a couple of Gibsons with the g-string "ting" that's noticeable when playing on them unamplified. I seem to remember asking my luthier about it and he said it really wasn't worth worrying about unless the buzz is noticeable while playing the guitar through an amplifier. Needless to say, when I play the guitars through an amp the "ting" isn't noticeable. I guess it all boils down to whether it drives you to a point of personal annoyance that you'd feel compelled to do something about it. My best guess is that the "g" nut slot was cut a tiny bit too deep, so you'd probably be looking at trying to put some kind of filler in the slot (which would probably be extremely difficult to get exactly the right amount evenly spread through the slot) or cutting an entirely new nut (but all this is just an educated guess).
 

Frank1985

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Great instruction Drbgood, that totally makes sense - I will give it another go tomorrow.
 
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Frank1985

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Actually some of that buzzing is coming from the wraparound bridge! Either the strings aren't seated properly or the saddles are loose; I don't know. It's getting late now so I'll have another look in the morning..
 
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skelt101

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I'm surprised you were able to set the action to Gibson spec at the 12th fret with that bridge! For the life of me, I couldn't with my Iommi Special. The bass side was okay, but the treble side was always too high, even with the bridge decked. Swapped it out for a lower profile Schaller 455=all good with room to spare! :dude:
 

DrBGood

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I'm surprised you were able to set the action to Gibson spec at the 12th fret with that bridge! For the life of me, I couldn't with my Iommi Special. The bass side was okay, but the treble side was always too high, even with the bridge decked. Swapped it out for a lower profile Schaller 455=all good with room to spare! :dude:
Sounds more like your neck was set at an angle too low. It happens. I had to countersink the bushing on one to get it low enough.
 

skelt101

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Sounds more like your neck was set at an angle too low. It happens. I had to countersink the bushing on one to get it low enough.
I would agree. But I'm curious if my guitar is unique in this aspect, or if the shallow neck angle was common across the run. From what I can tell, the Custom Shop version of the SG Special seems like a more appropriate candidate for this Badass-style bridge. Either their neck angle is bigger, or the fretboard is simply higher off the body of the guitar.
 

papagayo

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With new strings buzz is normal, 1 week later it' s wrong.
 

DrBGood

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... a more appropriate candidate for this Badass-style bridge.
The Badass is is the worst ever adjustable wraparound bridge out there.

Badass.jpg

On most guitars, it's too high, saddle travel is very short and is set too forward for proper intonation without having the bridge on the edge of falling out the back of the studs and saddles are usually sharp under your hand. I just hate them ... does it show ? :rofl: So that bad design could be your problem.

Look for Pigtail models (or similar) instead.

Wilkinson.jpg
 

An Abiding Dude

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The Badass is is the worst ever adjustable wraparound bridge out there.

View attachment 48183

On most guitars, it's too high, saddle travel is very short and is set too forward for proper intonation without having the bridge on the edge of falling out the back of the studs and saddles are usually sharp under your hand. I just hate them ... does it show ? :rofl: So that bad design could be your problem.

Look for Pigtail models (or similar) instead.

View attachment 48184
It's funny, Dr. I think they may have redesigned the Badass, because looking at the extra one Gibson sent me it is kind of in a flat "v" configuration, the highest saddles are the "D" and "G" and then they subtly taper downward on either side. IMG_0887.jpeg
 

skelt101

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The Badass is is the worst ever adjustable wraparound bridge out there.

View attachment 48183

On most guitars, it's too high, saddle travel is very short and is set too forward for proper intonation without having the bridge on the edge of falling out the back of the studs and saddles are usually sharp under your hand. I just hate them ... does it show ? :rofl: So that bad design could be your problem.

Look for Pigtail models (or similar) instead.

View attachment 48184
I agree with everything you said, Dr. Thankfully, the stock bridge is not my problem anymore.
6442D05D-16A5-41A9-B871-FA6B91EE071C.jpeg
 

skelt101

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I'm horrified every time I see that nasty pair of long screws hanging out the back of the bridge. Please replace them with a pair of short set screws that will hide inside the bridge. You just need an Allen key to adjust them.
No dice, Chicago! I’m trying to make this guitar functional for me, while staying as aesthetically true to the original as possible. I.e. the nasty pair of long screws stay. :dude:
 

papagayo

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I agree with everything you said, Dr. Thankfully, the stock bridge is not my problem anymore.
View attachment 48187

Very nice but those long screws with head are strange. Those are perfect for our application (I don' t know english name)

vis-metaux-inox-a2-sans-tete-six-pans-creux-sans-tete-six-pans-creux-sthc-8x40-b-plate.jpg
 

Frank1985

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Instead of using generic measurements, why don't you try setting up YOUR SG. Whatever the guitar, I never look at specs, I use this set it up method that a friend showed me. Gets the guitar at its optimal setting every single time.

First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.

Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings, do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with tru
ss rods.
Ok this worked great, and the bridge rattling is no longer an issue.
 


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