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Thread: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

  1. #1
    Senior Member VergDan's Avatar
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    Default Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    My guitar has fret buzz on the 12th fret of B string, just that one fret. The note is not dead, but the buzz is severe enough that both vibrato and sustain suffer.

    Took it to a luthier, the fret seems to be fitting in the neck properly, he suggested that I refret the whole neck as my frets are pretty worn already.

    Any thoughts on this?

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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Sounds like a harsh first measure to take... Based on the knowledge and experience I gathered thus far, complete refret is really the last resort. Fret buzz in general can be the result of a number of factors: too low action, wrong amount of neck relief, unseated frets, unlevel frets... If it is really just one spot, I'd say that either the fret next to the buzzing note (e.g.: you're fretting the 12th fret playing a B note and it's buzzing, then it's the 13th fret) is high or your 12th fret is so worn that the deep indentation causes the the string to sit lower than optimal when fretted. Without seeing the condition of your frets and knowing the luthier you took it to, I'd seek other opinions too. If you're lucky, a simple spot level might solve the issue (work is only done one the faulty fret). If not, then levelling and recrowning all of your frets might work too. Bigger work, but still around half the price as a complete refret. Worst case scenario is that the first guy was right and it is unsalvageable or the level and recrown job would leave you with borderline nonexistent fretwires, then you most probably do need that refret.

    Oh, and definitely wait for others to chime in too - there are experienced builders and luthiers on here, not just hacks like myself!

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    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    what guitar is it
    a tele or strat may just need the bridge saddle raised

    any guitar might just need the bridge raised just a smidge on the High E side
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    Senior Member VergDan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    It's an epiphone les paul.

    I forgot to mention that the set up is proper. The luthier I took it to checked the action and it is not too low. In fact he said the action is perfect.

    He suggested refretting the whole neck because I got around 60% of fret wire left.

    The fret wire next to the buzzing fret, i.e. the 13th fret on B string is sitting in the neck properly. So my guess is that either the 13th fret is too high or the 12th fret is too low.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Coma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    If you get it sorted, let me know. I have a guitar like that where I've had it sorted more times and I can count and it just won't go away.
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    Senior Member VergDan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coma View Post
    If you get it sorted, let me know. I have a guitar like that where I've had it sorted more times and I can count and it just won't go away.
    What kind of 'sorted' did you do with it, might I ask?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Coma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by VergDan View Post
    What kind of 'sorted' did you do with it, might I ask?
    When I bought the guitar the bridge posts (Floyd Rose) were rocking back and forth due to missing chunks of wood around them, and the fretboard had sort of a bulge in it (though the neck was straight).

    Had a luthier fit the bridge posts with brass inserts, remove all frets, level the fretboard and then out in new frets.

    Eventually started having problems with the 14th fret where it was high enough to kill the F (13th feet note) on the high e string, but just that one spot though.

    Since then I've had one guy trying to hammer it back in a bit and one other guy went to town on it with a fret file and it still won't play nice.
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    Senior Member VergDan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coma View Post
    When I bought the guitar the bridge posts (Floyd Rose) were rocking back and forth due to missing chunks of wood around them, and the fretboard had sort of a bulge in it (though the neck was straight).

    Had a luthier fit the bridge posts with brass inserts, remove all frets, level the fretboard and then out in new frets.

    Eventually started having problems with the 14th fret where it was high enough to kill the F (13th feet note) on the high e string, but just that one spot though.

    Since then I've had one guy trying to hammer it back in a bit and one other guy went to town on it with a fret file and it still won't play nice.
    So both hammering it in and filing it down didn't work quite well. Bummer.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Your luthier is looking for his next boat payment. I suspect all it needs is a spot level. Also, 60% of the frets is enough to keep.

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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    I would suspect that just that fret and possibly the few around it might need re-leveling. Maybe a 2nd opinion?
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    Michaelewski BlueSnMettle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    I’d start with filing/sanding the 13th fret. Do a little at a time and check
    regularly.

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    Tone Member The_Junior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    All he did was check the action? what about neck relief?

    If you see any divots worn on the fret crowns (caused by years of bending notes), there might be enough material worn down on the 11th to cause a rattle to the 12th fret. To fix that you would need to level and re-crown the frets. to warrant a re fret depends how much material has to be widdled away to get rid of the divots.

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    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Your luthier is looking for his next boat payment. I suspect all it needs is a spot level. Also, 60% of the frets is enough to keep.
    That's what I thought as well
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    60% of the frets left is usable, but will make the guitar worse playing than it used to be. Bigger frets are much better for legato, tapping, and bending.
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    OH THE GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    If you like the guitar, having big stainless steel frets are really a luxury because they play well and don't wear. So I wouldn't write off getting a refret. Otherwise you could get a spot level. If the problem happens to be a fret that's really low, you could replace only that fret.
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    big frets arent for everyone, but i do like ss frets

    if 12 is buzzing then its probably worn low and hitting 13 or 14. you should be able to take just a tiny bit off the offending fret to make the buzz better. if its really bad then you could just replace the 12th but most luthiers wont since its a real pita to just do one fret.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by VergDan View Post
    I forgot to mention that the set up is proper. The luthier I took it to checked the action and it is not too low. In fact he said the action is perfect.

    He suggested refretting the whole neck because I got around 60% of fret wire left..
    First of all, your tech can tell you the frets are level, but only YOU can determine if the action is perfect.

    If there is 60% left and your playing is not suffering at all, your neck feels fine, then just check the 12th and 13th frets. A slight adjustment to 13 may solve the problem.
    Last edited by GuitarDoc; 02-15-2020 at 09:11 AM.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coma View Post
    When I bought the guitar the bridge posts (Floyd Rose) were rocking back and forth due to missing chunks of wood around them, and the fretboard had sort of a bulge in it (though the neck was straight).

    Had a luthier fit the bridge posts with brass inserts, remove all frets, level the fretboard and then out in new frets.

    Eventually started having problems with the 14th fret where it was high enough to kill the F (13th feet note) on the high e string, but just that one spot though.

    Since then I've had one guy trying to hammer it back in a bit and one other guy went to town on it with a fret file and it still won't play nice.
    You absolutely need a new tech. One who actually knows what he is doing.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Coma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    You absolutely need a new tech. One who actually knows what he is doing.
    Three different guys for that guitar. I'm starting to think it may be cursed.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    1973 Aria 551
    1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
    1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
    1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
    1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
    1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
    2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret buzz on just that one fret, any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Junior View Post
    All he did was check the action? what about neck relief?

    ...there might be enough material worn down on the 11th to cause a rattle to the 12th fret.
    Well, not if he is playing on the 12th fret and he gets a buzz. That's a problem with the 13th fret being too high relative to the 12th. It will have nothing to do with the 11th fret. In fact you could even totally remove the 11th fret or replace it with a too-tall fret and he will still have the same problem.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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