Setup guy told me it should buzz

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by rexbinary, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    Great advice in this thread.

    Its all about personal preference, physics and playing style. I play with a VERY heavy picking hand and typical run pretty thick strings (.054, .056 ---.012), so I tend to sacrifice low action.

    I'll be honest and say I always have run my necks with just a touch of relief and have been under the impression that was the way they should be set. I'll have to try adding relief and see how low I'm able to get away with.
     
  2. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    I have seen people do setups with back bow, which seems to be great for shredders who never play below the 10th fret. For a general setup, I would not say that is acceptable.

    Straight with fall away is great for a Martin acoustic, but not much else.

    Of course, I am only basing this on playing and adjusting a few thousand guitars over the last three years and having a basic understanding of physics.

    If a customer requests a straight neck on a setup, that is fine. However, requesting a straight neck, low action, and no buzz are all on the order, it shows a lack of understanding of how strings move.

    :nono:
     
  3. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I want my action so low that I can play the notes by looking at them, so I'm pretty sure that impossible without some buzzy.
     
  4. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    Honestly this is one of those endless arguments. I'm not convinced by the rationale for relief, and people just as qualified as you have provided rationale for straight necks with falloff that make more sense to me.

    At the end of the day your "thousands of guitars" are no better than someone else's thousands of guitars so I'll leave it be, but I am not a believer in necessary relief.
     
  5. mniel8195

    mniel8195 SS.org Regular

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    This is suhr spec and it always works for me on standard tuned 6 string guitar. .005" neck relief at the 7th fret. THE D AND G STRING MUST CLEAR! Hold down the first fret and the 17th fret and measure it. Assuming your nut and saddles are set correctly you set the string at the last fret at 4/64th from the top of the fret.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I wish I could say that if you told a tech "I want no buzzing, but I want low action," then the tech should be able to find a happy medium for you that satisfies one as much as the other; however, different playing techniques and pick attack styles result in a wide variety of buzzes and rattles, making it pretty much impossible to set a guitar up to that happy medium for a specific player easily.
     
  7. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    It is only an endless argument if you cannot understand that a string in motion is an ellipse rather than a straight line.

    Very few manufacturers use falloff on their fret boards.
     
  8. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    There are lots of things that very few manufacturers do. It's usually because it's easier, not because it's optimal.

    Crimson Guitars are advocates of falloff. I've spoken to lifelong techs on both sides of the equation. I've read and tried both, sometimes on the same guitar after different techs have worked on it.

    I had intended to simply allow you your opinion, but if you're going to insist that your opinion is the only correct one, you're quite welcome to sit and swivel.
     
  9. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    I've never seen rationale for falloff on guitars without construction quirks, but plenty of haughty remarks. Since you are an advocate, care to provide a reference?
     
  10. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    Sure.


    https://youtu.be/8QH3LRAgRDk


    There you go. Any problems with the technique, take them up with the professional luthier who spends all day every day either teaching students or building custom guitars.
     
  11. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    I've watched that video and as far as I can remember, he doesn't provide a rationale. I'm not watching a 25 minute video to confirm that.
     
  12. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    Cool. Then we can stop having this back and forth where I say I trust someone's judgement and then someone else pulls out their guitar tech e-wang to tell me I shouldn't.

    Take it to crimson if you want to tell them how to do their job.
     
  13. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Regarding the above discussion, it's pretty clear that falloff is a good idea.
    The question of relief vs flat is a case of low action and equal buzz all over the neck (flat), or less buzz below the 12th fret with slightly higher action from the relief.

    Here's a crappy illustration with some awful text. Drawing is fairly accurate with all frets being 5mm high, nut being 7mm high and saddle being 10mm high. Random numbers, but consistent for clear illustration. I'd do it in CAD and fully intend to, to find an optimum, but I'm in a hurry right now.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From this diagram it should be clear that:

    Levelled, no relief = Low action across the board simply increasing from nut to bridge height. Buzz equal on every fret as the string is roughly the same distance from the next fret every time.

    Levelled, relief = Less buzz below fret 12 in exchange for higher action there. Can buzz around the question marks in the drawing just the same

    Levelled, relief, falloff = Will reduce buzz in the high end around the question marks and should allow lower action

    Levelled, no relief, falloff = Will reduce buzz in the highest frets whilst increasing action there, but not particularly useful as can't lower the action overall else the bottom of the board will be no good

    Perhaps the ideal, though difficult to accomplish, would be flat with each fret very slightly lower than the last. I don't think in practice though that would be much difference to flat with no relief. As you could bring the bridge down lower but it would overall be just an angled version of my first drawing.

    All this is forgetting about the way a string oscillates more in its center, too. Bearing that in mind, falloff should be even more helpful given more oscillation around the highest frets when playing around the middle of the board. Of course there is a limit to how helpful it can be,depending on the construction of the guitar and how far the relief goes. Generally the relief will not run to the end of the fretboard like my drawing, perhaps making fret 17 just as much of an obstruction as fret 24
     
  14. beerandbeards

    beerandbeards Majestic Shoveler

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    In theory, if the nut is 7mm, the frets are 5mm, and the saddles are 10mm; then when the neck is flat the strings wouldn't buzz because you should still have a 2mm clearance at the nut and increasing toward the bridge.

    Did I understand that correctly? Or am I missing another factor not in that equation such as String Guage, vibration when playing etc..
     
  15. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Fretting! The circled areas with Xs represent buzz. You fret 1, the string is very close to 2. You fret 3, the string is very close to 4.

    For open strings yes your understanding was correct but my numbers were made up just for drawing. 2mm is a lot! Would be much, much less.
     
  16. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    Why does it matter if it's close? Does the string always vibrate a fixed amount when measured at the next fret? Shouldn't you be looking at the clearance angle, as opposed to the clearance distance? As far as I understand, strings vibrate like this:

    [​IMG]

    If we take the angle between the resting string and the curve the fundamental describes, that should be the clearance we're looking for.
     
  17. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Absolutely, I'm sure you could calculate it - it was just a general diagram of why things buzz and how relief and fallaway are meant to help certain areas. If its very close, it will buzz. That's why action is always a compromise with tone. But there's a difference between being close enough to buzz a little, close enough to buzz a lot, and close enough for a dead note of course.
     
  18. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    That diagram seems to be showing harmonic nodes , which is why the pitch is higher lower down the fretboard. Harmonic 12 vs 7 vs 5 vs 3.
    A fretted or open string will always vibrate its full fundamental, and the overtones at the same time. But in terms of action its overthinking it really, any kind of vibration, things close are going to get in the way - without relief that will be the next fret. With relief that will be the upper frets
     
  19. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    That diagram shows an open string, then the natural harmonics, not fretted notes, which is why the string is vibrating in halves, thirds, etc.

    Fretted notes (which for the purpose of this discussion are the only notes we have any interest in) will always vibrate like the first diagram shown - one single excursion, where the widest point of that excursion is halfway up the string.

    So for the 12th fret harmonic, because that's the same note as the fretted string, the right half of that diagram does show the correct thing - the string's point of widest movement is at the halfway point between 12th fret and bridge, AKA the 24th fret. The string behind the finger wouldn't be vibrating, however.

    But for the 3rd picture, which is the 7th fret harmonic, the shown movement is totally different between the harmonic and the fretted note - in fact, the point of LEAST movement in your diagram would be the point of MOST movement for a fretted note.

    So lets say we have a totally, 100% bolt straight neck.

    If you fretted the 7th fret, and the string described a curve as it does in that first diagram of the open string, then that ellipse is at it's widest excursion directly over the 19th fret.

    If you then add relief to that neck, you're effectively moving the 7th fret down and the 19th and 0 frets *up* in relation to it, bringing the 19th fret closer to the widest part of the shown curve - in other words, you're potentially making the string fretted at the 7th fret, rattle against the 19th fret, which you've raised up beyond where it would be on a perfectly flat neck.

    But, if you do that, then your action on the open string can be lower because your curve in the neck now more closely matches the arc of the open vibrating string.

    Further complicating the issue is - is a 12th fret fretted string moving physically as far side to side, as the open string? Obviously, no, it's not. It's moving half the distance at twice the frequency, so you can get away with progressively less and less action up the neck to an extent, but at the same time there's less momentum in that movement, so any buzz at the high frets will kill sustain faster than buzz lower down the neck.


    It's a very complex problem but I think falloff solves a lot of the issues that arise when you consider the vibrations of more than just the OPEN strings, whereas relief only really solves the problem of open string action. (Also relief can send your notes at the 7th fret sharp as the string needs to be pressed further down in order to make contact with the top of the fret.)
     
  20. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    Very interesting points, thanks for sharing.
     

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