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  1. #1
    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 03:54 AM
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    Default New Electric Guitar Player Here

    So, I have an accoustic - but treated myself to an electric guitar as a Christmas present to myself. Yes - it's a cheap one ($149 Best Buy special that is a mimic of a Les Paul).

    Here is my question - second string, second fret - for the life of me, I can't get a clean note out of it - it's like the string is hitting something and buzzing. Normally I'd assume it's my newness - however as I've played my accoustic a bit and don't have the issue - I'm assuming I need to make an adjustment on the neck somehow.

    I've done a basic search of the web - but can't find anything. Was wondering if one of the many experts on this site had any suggestions / insights?

    Thanks!!
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  2. #2
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    May want to ask one of the mods to move this to the Guitar Room. Lots of knowlege over there.


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  3. #3
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 09:23 PM
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    With an inexpensive guitar it could be related to all kinds of setup issues. Even an expensive guitar is prone to some of these things but the quality control is typically better (but not always). Poor storage (humidity too low, etc.) at the music store can also cause issues. Perhaps you could post a URL to the Best Buy web site showing the exact guitar you purchased. Is the problem only on the second string when pressing down the second fret? Does it buzz excessively on the low E or A strings? If it's just on the second string unfortunately it may have uneven frets and a guitar at that price point probably isn't worth doing a fret level on. You *could* also adjust the relief of the neck (amount of "bow") but I'd rather not suggest that to someone who is new to electric guitars, unless you have done it on another guitar.

    Is the overall action of the strings really low, with the strings really close to the frets? To me, that's the easiest adjustment for a beginner to make. Typically on a Les Paul style guitar you have a stop bar which the strings go through, and then they go over a bridge with six saddles on it. Gibson calls that a Tune-O-Matic or TOM bridge. That bridge should sit on posts and there should be some sort of thumbscrews on those posts that can be raised or lowered on each side of the bridge. You'd have to loosen the strings a little, you'll know when it's enough, and then you could adjust those thumbscrews under the bridge to ever so slightly raise the string action. The low E string side would typically be a little higher (because the strings are thicker) than the high E string side (which has thin strings of course). You shouldn't have to raise the bridge a mile high though to cure string buzzing or fretting out. These are the very basic steps and there are a ton of other relationships going on between the parts on the guitar. At least a Tune-O-Matic style of bridge is a lot easier to comprehend when compared to say a Floyd Rose-style floating bridge. If raising the bridge a bit still doesn't help the situation at all then a neck relief adjustment may be in order. It should be done with precise measuring tools, but the eye test will work as well. When you look down the neck does it look straight, does it bow away from the strings, or does it bow toward the strings? This bow will be very subtle so you'll have to study it. To do this you would need to locate the truss rod if the guitar even has one. The end of the truss rod is typically under a little plastic cover on the headstock where it meets the top of the neck. The guitar also very likely came with a little wrench to make this adjustment, if there is a truss rod inside the neck. I wouldn't go there yet for now until you verify some of those other things above.

    You could also just take the guitar to a luthier to have the setup completely gone over, but once again at this price point you're probably better trying to cure this yourself if you take it slow. Plus there are a lot of really bad luthiers around and you could end up shelling out the money and not be in any better shape. I don't even know if Best Buy has any legitimate guitar techs on hand on certain days- seems doubtful.

  4. #4
    Eruption
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    12.15.17 @ 06:41 AM
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    Try changing out the strings. Low end guitars usually come with cheap strings. This might not solve the issue, but its a cheap and easy thing to try.
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  5. #5
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    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
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    OK. If it's just the second string, then it's one of three things. If it buzzes open, then disappears as you play higher, then it maybe a nut slot cut too low. If it's just within a three or four fret region then sounds clean immediately after a subsequent fret, then you have an unlevel fret. If it buzzes pretty much through the range of the necks length, then it's most likely (and hopefully) nothing more than a simple action adjustment to the saddle. Simply adjust the height of the saddle up till the buzz goes away.
    It definately sounds like a single string issue, but the neck may need a slightly more bit of relief (bow in the middle of the neck) which may help a bit to not have the action of that string be rediculously high compared to the others.
    Simple handy way to tell if its just a high fret is to use the edge of a credit card and move along the problem string in 3 fret increments and try rocking the card. If you get a rock, then you have a high fret. Let me know, and I can help you with a fix with a few inexpensive tools.

  6. #6
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 09:23 PM
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    Good call on the nut slot! I was doing other work and forgot about that one. Not that it's an easy fix, well at least for someone who has no guitar repair experience. The way the nuts are cut pisses me off on a lot of guitars. I have found Epiphone to be notorious with this even on their higher end models. Of course people have complained about the same thing with $3,000 Gibsons. You're a braver man than I for suggesting an easy fret level procedure for someone to do. I wasn't going to go there... ha

  7. #7
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyBHarris View Post
    Try changing out the strings. Low end guitars usually come with cheap strings. This might not solve the issue, but its a cheap and easy thing to try.
    Plus you won't have black hands every time you play the guitar! A minor pet peeve, but how difficult or expensive could it be for manufacturers to install quality strings? It seems that at least Fender actually does install their own name brand strings as they advertise. Both my Highway One Strat and my Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster did not give me black hand syndrome. Plus the factory nuts were cut perfect and even the setup/intonation was right on the money with both of those guitars out of the box. It's pretty easy and quick to change strings on a non-Floyd guitar but at age 48 with career and family I just don't have the time like I did when I was 18.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkost View Post
    Plus you won't have black hands every time you play the guitar! A minor pet peeve, but how difficult or expensive could it be for manufacturers to install quality strings? It seems that at least Fender actually does install their own name brand strings as they advertise. Both my Highway One Strat and my Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster did not give me black hand syndrome. Plus the factory nuts were cut perfect and even the setup/intonation was right on the money with both of those guitars out of the box. It's pretty easy and quick to change strings on a non-Floyd guitar but at age 48 with career and family I just don't have the time like I did when I was 18.
    Yeah, I know. You'd think in a factory that does this every day, it wouldn't happen, but even US models have the odd one that's too low. There's a product I saw recently that you mix up in two parts, and mush down into the slot, then once it's hardened you can shape sand and recut it. It's supposed to be as reliable as bone and last as long with normal use, so something to look around for. I think it's actually originally made for repairing engineered counter tops like Corian.

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone!!!

 

 

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