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bridge problems

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(@ecdubs17)
New Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

i have a Parker electric guitar, and recently i've had a pretty serious problem with my strings getting caught below the 12th fret or so. i've turned the bridge upside down since those ridges are filed out more and that's helped a little bit. recently a tech at Guitar Center told me i needed a new bridge. Do i really need a new bridge? or maybe just file it out more? Or file down the fret? Any suggestions would help, thanks.


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

before I would have flipped the bridge over I would have adjusted the truss rod. tightening could have increased the neck bow and eliminating the fret buzz. the thing is, I have never had to adjust a truss rod.
bridges have a curve to them or profile, if you will, that matches the profile, radias, of the fretboard/neck. when you flipped the bridge upside down you whacked things further.
I would have used the bridge adjustment screws to raise the bridge. the action would be higher, but the strings would not be buzzing the frets.
if you have begun filing your bridge maybe it is time for a replacement.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@ecdubs17)
New Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

maybe you misunderstood what the problem is... i dont have a fret buzz. my problem is that every now and then, say when i strum hard, my string actually gets caught below the fret, and stays there. so my question was, is that a fret problem (maybe a spur on the fret that catches the string?) or is that a bridge problem?


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

High e getting caught under the end of a fret? I've seen this on some bound necks where the fret tang is undercut to allow the fret to lay on top of the binding. On many Parkers, I believe the stainless steel fret are glued onto the fingerboard (your model like this?). I can see how getting a string caught could happen if the fret is not perfectly curved to conform to the fingerboard radius and/or not completely glued down all the way out to its edge -- or if the edge of the fret is damaged. Raising the action (bridge adjustment) might help, but I would return it to Parker for repairs to the frets.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

maybe you misunderstood what the problem is... i dont have a fret buzz. my problem is that every now and then, say when i strum hard, my string actually gets caught below the fret, and stays there. so my question was, is that a fret problem (maybe a spur on the fret that catches the string?) or is that a bridge problem?

I did mis understand. glued on fret wire??? yikes. perhaps filing the end of the fret will help.
and maybe altering your strumming technique too.
this is new territory for me. I never had a string do that.
sorry.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@phangeaux)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 144
 

I'm not sure that I visualize your problem correctly, so please comment. Your high e string is catching under the outside edge of a fret? If you run your fingers along the edge of the fretboard the frets should be smooth and there should be no place for a string to catch.

HOWEVER, wood will SHRINK due to drying out in low humidity conditions and this can cause the edges of the metal frets to become slightly exposed, enough to catch a string. If you have an air conditioner in your home and you ran it all summer this could be a cause, since an air conditioner removes moisture from the air and reduces relative humidity, or if you live in a climate which is dry or also if you live in a cold northern region the air can be very very dry in the winter and dry-out/shrink wood. This is a cause for squeeky wooden floors and squeeky wooden stairs by the way. In such an environment you need to humidify the air in the winter. It will also make the living space much more comfortable for you at lower heat settings and you will use less heating fuel if you add humidity to the air in the house in the winter time. I don''t want to take the time to explain why but trust me, it is true, I learned all about it in HVAC school. You may even significantly reduce squeeky floors and stairs as the wood expands.

Once in awhile I notice that the wood on some of my guitars is shrinking because when I run my fingers along the outside edge of the fretboard I can feel the rough edges of the frets protruding slightly especially on some acoustic guitars. What I did for a quick fix is placed a guitar or two on a stand in the bathroom when I took a hot shower, also leaving the tub with hot water in it and sink full of hot water, with the room getting all steamed up and water in the tub and sink evaporating into the air this creates a high humidity environment which allows the wood in the guitars to re-absorb some water vapor (humidity) and expand. OR, I would put a few guitars in there, turn on the hot shower and let the tub fill at least 6 inches deep, fill the sink with hot water and leave the guitars in there for a few hours. The guitars will reabsorb moisture. The differnece in humidity between the dry wood and the moisture laden are is called 'vapor pressure' and it will tend to equalize- in other words high vapor pressure (in the moisture laden air) will move into a low vapor pressure (in the dry wood of the guitar). You might have to do this 2 or 3 times, but it always works for me and makes me happy that my guitars are comfortable again. (and me too)

Meanwhile, I have realized that I have low humidity conditions in my apartment so I try to humidify quickly by boiling a large pot of water on the stove until the windows fog up. That moisture will be absorbed quickly into furniture etc., so I may do two or 3 large pots of water over a day or two. That is probably not even enough if the relative humidty inside the house has been low for quite awhile. (inside air often has a different relative humidity than outside air so you can't depend on the local weather conditions) More practically, one should have a simple dehumidifier for this purpose, even one of those small dehumidifiers used with cold medicines will work OK to dehumidify a single room.

Air conditioners remove humidity and this is part of what they do to make you feel cooler. The less humidity, the more rapid the evaporation of moisture on your skin which cools you down quick. In the winter you want the oposite condition- more humidity which results in less evaporation and cooling effect, which makes you feel warmer without even raising the temperature in the room. Guitars however like a fairly constant level of relative humidity.

Anyhoo... without looking this up, guitars are manufactured in humdity controlled environments and I think the relative humidity is about 70% in manufacturing facilities- Without looking it up for a precise number I think that one is correct or close to it. I think they maybe allow for some shrinkage after the guitar leaves the factory and goes into less humid environments. I know that it should be at very minimum at least 60%, Therefore, often times guitars will find their way to much lower relative humidity environments and wood will dry out and shrink.

If you have cases for your guitars you can use case dehumidifiers or make one yourself. (look them up) these would be excellent in air conditiond spaces (low humidity) during hot summer months and during cold winters (low humidity conditions in the house). Dry air can suck up moisture quite rapidly.

A good barometer on a wall would be convenient to have. I don't have one but I should get one.

Room humidifies are inexpensive, I have 14 guitars, a nice 5 string Banjo, a Cello, Vintage Ludwig and Gretsch drums from the 1930s, a huge expensive church organ and other stuff, so I really should pay heed to my own advice and start monitoring indoor relative humidity and get at least one dehumidifier.

I hope that might help with your problem. By the way you will definately notice an improvement on the edge of a dried out fretboard after humidifying a dried out guitar.

Now, all that being said, I do not understand how a bridge could cause this problem, unless you are suggesting that it is worn and not aligning the e string properly along the edge of the fretboard (string being too close to the edge?) in which case maybe you do need a new bridge if that one can't ortherwise be fixed or the condition remedied and maybe you are dealing with two problems here.

I hope that helps some readers.. sorry if I wrote too much or was redundant.

Take care,

Phangeaux
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(@phangeaux)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 144
 

maybe you misunderstood what the problem is... i dont have a fret buzz. my problem is that every now and then, say when i strum hard, my string actually gets caught below the fret, and stays there. so my question was, is that a fret problem (maybe a spur on the fret that catches the string?) or is that a bridge problem?

Are you tuned too low or are your strings too light (too slinky) for that type of playing? It would seem so. Check your tuning to see if you are tuned up to pitch, then if the strings are too slinky for that style of strumming then go to a heavier string set (preferred) or at least go up a guage or two on the high e-string.

Phangeaux
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