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CAN'T FIGURE OUT PROBLEM: shim, nut, truss bar, etc

4 Posts
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New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

Long story short, I have played on and off my whole life and my peak skill level would be something around a 3 (1 rookie, 5 intermediate). However, my setup and repair knowledge barely encompasses putting on strings. Anyways, I made a spur of the moment decision to buy a used guitar at a VERY low price. It is a PRS soapbar II. I received the guitar with a set of 10's and the action was very low and there was no buzz. Because of this, I never thought to inspect the neck so I don't know if the problem was present before I changed string sizes.

So I put on a set of 12's and the guitar buzzed on the low E and A strings starting around the 10th fret and I assume the buzz went all the way up the neck. I tried to fix this by 1)playing around with string size, 2)tailpiece height adjustment, and 3)minor truss bar tweaks. Well I havent been able to fix my problem and I am not going to do anything else with the truss bar until I know what Im doing. I took the guitar to a local shop and the man said he couldn't do much unless I paid for a full set up (bc of his manager) but he mentioned that the neck looks warped. My current set up has the action slightly higher than I find playable, yet there is still buzzing on the low E and A string (slight between the 5th-9th, awful the rest of the way up)

I am hearing so many different things on various forum posts so I want to find an answer direct to my problem

I do not have a straight edge, but I will try and list the string distance from various frets and other markers. I am going to list these based on a scale based on "10" being the distance from the top of the tailpeice to the body
1st fret- 1
9th fret- 2
23rd fret- 2.2

Holding down the strings at the 5th and 23rd fret show a (seemingly) uniform backwards bow.

I would like some opinions about where my adj needs to be made, or how to achieve the best at-home set up. I am not going to pay for expensive neck rebuilds as the guitar is only a $275 investment. I am looking for a process to get set up correctly (as it was when I received it, or set up as best as possible (if a rebuild/expensive fix) is needed.

Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 8

Hi,by changing the string size you have increased the tension on the neck, and the truss rod must be loosened. Also are those strings sitting in the nut?

Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 518

By going bigger you want to slightly TIGHTEN the truss rod! not a lot, just a tinch. People get themselves in more trouble messing with the truss rod than almost anything. Check relief by putting a capo at the first fret and another one about where the body and neck meet, check relief by measuring string to fret tops all along the neck, it should be kinda bowed in the middle. Not enough bow and you get buzzing, too much bow and you get buzzing also but at the body end and also your action will be a little high. So, go slow, and be conservative. If the truss nut is hard to turn, STOP! You may wanna get pro help, if the truss rod breaks, it is a major job to replace and you don't wanna know about that or the cost.

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.

Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 848

I would really recommend getting that full setup. Its a used guitar, that you really don't know any past history on. It played well till you changed strings, and now its buzzing. At this point you are not looking to just fix the buzz. You really need to get the guitar gone through with the strings you want on it so you A) know where everything is setup wise, and B) have a nice baseline to get used to the guitar, and make adjustments to fit your playing style. Bouncing around with adjustments trying to chase the buzz, might cause other issues. You really need to start from square one.

Paul B