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Replaced strings and they buzz(A&D)


(@guitarmonkey)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

I just replaced my strings and they buzz. Before they were 9-42 Nickel-Plated Steel and now they are Ernie Ball Extra Slinky 8-38 NIckel Wound. Only the A and D strings buzz and i believe they buzz at the first frett or somewhere around there. I have a Strat look-a-like. Do i just need to raise the action? and also on my strat, what do the screws on teh end of my bridge do?


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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2340
 

There's many ways to look at it.

One would be raise the action, reset the intonation. and ending up spending more time trying to get it adjusted to sound right, than you would be playing. which some will say well thats how you learn is by doing. this is true. But if this is your primary guitar (meaning your only one). If things go wrong tonight, your out a guitar till you get it to a shop or spend more time trying to straighten in out. not including the right tools needed to do this.

Which means less playing and practicing.

Second way would be to just play it. when you get a chance put the same 9-42 strings back on it. That way you don't have to re-adjust it again if you don't like the small strings. I've got guitars that fret rattle and rock& roll, and have been that way for years and will continue to be that way. Sure I spend time adjusting them to no end and that still didn't help.

Then sometime pickup a another guitar and practice making adjustments to that one. Then research what tools you'll need to for doing this kind of work. Practice setting the intonation, adjusting the bridge,etc..You can find old guitars folks don't love anymore for cheap in the newspaper, pawn shops, e-bay..

just my thoughts.. didn't want to see you be without tonight.

joe bandy


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

It would make sense that you might have to raise the strings for a lighter guage, but it's not a definite. Another thing to watch for is a change in the neck relief. Since the tension is now less, it is very possible the neck now has less, no or even a slight negative relief and this could cause the buzzing. Before making any other changes, you should check the neck to make sure it is not slightly "back-bowed" now that the strings no long pull as much as they did. Sighting down the neck can give you a rough idea, but using a good straightedge to check neck bow from frets one to twelve or fourteen is better. Sometimes in this case I simply loosen the truss rod a quarter turn to see if things improve a bit -- but this can be a case of two wrongs making not quite right, as extra relief can mask other misadjustments.

If all this sounds mystifying, take it to a tech when you get a chance -- (s)he very likely can fix this in minutes. As you've changed string guages, you probably need to adjust intonation anyway.

Joe's advice is on the mark -- there is a lot to learn, but if this is your only guitar, be careful. As a teenager, I managed to snap the truss rod of my first electric guitar and was forced to play my brother $25 cheese slicer while I learned to rebuild mine. Quite a lesson.

-=tension & release=-


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(@97reb)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1223
 

This is all good advice, and in addition there are websites that can help. Like this one, just ask your questions, because we are here to help. Also, while you are on your computer, check your local library's card catalog to see if they have books dealing with guitar maintenence. You might find some stuff at the library about guitars you did not know they carried. That is even more free advice. Good Luck. Also, just my opinion 9's are just as low as you want to go on your guitar. A set of 8's just has no substance to them. I find they go out of tune more and you will break more high E's.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

I'll go with a different possible cause...

Take a real close look at the nut. If the string slots are more 'V' shapped rather than 'U' shaped at the bottom, it's possible that the thinner gauge strings are sitting a touch lower in the slots... and that's more likely to happen with the thicker (wound) strings.

If that's the cause, you've got three choices:

1. Take the nut off and shim it so it sits a bit higher
2. Replace the nut
3. Go back to heavier strings.

What gnease says about neck relief is unlikely, in my opinion. Neck relief can cause buzzing, but it usually shows up on either starts at one side of the neck, or affects all the strings at once. If your low E doesn't buzz, and your A does, the cause probably isn't relief.

What Joe says is dead on - don't learn to do setups on your primary guitar. Everyone makes mistakes in learning, and if your axe needs to sit in a shop for a week or two, it's an expensive lesson in more ways than one.

Oh yeah, the screws in the bridge... the ones in the tail of the bridge on a Strat adjust the string length (for intonation adjustments) and the two tiny ones that sit on the sides of each string will allow you to adjust individual string height.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@guitarmonkey)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

Wow thanks for the help. Well I probably won't do anything major to it. Maybe nothing at all. I just want to try out these strings because a friend recomened them. Actually you can really only hear it buzz when i use my thumb which i never do. also the screws on the bridge that adjust string height are really tight the lowest E is the tightest and teh get loose from low E to high E. should i do anything to this? Whats it for anyway? I get to adjust string length but why would you do that?


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5468
 

You can actually repair a nut with grooves too deep or v like. You sand a bit of the nut material off the top, fill the groove with the filings, add a touch of superglue and file to fit.

Although it could be anything, I wouldn't rule out Greg's suggestion. It could be a combination of things, action is higher on the bass side than treble. So even though it ain't much, the E is set higher than the A which is set higher than the D. A single fret that isn't too high with the relief set for 10s could buzz like hell when set for 9s

I don't recommend anyone messing with their truss rod anyway. Take it to a pro and have them show you what to do. Then you can be truss rod king.

Having a good metal straight edge is a good idea. You can diagnose a lot of problems with one.


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

Frame of reference: I mentioned neck relief because I just had to do this exact adjustment this weekend when changing from a set of flatwounds to a slightly "lighter" set of Beefy Slinkys. I was able to differentiate between a nut and relief problem almost automatically, as mine buzzed at the first fret as well as on the open string. BTW, this a simple way to diagnose a nut versus other issue: If the buzz goes away upon fretting at the first fret, it's probably the nut.

I will agree that neck relief isn't usually the first thing I check, but on the scale of difficulty it sure is easier to fix than the nut. OTOH, I'd rather adjust the bridge than the neck...

-=tension & release=-


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