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Ok, so I got this job, for a Jimmy Vaughan Strat. I get it home, there's almost no relief in the neck. I adjust the truss rod, bringing the neck dead flat. Jig it up in my neck jig, set my dial indicators, lock my rods, take the strings off, loosen the truss rod, using the pull strap and working the neck around, I get it zero'd back. Everything looks good, so I use my steel beam with sandpaper to take kiss off the fret tops, found a few high spots and a few low spots, everything looks good, maybe I've taken off .002, but not more than that. I tape off at the 7th fret and file a sand a slight drop away at the 17-21st frets. So, I crown the frets, polish out, string up the guitar and tighten the truss rod back dead flat. The action is .080 at the 12th fret on the low e, and .075 at the high e, there's still a good amount of buzz at the second, third, and fourth frets.

I start adding relief, it doesn't start to really clean up until there.s about .020 of relief. That's way too much.

The customer comes over and checks it out, he's not happy, and neither am I.

So, back in the neck jig. Do all my adjusting, this time, just in case it's the double stick tape holding the sandpaper giving slightly, I use my diamond coated sharpening stone. This finds a little high spot at the 9th and 10th frets, but other than that, the frets are dead flat. Recrown and polish the frets, string back up, still some buzz. I have to add at least .010 of relief, and have the action same as before to get this thing to play without too much buzz, but there's still buzz. Sounds like it is buzzing on the frets right above where I'm fretting, not up high on the neck. I take my straight edge rocker and check, I can't find a rock anywhere on the fret board. Use my straight edge, there's still the fall away.

Everything is as it should be. I just don't get it.

There's only one more thing to try, I've been using the same strings that came with it, I was going to put new strings on before setting the intonation, but I noticed some slight flat spots on the d string, probably because the guy has a death grip, I think. So, before I do anything else, I'm going to swap out strings, probably tomorrow morning, and see what I get.

If that doesn't work, does anyone have any other suggestions?

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I put on Hybrid Slinky's, .009-.046....

The neck angle seems ok to the saddle heights, right where it should be...

Yeah, the Jimmy Vaughan model is made in Mexico....
I'm an authorized Fender warranty tech. They had a run of necks last year that were bad...radius machine set up wrong. I had a Tele we swapped out, and a 69 reissue that the customer returned. The tele was way bad. You could see the fingerboard valleys just by sighting down the neck. Does the serial # start with M621?
Ok, the customer just picked it up and decided that it was good enough. Can you believe that? He seemed pretty happy.

I wasn't. I wish I had recorded the serial number.

I'm going to have to start writing up real work tickets and logging some of this info in a database, now that I seem to be picking up a lot of the setup work that the main repair guy in the Bloomington/Normal area used to do.

He retired a month ago. I got a good deal on Honduran Mahogany from the old Hamer guitar factory in Chicago.....
so:
frets are good (under string tension)
strings are good...

maybe its something ringing in sympathy? another saddle or something under the scratch plate, truss rod, machine head?
I'm sure youve seen them all before and worked your way through them... clutching at straws!
Ok, one thing that I haven't done yet is try making a sharper crown on the frets. I'm using the old Stew-Mac offset diamond crowning file, the one with 2 grits on the file. That's what I've used for the past 15 years, still going strong by the way, and I've never had this problem before. But, maybe try using the Kant file to put a sharper crown on the frets????/
Ok, thanks to everybody for their suggestions and input! I really appreciate it! The customer picked up his guitar and decided it was good enough, and that he was relatively happy with it.

And he was pretty happy about the repair I did n his Gibson L-7, too.
just a short afterword then....

When stringed up to pitch, the fretboard ought to have a concavity
that resembles the underside cigar form of the singing string.
I understand this is the only way to an optimal low action
and checking the relief is no way to estimate this form.

Maybe you already have been in on this Kevin, but if there is
a “neck dead straight”, then you will probably have the buzz
coming, when approaching a good low action.
This is a great forum! I've been using frets.com as a reference source for many years. I'm a part-time musician and amateur luthier, meaning I like to do my own work. I just did my first fret job on my '87 strat ('57 reissue). It's a really killer guitar, but the frets were shot. I know I should have done my first fret job on a cheapo, but I'm impatient that way, and the guitar is pretty beat up, so a few file slips aren't noticeable. It came out really nice!

When I finished, I noticed a lot of little buzzing -- it was driving me crazy! Then I compared it to my brand new Custom Shop limited edition Tele, and noticed that it buzzed in the same places. This is with the guitar unplugged. Plugged in, you can't hear the buzzes on either one. I went to my local guitar shop, and I couldn't find an electric guitar that didn't have some buzzes unplugged. I think it's the nature of the beast. Once I started paying attention to the unplugged buzziness, I heard it everywhere.

However, I played the strat with my band last night, and got lots of comments on how great it sounded. Good enough for me!

I look forward to learning more from you all!
One thing that was not mentioned in this forum , and it is unlikely on a fender , is that you can have loose frets which are all level until you put some pressure on them , and then they drop down into the fret board and the string buzzes on the following fret . Its not common but it happens and can waste a lot of time . Len

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