Anybody know any cheats to get rid of some localized slight buzzing frets on an acoustic.  If I play light it's okay....

Low "E" string only buzzes at the 2nd and 3rd fret.

"D" string only buzzes at the 2 to 4th fret.

The frets are rock.The frets are sloped down from the 12th fret to the end

The nut is set at correct depth.

The string height at 12th fret is 3/32

The neck was set perfect.....very flat to the bridge.  no upward or downward angle.  The top is not buldged.  Normal.

Neck Relief is about .006 ...I really don't want to give it more relief.  I can get rid of the buzz at about .015 relief

Is there a cheat to work the frets in a certain way or such at the buzzing frets?  Anything else to look for?

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 ....Everyone knows that you can use a short block if you're careful.

Sure... but you should probably be willing to give a little on the action if it doesn't turn out as well as it would otherwise. 

Good Fret work is in the detail. I'm not particularly good at it but I've certainly learned that much. For someone like me there just isn't much in the way of short cuts so I've figured out that I need to do it by the numbers. There really don't seem to be any "cheats" that can compensate for bad fretwork unless you are willing to give up something, usually starting with action.

What Joshua said is pretty much what I was thinking and I still think it boils down to a poor setup overall. You already posted a thread about cutting nut slots, which, to me, sounds like they might be a bit oversized given that you are adding the doubled thickness of the sand paper to the string. Now you are talking about correcting buzzing that sounds like it could be connected to a too low or badly shaped saddle, which leads directly to my thinking that the setup is not good.

I can understand not wanting to spend so much on nut files and even the idea of wanting to do the work on your own. That's how I started doing things a few decades ago. Then I finally figured out that there is a reason that the best repair people do thing in the manner that they do them. Sure there is always room for innovation but it not very likely that it at the beginning of your learning curve. If you really want to do it right, you won't be interested in "cheats" but rather in learning how to do it to the best job you are capable of doing.  

BTW, you would not be the first person that was fooled by a "rocker" particularly if you insist on a very low action. And using a flat file on a curved surface takes practice too. It's possible to leave high and low spots over the width of the frets  and much easier to do if you don't remove the strings. Been there... 

If a saddle has an accurately curved radius and you suspect your having saddle related problems with the D string, the G is also likely have an issue. When I first started doing setups I would make the saddle radius the same as the fingerboard radius. I'm talking about a cylindrical shaped board, not conical. More often than not, this D, G problem would show up after I got everything else set. I learned that I could make the saddle a smaller radius, clean up the D, G problem and get my set up at or near my target setup. For example; a 16" radius fingerboard would get a 15" radius saddle. The difference in playability from 16" to 15" saddle is nill.

Accuracy of the saddle radius should always be suspect when on a buzz hunt. A buzz on the D and low E only, in my opinion, is likely to have multiple issues.

With all deference to the more experienced master craftsmen on this thread and with respect for the original poster:

  • It is very difficult to get a proper fret leveling with a short block.  I've tried it for years and finally went to a Luthier school to learn fretwork.  It was worth every penny.
  • The nut slot depth only comes into play with open strings.  This is why I set up action relative to the first fret - not the open strings and then cut the nut slots to depth. 
  • Check east string height relative to the frets.  A stewmac string height gage really helps (one tool I can't do without)
  • Neck relief up to 0.020" is within normal expectations.  I "like" to have a relatively flat neck with about 0.005" but this is simply not possible with all necks (particularly those with fret and fingerboard wear). 

Setting up a perfect, new neck is one thing.  Setting up a neck that is 20+ years old or one with issues is another.  Sometimes compromises are necessary to achieve acceptable playability that deviate from the ideal.  I had a neck on the bench last week that was a "W" shape - high at both ends and in the middle.  Two high frets and a real basket case.  Pondered how to set it up on my neck jig (yup - I use one of those) for 30 minutes and ended up with a balance of truss rod and jack positions that let me level the frets and still have material left over.  .It was not ideal but it worked (and I communicated what I did to the customer).

In summary - I suggest that you add some relief to the neck.  Relief will increase string height in the first 5 positions relative to the frets and the guitar will likely be playable.  Don't get too hung up on the numbers - focus on playability.  I'll disclose that this is really difficult to do for me - I get fixated on the numbers sometimes, LOL

Cheers and best of luck.

I've been trying very hard (for me...) to stay out of this thread and the previous one promoting that ash tray thing that's way too short to properly level and dress frets.  Didn't want to be disrespectful or argue.  But as always I have to agree with Paul and much of what I read makes me cringe and shake my head at the wrong causation being assigned to specific problems.

In the OP's original post he mentions that the frets are perfectly level as per the fret rocker.....  Fret rockers are no way to check the entire fret plane for levelness.  Instead there are only two ways that I consider reliable.

First long beams precision milled for flatness on a certified surface plate with bluing and a goal of less than .001" tolerances.  We must always consider the fret plane as the strings see it since they are natural straight edges.

Second a PLEK although flawed in that the measurement function uses the very same frame as the cutting/business end of the machine.  A cardinal rule for machinists is to never use the same tooling used to work the piece to measure the piece....

Regarding incorrect causation IME heavier strings may help with buzzing for two other reasons not mentioned.  First a heavier string will arch over the nut (sad saddle) to a greater degree because it's thicker and more difficult to bend into submission and the plane that the string assumes to the saddle than a lighter string.

Next lighter strings lash out more, interfere with frets more than heavier strings and if this seems contrary to your thinking welcome to the club - I felt the same way.  Heavier strings have more inertia to overcome and start lashing to the degree that they will.  Lighter strings have less mass, less inertia to overcome and are more free to lash further and quicker.  As such a heavier string may not buzz where a lighter string did if the set-up is on the cusp of making this happen.

If this guitar came into my shop step one would be a proper, precision fret dress to be sure that the fret plane is not the limiting factor.

Can't remember who mentioned how the OP plays - absolutely key here to understand that and well said.

No offense intended but the other thread very much impressed me as a promotional thread for that TG ash tray thing that can't possibly be capable of a true precision fret leveling.  That's why I stayed out..... until now....  In fact I see a possibility that the tool may be very much responsible for the issues that this thread is about.  OP's action is high but still buzzing.

Maybe, possibly, it could be.... that the TG thing is the problem here and reliance on it may lead to a premature elimination from contention as one of the issues.  After all after first reading about how great the TG thing is and next we read about an instrument with acceptable, not overly low action not being right.... perhaps there's a connection....  Just a thought.

Quote: "I've been trying very hard (for me...) to stay out of this thread and the previous one promoting that ash tray thing that's way too short to properly level and dress frets.  Didn't want to be disrespectful or argue.  But as always I have to agree with Paul and much of what I read makes me cringe and shake my head at the wrong causation being assigned to specific problems."

- Snipped for Shortness -

Quote: "No offense intended but the other thread very much impressed me as a promotional thread for that TG ash tray thing that can't possibly be capable of a true precision fret leveling.  That's why I stayed out..... until now....  In fact I see a possibility that the tool may be very much responsible for the issues that this thread is about.  OP's action is high but still buzzing."


Hear, Hear. 

Thank you Hesh!

These excellent points, express powerfully felt sentiments.

Thoughts that I am sure the overwhelming majority of regular contributors to the Fora will strongly identify with.

I myself have begun to respond, to these threads on two occasions, only to abandon the attempts, precisely because of the very dichotomy, you have described, so superbly. The truth is, some folk, don't want to listen.

Hilariously, the first attempt collected the initial statements by the original poster, then contraposed them with the original posters later statements, quoting and highlighting where they negated, repudiated, counteracted and directly contradicted one another.

The primary nature and simplicity of Franks Fora, makes it a dangerous place to write, because once one posts their thoughts, ones complete ignorance or outstanding brilliance is there for all to see, read and judge one by. There's nothing one can do to correct anything, one later comes to realise, is actually, complete nonsense.

The exposure of blatant contradictions, although an amusing exercise in expositional cross examination at the start. Were so abundantly numerous, as to eventually become tediously predictable, by form of presentational technique. To the extent that there was a danger readers could have finally been led to feel considerable sympathy for the original poster.

Reeling like a drunk, as he would have been from the dynamic impact of the blows of point after distressingly embarrassing point. As he had written, the very points he would have been beaten about with, himself, there would be nowhere to run or hide.

This is the great strength of Franks Fora.

It separates Men from Boys.



If the original poster.

Lived in the City in which I hail from.

The first question that would be instantly posed to him would be, "Are You Teachable?"

Interestingly, at first the original poster repeatedly appears to be asking questions, only then to go on to appear to answer those questions, himself.

This reveals to me, that in reality, the original poster is not honestly seeking a genuine answer to the questions that he appears to be asking. This is the Salient Point to Absorb.

In reality, before he ever came to write his initial post, he had already, fully made up his own mind, regarding the issues he seems to be seeking a solution for. And he clearly exposes this fact this too, if you read his posts carefully.



So what's it really all about?

What is actually going on here?

Why bother to ask the questions?

This is the truly interesting aspect, of the threads, the original poster has initiated.

In my opinion, what the original poster is actually engaged in, is "Seeking Affirmation of Himself and his Methods".

He wants a Recognised, Authoritative Voice, to Heartily Endorse and Validate Himself and His Ridiculously Outlandish Approach to what he Laughingly Considers to be Luthery!



This is really, all about the original posters, Self Identity.

His Feelings of Self Worth, (or lack thereof) and an attempt to Establish Himself and Acquire Recognition, as he Externalises the Deluded, Internalised Self Image, he Imagines Himself As, Desires and Aspires To Be.



This is Why

He became so Defensive, when his ideas were called into question.

He was actually seeking, the exact opposite of every response his ideas received, from every regular, Fora Contributor.

Lacking the necessary sophistication of mental acuity required, he appeared completely unable to correctly decipher, the polite response of Rusty's Lightly Coded Overview.

However, sensing his aims were frustrated, and his inexperience revealed, his anger was unleashed toward Paul, who was only stating, probably what  most people were thinking, and so Attacked the Very Person, if who he was Listened To, Would Prove to be of Most Help to him.



Paul is to be Highly Commended for his Restraint.

His High Standards of Professionalism, are the Hallmark of All His Writing.

Maintaining and Upholding the Best and Standard Industry Practices for Competent  Luthiery  Repairs.



As I write this.

This week the CEO of Volkswagen has resigned.

Many other Senior Engineers and Technicians will soon fall by the wayside too.

Switzerland has already banned the Sale of Many of its Vehicles, and Internationally, the Company's "Cheating" of Emission Measurement is going to eventually cost it, many Tens of Billions in Fines and Compensation Payments.


All  for "Cheats" to a Legally Required Test.



The Moral Message.

We can take from that Highly Public Corporate Embarrassment.

Any indeed, the Embarrassing Difficulties the original poster has disclosed, he is Experiencing.

Difficulties of a type that many Highly Experienced Luthiers, utilising Proper, Traditional Approaches and Methods simply will be Completely Unused to Seeing.



Is that being a "Cheat".

As the Title of this Thread seems Hold Up as Something to be Clever.

May momentarily seem to the Young and Inexperienced, to be very "Clever", but it is not at all, in any manner, "Wise"!


"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice."

                                                                                                                                  Proverbs 12:15



Here's the Oxford English Dictionary

The Ultimate English Definition of the Title of this Thread.



cheat, verb. 




[Aphet. from ESCHEAT verb.]


† 1. verb trans. Escheat. Only in LME.

 2. verb intrans. Act fraudulently, practise deception; play unfairly. M16.


‘E. F. Benson After dinner..she permitted herself a game of patience, and since she never cheated, it was often ten o'clock before her game was over.’  


 b. spec. Be sexually unfaithful. (Foll. by on the deceived person.) N. Amer. M20.


 3. verb trans. Deprive of by deceit; defraud; deceive, trick (into, out of). L16.


‘Shakespeare Richard III Cheated of feature by dissembling nature.’ 

‘ W. Cather I don't admire people who cheat Indians.’ 

‘ Tolkien We are no phantoms,..nor do your eyes cheat you.’  


 4. verb trans. Beguile (time, weariness, etc.). E18.


‘Steele No Lay unsung to cheat the tedious Way.’  


† 5. verb trans. Obtain by cheating. E–M18.


 6. verb trans. & intrans. Cinematography. Suppress or adapt (part of a film) during editing so as to create a desired illusion. E20.


• cheatable adjective able to be cheated M17.

• chea"tee noun (colloq.) a person who is cheated E17.

• cheater noun †(a) an escheator; (b) a person who cheats; see also windcheater s.v. WIND noun1; (c) in pl. (US slang), spectacles: ME.

• cheatery noun trickery, swindling M16.



In short.

It's Not to be Encouraged!




There are no "cheats;" there are only techniques.

I would begin by checking everything you ask us to accept.

throw away the triangle  rocker thing and start over level the whole fingerboard .


Throw away the triangle rocker thing abob and start at the beginning  Level the whole fingerboard and your problims will leave.   The buzz is when fretted string is to low!



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