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Thread: Cutlass high e and b saddles buzzing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Cutlass high e and b saddles buzzing

    Hey all.

    I've had a cutlass for a few months and the high e and b saddles buzz. Well I should say I assume it's the saddles. I hear buzzing on open strings and every fretted note all the way up to the 22nd fret. I don't see how the buzz could be coming from anywhere else other than the saddles.

    I've changed stings multiple times. Made sure there was nothing in the saddle grooves or under the saddles. I also made sure the saddles are not tilted either way.

    I'm decent at guitar repairs, setups, etc. so I'm not totally clueless but for the life of me I can't figure this out.

    I was thinking about installing another set of saddles but I'd have to buy a set. I thought I'd ask around before doing that.

    Any ideas? Should I contact Music Man about this?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    In general, if you have buzzing on the lower frets, you need more relief (loosen the truss rod). If you have buzzing on the higher frets, you need more string height (higher saddles).

    I'd first check that there's relief in the neck (fret at the 1st and 15-17th fret and look for a small gap around the 7-9th), and the saddle height is ok (i.e. it's not fretting out).

    If all of that is good, then something could be vibrating. For example, if the saddle is uneven (unsupported at one side), it can vibrate a little. But it sounds odd that you'd have that on 2 saddles without having changed anything.

    Could also be that the strings aren't sitting properly in the saddle grooves - I've had a saddle or two where I needed to manually pull the string over one way or the other in the saddle to get it to sit right and not buzz.

    Beyond that, yeah, my next step would be to contact MM (link in my signature) and ask for their help.

  3. #3
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    Also, along with what beej said; I would check the saddle heights on both strings. If they're too low (I.e., not enough screw below the saddle, that can also cause buzzing.

    Who knows? Maybe somebody at the dealer shop set up the guitar that way. When I worked at GC we had a guy who would grab any guitar he fancied and set it up to play the way HE liked it to play. He was a "shredder" - by his own admission - and put those strings as low as he could on every guitar, often by lowering the saddles too far. This would then, of course cause buzzing. He never noticed because, well, distortion man!

    But I digress, good luck!
    Greg

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  4. #4
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    May 2009
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    Thanks for the replies.

    The truss rod or relief seems fine. Pretty much the same as my other guitars.
    I think I'll give the saddles a tiny height adjustment.
    If that doesn't change anything it was suggested that I swap the E-A saddles with the e-b and see if that changes anything.

    I'll have some time to work on this over the weekend and report back.

  5. #5
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    Does this sound kind of like a sitar? No so much fret buzz as a meeeooooooowwwwaaaarrrrooooeeeee kind of thing?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
    Does this sound kind of like a sitar? No so much fret buzz as a meeeooooooowwwwaaaarrrrooooeeeee kind of thing?
    Kind of.

    I agree that it's not fret buzz.
    Somebody mentioned the nut but if it is the nut, would I still hear it from fretted notes?
    I fret at the 22nd and still hear it.
    Sometimes it's almost like a volume swell of ear piercing buzziness.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jds22 View Post
    Somebody mentioned the nut but if it is the nut, would I still hear it from fretted notes?
    You are correct, no. The nut is out of the question once we fret a note.

    Quote Originally Posted by jds22 View Post
    I fret at the 22nd and still hear it.
    Definitely a saddle issue.

    My guess is that if a height adjustment won't fix it it's the shape of the top of the saddle. I usually see it on older well-worn instruments but it can happen on newer isntruments too. Can the saddles be swapped to other strings (I'm not familiar with the new saddles)? if yes, try them in the low E and A position. If you are still under warranty enquire about a warranty replacement set of saddles.

    And yes, definitely call or email Music Man customer service. This is the kind of thing they are there for.
    An Irishman in Paris...
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  8. #8
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    Let me ask you - is the Cutlass the first guitar you have owned with Stainless Steel frets?

    And, is the sound you are describing amplified when you plug in to amp?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeller View Post
    Let me ask you - is the Cutlass the first guitar you have owned with Stainless Steel frets?

    And, is the sound you are describing amplified when you plug in to amp?
    I owned a Carvin years ago with SS frets but it's long gone.

    Yes the sound comes thru the amp.

  10. #10
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    Check for loose screws and sympathetic vibration. Check the saddle height screws. Tuning keys. Try placing a hair band behind the nut. Mute the term springs if equipped.
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  11. #11
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    May 2009
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    Thanks everybody.

    It seems to be fixed.
    I raised the saddles by about 1/4 turn and the buzz went away. So I lowered them by 1/4 turn putting them back to the starting point and still no buzz. Weird.

    I have no idea but at the moment I'm happy.

  12. #12
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    Hi there,
    the answer may be: If one of the little height screws of a saddle barley touches the ground plate of the trem , it is loose enough to vibrate causing some kind of sitarish sound which sounds like fret buzz but it is not.
    Just make sure they are touching the base properly.
    maybe that helps
    enjoy
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