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jesyjames

New member
Joined
Sep 21, 2022
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2
Location
United States
I have quite a bit of experience with acoustic guitars, but much more limited experience in the electric world. I've been looking to get more into it and picked up a Sabre HT and overall am thrilled with the guitar.

However, I am experiencing some extreme fret buzz on the low E and A strings. Out of the box: they buzz open(if picked with an oomph), fretted, and all along the neck.

Things I've tried: I've adjusted the truss rod, I've adjusted the bridge saddle with the two hex screws(tightening and loosening) to try and adjust the string height, and I've adjusted the spring tension on the back of the guitar to also try and adjust the bridge height.

As far as I can tell there is no way to adjust the individual string height correct? I can tilt the bridge using the tremelo but I didn't see any individual adjustments.

What happens if I fix the buzz in one place it just moves somewhere else along the fretboard. No issues at all with the other 4 strings. I can mostly eliminate the buzzing I raise the bridge pickup height, but then it's so high as to not really be an option.

Any tips for a complete electric noob? At this point I feel like all I am doing is moving the problem around and lost my way point of how the guitar was originally set up. At this point I don't know where the bridge was originally set nor the truss rod. Regardless, it had the problem from first strum.

Also, regarding the tremolo-- after installing it, how do I know how much to tighten the spring screws? The FAQ made it

This is the only advice I've found from music man and not even sure it applies to the Sabre:

5. Set the tremolo spring claw
a. From the factory, the tremolo is set to remain flat on the body if a note is bent a full step or less.
b. Bend the G note at the 12th fret to an A, and check if the bridge is lifting.
c. Adjust the spring claw so the bridge begins to lift when this note is bent beyond an A.
6. Double check the setup and enjoy!!
a. If experiencing fret buzz on the first few frets (1~4), the truss rod needs to be loosened. If experiencing buzz in the middle of the neck (frets 6~10) the truss rod needs to be tightened.
b. If experiencing fret buzz across the entire neck, the bridge saddles need to be raised.

Thank you so much for your time! I am so excited to get this setup and really start enjoying it, but now my OCD is killing the enjoyment.
 

DrKev

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Jul 8, 2006
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Somewhere between Paris, Dublin, and Buffalo
Congrats on your new guitar and welcome to the forum family!
As far as I can tell there is no way to adjust the individual string height correct? I can tilt the bridge using the tremelo but I didn't see any individual adjustments.
Each string saddle has two adjustments screws for individual string height (1.5mm allen wrench).

The best guitar setup for you is part personal preference and part general rules. While manufacturers have slightly different specifications/measurements, the basic ideas are always the same no matter what the guitar is. That means start somewhere, anywhere, that gets you a playable guitar and then fine tune to what feels and sounds good to you. Ya know what's still the best learning resource after all these years? This setup guide from Fender...


It sounds like you've tried adjusting absolutely everything, so there is no guarantee that anything is where it should be anymore, right? I would start from scratch and then use the Fender guide to help...

Detune the strings and set the overall bridge height using the two large posts on either side of the bridge (takes a 4mm allen wrench) so the bridge is parallel and sitting flush with the guitar top (maybe even just enough of a gap above the guitar top at the front of the bridge to slide a sheet of paper in, i.e. you don't want the front of bridge resting on the guitar top).

Once you have that right, bring the strings up to pitch, adjust the truss rod for a straight neck then and add a hair of neck relief. Then set the string height over the 12th fret with saddle adjustment screws for each string. Then dial in the pickup heights.

Note that for Music Man instruments you will need three Allen wrenches: 1.5 mm for the saddle height screws, 2 mm for intonation adjustment (which are fine as is from the factory, so you may not need to touch them), and a 4 mm allen wrench for the two bridge mounting posts. (Closest English sizes are not recommended because you can strip the heads of the screws and wrenches). Pickups set too high can cause problems so set them a little lower than you think you need until have a playable guitar then adjust to your liking. You can ignore the shimming section of the Fender guide too, that should be fine for your guitar right out the factory.

If you really have difficulty, bring the guitar to the store you bought from for a setup. Ask if you can watch and learn while they do it.

Any questions, we're here for you.
 

jesyjames

New member
Joined
Sep 21, 2022
Messages
2
Location
United States
Thank you! What a wonderful post. I'll read the guide and try and reset everything for a good start. I saw those two little holes by the strings but they were so tiny I didn't give them enough attention. As the 1.5mm wrench only fit in one, i assume that's the right spot.. Turning left lowers, right raises?

I've attached pictures of the bridge. Does that look okay? It's flaring up a little at the rear of the body on both sides and flush towards the neck. Just to be clear: what direction do I want to turn the 4mm posts to lower or raise the bridge and how is that used in conjunction with the spring screws on the back if I need to make it more parallel. I don't want to strip anything.

I understand the concept of adjusting string height to preference, and I'd definitely prefer lower than higher- but how do i balance that with the fact that lower makes the buzzing worse?

Also, I am not entirely sure it's fret buzz. It almost sounds like the buzz is coming from the body of the guitar. Almost like something rattling. It's probably fret buzz, but it also sounds like a rattle. I've tried to attach an audio file of the buzzing on the low e.

Thank you again, wish I'd of asked from the start. Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated.

View attachment BuzzRattle.mp3 1.png 2.png
 
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dave1812

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
533
Location
Germany
That sounds like Fretbuzz to me, could also be a case of a Nut that‘s been filed too low although that wouldnt matter as much with fretted notes.
But if that‘s the case i‘d take it to the shop you got it from, unless you‘ve already got nutfiles and some experience. Guess you could also shim the nut with thin veneer in the nutslot.
There can also be some resonance from the trem springs, a piece of foam in the trem cavity usually fixes that though
 

racerx

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
209
Hey @jesyjames - I'd recommend using measurements and writing them down so you know which direction and what impact your adjustments are having. The order of operations for electric setups, condensed, is:

1 - Neck Relief​

2 - Trem Tension/Bridge & Saddle Height​

3 - Intonation​

4 - Pickup Height​


The order is important because of interplay between the steps. The way I prefer to measure neck relief is using the string as a straight edge (usually a capo on the first fret, a finger on the last fret or where the neck meets the body) and using a feeler gauge (an average business card thickness/.25mm) between the top of the fret wire and the bottom of the string around the 8/9th fret. This eliminates nut/bridge issues when measuring relief.

For tremolo tension, the bridge base should be parallel with the body. Tune the guitar to desired pitch, then adjust the rear trem claws until the bridge is parallel with the body. This will take several rounds of adjustments to get right. I believe MM recommends tuning the inner strings first then working outwards.

From there I tend to set the individual saddle height to ~1.5/2mm measured from the bottom of an unfretted string to the top of the fret wire around the 15-17th fret. Intonation is its own beast. Pickup height is really to taste but I measure from the top of a pickup pole piece to the bottom of a string fretted at the last fret to ~1.5-2mm.

All of these measurements are ballparks and your final preferences may vary. You can find YouTube videos on each area if you are more of a visual learner.

Another thing worth considering is expectations. Many electric players will tolerate buzz so long as it is not audible through the amplifier (whereas an acoustic player tolerates no buzz whatsoever since the guitar IS the amplifier). All else fails, take it to your trusted local shop for a tune-up, then make minor adjustments yourself in the future if/when changing string gauge or tunings.
 
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jayjayjay

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
210
The way you describe your bridge and from the pictures it appears that your bridge is floating. You said you're unfamiliar with electrics, so you may not know that term: it means that the bridge is positioned so that it can both pivot up (dropping pitch) or down (raising pitch). Sabres are configured from the factory to be dive only, meaning the bridge is more or less sitting on and parallel to the top, and can't be pushed down further. It's perfectly fine to set them up to float, however, if that's what a player wants.

This float can be caused by at least two reasons: 1. The bridge posts are too low, and are putting pressure on the fulcrums. This is not good, as it could potentially lead to damage. 2. The spring tension is too low to fully counterbalance string tension when at pitch. This is OK, and may even be desirable if you want a floating bridge; there are some effects you can only do with a floating setup. Note that a floating bridge makes tuning trickier, as tuning one string up, especially the bass strings, will cause the other strings to go flat. Tuning becomes an iterative process.

That said, it's easy to determine what's causing the rise: simply detension or remove the strings. If the bridge then sits flush against the top, the posts are set correctly, and you just need to tighten the tremolo claw a bit to add more tension (unless you want to float the bridge). However, if the bridge still rises, then you need to raise the posts (turn counter-clockwise) until the bridge sits flat.

In addition to guides, there are many, many videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to set up an electric guitar. I'd recommend doing some digging there - that's basically how I taught myself. Or, as has been suggested, find a local luthier you trust who has experience with electric guitar setups, and let them work their magic.
 
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