Music Man Vault Black Friday Deal

Uneven frets 2021 models, St Vincent Goldie

NickNihil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
51
When I first got my STV Goldie, it had a number of uneven frets. Annoying for sure, but at least relatively simple to fix (I do a lot of my own maintenance, but I did give EBMM a head's up, offered to take it in under warranty. I declined and they sent me some swag.). But I was talking to a couple of other people who either bought a Goldie or tried one out with the intention of buying. Another owner had uneven frets, a shop owner had to send another one back for neck problems. Just wondering if any other Goldie owners had an issue with uneven frets and if it's been a problem on other models this year as well. Could all be purely coincidental and I could have just been one of and talked to a couple other of the only buyers out of dozens with problems.

That said, I still can't quite get audible buzz free play at factory specs. High E and B strings are at just a tick above 4/64, G and D between 4 and 5, A at 5, and low E between 5 and 6. Relief between .010 and .020. Granted, I'm a little heavy handed and use heavier picks but I also play with 11-50's in standard tuning.
 

NickNihil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
51
I'll also add that that's pretty much my standard setup on all my standard tuned electrics, including by STV stealth black and Albert Lee. I have no idea how anyone can get a low E below 5/64's and not deal with buzz-and I checked all frets and leveled when needed.
 

kimonostereo

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
1,145
Location
Honolulu, HI
Out of curiosity, do you hear the buzzing only when it's unplugged, or can you hear it when the guitar is plugged in as well?
 

St_G

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2016
Messages
146
That's a bummer. I confess I wouldn't have much patience for imperfection at $3k.
 

NickNihil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
51
For the most part I can't hear it through the amp unless I really dig in. I totally understand why anyone wouldn't have the patience for these flaws on a high end guitar but the St Vincent body, neck, and super smooth tremolo system make them the most comfortable guitars I've played plus 3 minihumbuckers is my ideal pickup selection. And the Goldie's pickups are the most beautiful sounding pickups I've heard. So I figured I'd keep it and work with it as it's something I could fix without paying any money or sending off to a shop or the factory for weeks. But nonetheless it was (and still is, slightly) annoying.
 

DrKev

Moderator
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
6,168
Location
Paris, France
My thoughts are this...

Any instrument that has work done by human hands will have variation from piece to piece. A small number of those will need treatment under warranty. That's OK, that's what warranties are for.

As I understand it, Music Man do production in batches for specific orders. When there is enough orders for the production run it goes in the schedule. There is no St Vincent production line as such. Unless everyone in the factory was having a bad day but just the day the St Vincents Goldies were going through, there is no way there will be consistent fret issues with just the Goldies and not anything else. Any perception that there is on our part is due confirmation bias (which to be absolutely fair effects everyone, because that's how our brains work).

A good guitar setup often involves some compromise between playability and sound quality. And when we make setup adjustments we hyper focus on noises that are not important. Some buzz is acceptable if it's not intrusive when we actually play real music. That fret buzz is often not due to fret level issues. For modern guitar players with low action and and light strings (in the historical context) just how hard we play and how hard we listen, and that changes from person to person. John Petrucci loves super low action that buzzes more than most people would ever accept. But he plays lightly and accepts some buzzing as part of the feel and ease of playing he requires.
 

jayjayjay

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
70
My $0.02 worth, and having done more handyman work and carpentry than I care to consider: Wood is an organic material. It's entirely possible the frets were just fine when they left the factory, but wood also changes as it ages (it gets harder, for one). These are *new* guitars. I imagine that EBMM ages the wood some before putting it in use to try and minimize changes, but you're still then changing the wood as a billet is milled and shaped, then subjecting it to continuous tension. It just takes time for the wood to settle.

Also, as we know environmental changes and cycles will cause to wood to swell and shrink, possibly in uneven ways depending upon the nature of particular piece of wood. Most finishes aren't hermetic, so they'll allow moisture changes to reach the wood. EBMM's oil and wax finish doesn't strike me as a barrier that's impermeable.

I bought my 2018 Axis earlier this year, new, after it had been hanging in a store in Minnesota for nearly three years, probably not in its case. It had fret sprout and the action had risen a touch higher that I liked. I don't think it came from the factory that way, but that's what happened as the wood aged and temperature/humidity fluctuations did their thing. YMMV.
 

NickNihil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
51
Organic materials+climate was another reason I felt pretty forgiving on the uneven frets. But as started hearing of more problems with the frets and the neck one of the concerns that crept up was 'maybe this was a flawed batch of wood and this is a bigger issue than uneven frets.' Perhaps unreasonable, but it's also why I figured I'd pose the question to the forum.
 

Astrofreq

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
3,941
Location
Santa Fe, NM
When I worked at the local guitar store, the necks on most of the guitars would freak out. Probably coming from somewhere with 50-75% humidity to 0-5%. Fret sprout and uneven frets were inevitable. As the tech, I was constantly filing fret edges. It didn't take but a week or less to notice these changes on the guitars/basses.
 

NickNihil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
51
Side note-I just finally did what I'd been mulling for a while upped the strings on the Goldie to a custom 12 set:

12
15
19p
30
40
52

The pickups are bright enough to handle heavier gauges but man does this thing punch right now. I was partial to 12's for a while, particularly on Jazzmasters, but since moving to Music Mans with humbuckers and minihums going above 11-50's gets too muddy. Fits my playing better anyway which is kind of an attacking modern jazz and art rock, with a quite a bit of funk. Helped tame a lot of remaining buzz.

But it's a loud, powerful guitar now.
 

St_G

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2016
Messages
146
I have 12s on a hollow body. The extra tension seems to help stabilize the Bigsby.

I was mostly a 10s on 25.5"/11s on 24.75" guy until I got the St V. I use 9-46 on that (i think? Maybe it's 9-42...I bought a bunch at once so it's been a while) because... well, you know why.
 

Dagnabbit

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2021
Messages
7
FWIW...I'm one of the folks Nick referenced in his original post.

I recently demo'd a Goldie in a local shop a few days after it arrived there. I loved the new pickups and was ready to buy it, but it was buzzing persistently in a couple spots.

I assumed a simple setup would knock out the buzz, but then I watched the shop's tech -- an experienced guy -- work on it for a long while to no avail. We weren't trying to set the action particularly low -- but anything around factory spec was causing buzz.

I ended up leaving the Goldie with them and checked in a few days later. They said they'd identified an issue with the neck -- maybe a slight warp? -- and that they'd already reached out to EBMM about it.

I'd still love to get a Goldie. My 2018-ish white STV with the rosewood neck is still the best feeling guitar I've ever played. Hopefully the next Goldie I play will feel as good!

In general, I do miss the rosewood necks though. It's probably all in my head, but they just feel better to me somehow. Hard to explain!
 
2021 Ernie Ball Holiday Gift Guide
Top Bottom