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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
So I have a guitar with a Kulson harmonica bridge, neck through made of several laminations, very similar to Jerry Garcia’s Wolf guitar. In December I took it in to have the fret ends filed, and the tech straightened the neck some. Following that there was some new buzzing on the sixth string, but recently (maybe to do with the weather change?) the 1st string has gotten bad especially on the 5th, 14th and 15th frets. This is with about 0.01” relief and action at about 0.08” at the 12th fret. I gave the neck some more up bow and the buzz improved but it’s not gone, and is still very noticeable on the 14th and 15th frets. The relief now measures 0.02” and the action on the sixth string is a touch higher than 0.1” (a bit higher than I’d like it) and the first string is right about 0.1”. Any insight into what might be going on here and how best to address it from home? I’m very inexperienced with doing my own set ups, but I have adjusted the action and intonation and pickup height on my own previously. I’m reluctant to raise the action on the high side more; I feel like this guitar should be capable of playing clean with lower action— like it was until recently. Any help you can provide is very much appreciated. Especially with this lock down, I NEED this guitar to play without resistance if you know what I mean.
Thanks so much everyone,
Jordan
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Is it possible that some of the frets have actually lifted a little bit??? The guitar is not even a year old.
Thanks again for the help everybody.
J.
 

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1st string has gotten bad especially on the 5th, 14th and 15th frets
Is it possible that some of the frets have actually lifted a little bit?
If you have a short straight edge, lay it on those frets and see if it 'rocks' back and forth.
It'll help to identify which frets are high, if that's the problem.

Lado Hawk? or copy?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks so much, I’ll give that a try with the rectangular, metal tool I’ve been using to measure string height. It’s short but I think it’ll reach across four frets up the neck. The guitar was built by a deadhead in Denver who builds as a hobby. The hawk inlay you see was the trademark of Doug Irwin, the luthier who built what became known as Jerry’s wolf. When he started building it he was working at Alembic, but he left alembic during that build and took the guitar with him to finish for Jerry.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If the ruler doesn’t rock across those frets, what do I do next? Should I raise the action in the high end of the bridge a hair? I was actually hoping to lower the bridge on the low string side to bring it down at least one notch to 0.09”. What do you think? Or should I give the neck even more up bow?
 

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If the ruler doesn’t rock across those frets, what do I do next? Should I raise the action in the high end of the bridge a hair?
That tells you that there's no high fret in that area. Move along above/below that area with your straight edge to make sure that other frets arn't the problem.
Raise the strings until it doesn't buzz.

How's the relief (up bow) on it now?
Capo, or fret the low 'E' string at the first fret (nut side) and hold down the string at the 14th.
There should be a small gap of around .2 - .5 mm (credit card) between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the string.
That would be proper relief.

upload_2020-3-28_17-33-35.png
 
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The guitar has 24 frets and the neck meets the body at the 21st. So I put a capo on the 1st feet, held down the 21st fret, and measured at the 10th fret, half way between the 1st and 21st. Right now I see 0.02 inches between the top of the fret and the bottom of the sixth string. The action at the 12th fret is maybe a hair higher than 0.1 inches on the sixth string, and a bit lower on the first string, right at or just under 0.1 inches.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Im a bit more comfortable with the action on the sixth string side being a bit lower if possible, something like 0.08-0.09”.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The guitar has 24 frets and the neck meets the body at the 21st. So I put a capo on the 1st feet, held down the 21st fret, and measured at the 10th fret, half way between the 1st and 21st. Right now I see 0.2 inches between the top of the fret and the bottom of the sixth string. The action at the 12th fret is maybe a hair higher than 0.1 inches on the sixth string, and a bit lower on the first string, right at or just under 0.1 inches.
Sorry!!! The relief is now 0.02 inches or .51mm. I edited my mistake above.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
With those measurements, should I still be raising the bridge on the high E string side? Wouldn’t that imply the guitar can’t have lower action (though it used to...)?
 

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(maybe to do with the weather change?)
There's been warm/cold alternating days these past coupla' weeks. Wait till the weather stabilizes?
 

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Watch some of the setup videos on youtube.
Use fret rocker - if you don't have one use credit card.
You need to check each THREE (not four) frets at the time.

Let me find out some setup videos for you

I think this one will be perfect for you:

also our Torontonian has a great setup videos - there are A LOT OF Them,
Dave's World of Fun Stuff

if you need more help dont hesitate to ask (or even PM me).
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
There's been warm/cold alternating days these past coupla' weeks. Wait till the weather stabilizes?
Cool, that’s what I wanted to hear! The guitar has so many laminations I thought the weather would not effect it that much but hopefully that’s all it is. The truss rod adjustment is done so I’ll just wait a few days before I mess with the action and reintonate. Thank you SO much
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank yo
Watch some of the setup videos on youtube.
Use fret rocker - if you don't have one use credit card.
You need to check each THREE (not four) frets at the time.

Let me find out some setup videos for you

I think this one will be perfect for you:

also our Torontonian has a great setup videos - there are A LOT OF Them,
Dave's World of Fun Stuff

if you need more help dont hesitate to ask (or even PM me).
Thank you So So much!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I just check all the frets with a straight edge three at a time and there’s some rocking when the middle of the three frets is the 2nd, 7th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 20th frets... it’s hard to check up to the 24th fret because the frets get too close together for me to look at just three at a time. Sigh. Does that mean they need to be levelled? Considering the guitar is fairly new I does that means the builder did a crappy job on the frets? Or could they just have lifted out of their slots some with the weather changes. This is its first winter-spring transition, and it was built in Denver where it’s high and dry.
 

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Could my neck be twisted?!!??
Eye ball it down the length of the neck. You'd see it if it was.
Also, it would affect more than the one string.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It does look like there’s more relief along the low E side compared to the high E side; maybe it’s just the way I’m looking. The B-A strings really dont have any noticeable buzz so I’m relieved for you to say twist would effect more strings. I’m so anxious about this guitar being messed up!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When the fret ends were filed, the tech adjusted the truss rod. For whatever reason my truss rod turns opposite of what they normally do, so the tech in trying to straighten the neck added a lot of relief— big turns of the truss rod! I saw and told him it’s opposite then he straightened it to 0.01”. Could that over turning in December have created an issue? Or more likely just the weather?
 
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