I may have a problem with my Gretsch

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by shrews824, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    Just recently I've started playing my Gretsch again on the daily. I normally used 11-49 gauge strings with a wound G string (.021). When I began playing it again I wanted to go with lighter gauge strings, 11-48 with a plain G, so I could bend that G string a little easier. However, now I'm getting a ghost note (sitar like sound) on the B string at around the 10th fret on up. I've adjusted the truss rod both directions and measured the action (both raising and lowering it) and I am still getting the sound. I peered down the neck and there is a slight hump at about the 15th fret :(. Thing is, is that only the B string is doing it. Not the high E nor the G. The hump is not terrible and I really only hear it when playing unplugged. I'm not sure it would even be noticeable to someone that didn't know it was there. Yet, I know it's there and it's bugging me to death.

    I guess my question is. Would fixing this require a full neck reset? I'm going to be taking it to a luthier in about 2 weeks to let him look at it. Just wanted to get some opinions first.

    Thanks for listening everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
    thunder58 likes this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    A ghost note sounds like it could be a burr on the saddle? A hump in the fret would translate into a buzz.
     
    Robbie, Outlaw, j.s.c and 3 others like this.
  3. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I would first try dampening the strings above the nut and below the bridge. Does it do it when you play above the 15th fret? You say it does it from the 10th fret up if it still does it past the 15th that would take your 15th fret hump out of the equation if the hump is only at the 15th fret. Is this a new set of strings? I would also try dampening all the other strings while you troubleshoot the one you are working on. I had a set one time where a wound string would make a sound when the B was hit.
     
  4. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    Yeah, maybe. I have a bar bridge so there aren't individual saddles per se, but that's not saying there couldn't be something obstructing the string somehow. I'm going to restring it this weekend again and take another good look at it. I thought that it might just be the string itself. Do you think that could be a possibility?
     
  5. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    I could definitely give that a try. It does seem to be worse from about the 10 to the 15th/16th fret.
     
  6. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    A sitar-like sound is often the result of a string buzzing in a saddle that's too wide for the string. Are you using a lighter B string now? If so, it might be buzzing around.
     
    new6659 and shrews824 like this.
  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    If it clears up past the hump you probably found the issue.
     
    shrews824 likes this.
  8. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Case in point: I once had a big sitar-buzz problem after restringing my guitar... and then I realized that I'd installed my Bigsby bridge backwards. The high E was rattling around in the wide saddle which had been notched for a low E.
     
  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    That is a possibility. A bar bridge can burr just as well though.

    Another possibility. The string slots may have been cut too deep.
    When slanting the bridge for optimal intonation, the strings snug up on one side of the string slots causing sitar or ghost notes.
     
    section2 and shrews824 like this.
  10. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    The B strings are the same gauge with both set. (.014).

    I could easily see how that could be done and be the issue, however I do have the bridge on correctly.

    True, true. I'd just like to know the culprit. Thanks for the help.
     
    section2 likes this.
  11. Larrydata

    Larrydata Electromatic

    7
    Sep 28, 2019
    Glastonbury, CT
    The luthier is a good idea.

    I had a similar sitar tone on a LP style guitar, and it turned out to be due to the bridge pickup height. My luthier slightly lowered it and now the annoying sound is gone.
     
    Aymara and shrews824 like this.
  12. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    It is common for nut slots that are to wide or to deep to cause sitar type sounds. Try trying a different B string. But first dampen the B string with something above the nut, then below the bridge and see if the sound goes away either time.

    I had a problem like this on a strat, I cut a new nut and solved it.
     
    shrews824 and pmac11 like this.
  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    The op said it seems worse from the 10th to 15th fret and sees a hump around the 15th fret. I would still dampen the strings above and below and the other strings not exhibiting the issue but with out seeing it myself and with what the op says it could easily be a neck issue hump popes fret a bit etc. I have also had a imperceptibly loose wrap on a string do something like this but his comments lead me elsewhere initially.
     
    shrews824 likes this.
  14. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    This may sound silly, but how long did you wait between truss rod adjustments? It takes the neck some time to acclimate to minor adjustments and "settle in."
     
  15. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Mystery hump. Take a perfectly straight metal straight edge that spans three frets. Check for a high spot around the 15 fret

    Here is what I use to check for a high fret and what I use to level it

    The thick one has a cutting surface in the middle on each side. It will quickly bring a high spot down level with the frets on each side of the problem fret

    4A093354-648A-48BB-8870-4D63B0DB3831.jpeg
     
  16. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    "The hump is not terrible and I really only hear it when playing unplugged"

    Ok...
    Use your fingers to pull the G strings back and forth at 14-15-16, hard pressure x 40 times... then it's ok you have lost some of your fingers but the hump is gone too, normally.

    The check the rocking around this 15th fret, and sand it if necessary
    If this is not clear check also the bridge saddle's angle (i know it's a bar) but the saddles lines are straight where, because of intonation its creates a mismatch angle difference with the strings.

    After that, I can see the utlimate solution which was given to me by a guy named Yoda, this is simple solution, just buying a boss MT2, plug it between your amp and guitar,... the buzz you won't be earing neverafter.
     
    Alanqa and shrews824 like this.
  17. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    I have made several trust rod adjustments. Some have been as much as a few days apart. I haven't adjusted it again for about 5 days. Like I mentioned, I'm going to restring it this weekend and see what happens and if anymore adjustments need to be made.

    I've been looking at buying one of those. I believe it would be very helpful in this circumstance for sure.

    I'll give that a try and see what happens. Don't have a Metalzone. I guess I need to go buy one and just let it rip!!!! :p
     
  18. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Age:
    43
    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    Ok, sorry to revitalize this post, but I took my Gretsch to a luthier. He said that the neck looked good to him ("phew"). No hump, just a gradual drop off that a person would want to see with an archtop set neck. He did say that he thought the ghost notes were coming from the bridge. My Gretsch has the vintage bar bridge and he said that in order to "possibly" eliminate that and move to lighter gauge strings I would need to install a new bridge. Even then he said it could still be there. He said he didn't even think it was that bad. I guess for me when I first heard it I couldn't un-hear it so it began to bug me. I moved back to my 11-49 gauge with a wound G and it plays and sounds much better.

    I guess my question is, what bridge would you guys recommend for lighter gauge strings? I'd like to put 10-46 with a plain 3rd. Any tips or tricks that could be recommended would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  19. rockinforJesus

    rockinforJesus Synchromatic

    859
    Nov 7, 2014
    Upstate New York
    shrews824 likes this.
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