New 5410T...with "unavoidable" fret buzz

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by TheMainShane, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. TheMainShane

    TheMainShane Electromatic

    Mar 16, 2021
    Morning Everyone! I am new to forum and new to Gretsch, even though I have dreamed of owning one since I first saw Reverend Horton Heat in the mid-90s. Although I told myself I wasn't going to buy one until I was worthy (call it self accountability), I folded and recently bought a new Rad Rod from Guitar Center when I received a 10% coupon that didn't actually exclude Gretsch.

    I received the "New" guitar in a taped together Martin box with the guitar wrapped in bubble wrap. greasy hand prints and a lightly scratched pick guard to boot. It wasn't set up at all, so I did my best. Fast forward a week (giving it time to acclimate to the new environment). The low E and A string are producing pretty bad buzzing between the 3rd and 11th frets. I initially thought it was coming from the neck pickup after spending an hour with my ear on the guitar.

    I took it into Guitar Center locally and was told that it was fret buzz and that it was generally unavoidable in the "cheaper" manufactured Gretsch guitars and that they all have these issues. He did adjust it for about 30 minutes (small truss rod adjustment to give a bit more bow and some thicker ernie ball strings), which helped, but the A string is still buzzing. He also recommended that I purchase some humidity bags and a case to close it up in for a while.

    Any thoughts on whether I should accept this as the norm? Although, it is a "cheaper" Gretsch, I did pay three times that of my Yamaha acoustic that has zero fret buzz. I have about 30 more days to return it if necessary.

    Thank you in advance for your expertise!
  2. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    Dec 18, 2020
    Although it did come from a different factory, the frets on my G5220 were a mess. 5 high frets and sharp edges were only the beginning. I filed, crowned, and leveled the frets and everything was fine but it did need some work. Yours may be a similar case. If you don't have the tools or skills to do it yourself, I'd either take it to a good tech for some fret work, or send it back to GC and request a replacement.
    Shock, audept and TheMainShane like this.
  3. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Gretschie

    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt
    nonsense, cheap guitars can play well without fretbuzz.

    that guy sounds like an idiot.
  4. rocko

    rocko Electromatic

    Relief on the neck was a good start but I can assure you that virtually nothing is unavoidable. I too have had string buzz issues over the years but my tech has always been able to solve them. Your Gretsch is a quality instrument and there is a solution to your problem; the first problem you have is finding the right tech.
    Just my two cents worth, Shane. Good luck.
  5. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Playing guitar
    No reason it can’t be fixed. I’m sure you set the relief properly and you checked string height at both at the nut and up past the 12 fret.

    If that is all true it could just be a high fret or two because it is so localized.

    Find a good straight edge that will span only three frets, of course that will mean a different length straight edge for different places on the neck. It should not rock,if it does, the middle fret is high.

    I use this from StewMac

    j.s.c likes this.
  6. TheMainShane

    TheMainShane Electromatic

    Mar 16, 2021
    Thank you for the quick replies! I'm glad to hear it is most likely bad advice, because other then the buzz, I LOVE everything about this guitar. I found a quality luthier in Cincinnati and will see what they can do! @rocko @Fasteddie42 @AZBrahma
    capnhiho and AZBrahma like this.
  7. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Playing guitar
    It may just be a high fret or two from fret sprout that can be caused by not being stored properly, or the fingerboard got very dried out, or big temperature changes or just in shipping from the Far East.

    A decent tech should be able to spot that and either repress the fret in or file the offending fret down.
    Duo Slinger and TheMainShane like this.
  8. TheMainShane

    TheMainShane Electromatic

    Mar 16, 2021
    Thanks for the feedback @radd. I have ordered a quality guitar maintenance set on Amazon with the expectation that I will educate myself to do just that going forward. For now, I thought taking it to a tech at Guitar Center would be the next best thing. Apparently not.

    Once I get my tools, I'll be sure to follow your recommendations. I appreciate the detailed pics and the expertise!
    radd likes this.
  9. JT19

    JT19 Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Sounds like you've already checked this, but also make sure that the pickup hasn't been raised to the point where the fretted strings are vibrating against one of the pole piece screws (especially since it sounds like your guitar may have been returned by a previous purchaser, based on your description). it's possible that they were adjusted away from factory specs.

    I had a G5230T that had a buzz on a few fretted notes and it turned out that the previous owned had raised the pickups too high. I backed it off and the "fret buzz" disappeared completely.

    Felt rather sheepish about taking as long as I did to spot the problem. :)
  10. FiveAces

    FiveAces Gretschie

    Mar 1, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    My 5120 (purchased new in 2006) had a bit of fret buzz on the lower strings similar as you described. Slight raising of the bridge was just enough to do the job at the time. Later, after getting more comfortable with my new guitar, I wanted to lower the string action and ran into the same buzzing issue. A local tech told me something similar to your but clarified that's the difference with more expensive guitars... you're paying the extra labor for the extra attention & time to details. Then he checked my guitar and the 8th fret was slightly higher than the rest. 2 taps with a plastic mallet and all fixed! He never charged me for his time and that was 14 years ago! Never a problem since then!!!
  11. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    Feb 3, 2014
    Return it and buy another from another Gretsch dealer . Why should you have to go through all of this education , time and effort to repair a new instrument especially since you have notified them, brought the guitar in to be checked and repaired . Since they couldn’t remedy the issues , save yourself the time and energy which could have been devoted to actually playing the guitar! You didn’t buy a new guitar for that money just to learn how to repair it, right?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  12. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    This is the correct answer. So far, GC has been of absolutely no help, from the shoddy shipping to the so-called "guitar tech". Send it back and wash your hands of them. This is GC at their half-a$$ed best. There are plenty of reputable Gretsch dealers who will not give you excuses.
  13. MyGirlGretta

    MyGirlGretta Gretschie

    Jul 23, 2012
    Exchange it. Ask for 15% off for your trouble.
    TheMainShane, Duo Slinger and audept like this.
  14. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Country Gent

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Yeah I'm in the return it corner on this one, not because of the issues but more so the fact that you paid for a new instrument and it turned up the way it did, don't get me wrong I know that guitars get played in shops and even I have done the same but the shop should have at least cleaned it off and packed it properly before shipping, to me that tells me that they may not have the best attitude towards selling things and their internal quality control may be a bit less the satisfactory.

    On the issues, as others have said it is all fixable in the right hands, if you love the guitar now then once it's at it's best you won't want to put it down.
    TheMainShane, Duo Slinger and audept like this.
  15. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Shane! Some good advice above, I agree with @tartanphantom and others, send it back and seek a better dealer. The greasy handprints and scratched pickguard are red flags for me, they simply didn't care when they sent it to you.
    welcome mat 111.jpg
    TheMainShane likes this.
  16. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    Welcome TMS!
    My only Electromatic is a 2011 5120 and it was pretty much flawless out of the cardboard box.... Hate you've had issue with yours.
    TheMainShane likes this.
  17. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Hello and welcome to the forum.
    Did you purchase a new, used or open box Rat Rod?
    If it was sold as new, return it or exchange it.
    TheMainShane likes this.
  18. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Synchromatic

    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    Yeah, gotta agree with the "return" dudes here. If you bought it new, it showed up in a trashed box, it came trashed and the GC dude says "no dice" then you oughtta exchange it. Electromatic Gretsches are quality instruments, and this is unacceptable.
    Waxhead and TheMainShane like this.
  19. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    I've bought quite a few guitars from GC and MF and am sorry to see that recently their greed has changed their policies.
    It seems to be normal for them to ship out demo guitars for new and try to avoid giving any discount. From what I've found, any demo can get a 10% (scratch & dent) discount if you demand it but you can't expect to get any more off that coupon you used.
    I'd return it for another but they likely don't have any new ones left.

    I continue to buy from them because I get the 10% Veteran discount on everything. Sweetwater and the others will not give an everyday discount on new merch as they do.

    And...GC and Musician's Friend are owned by the same company and will match prices, but MF gives 8% reward points everyday.
    So, it pays to call the MF number and ask the sales rep if they have any new ones in the warehouse. When they say only what is in the stores they are all demos.
    Then buy from MF just because you get 8% reward points to use as cash later. I have over $35 in the bank right now.
    So I get the 10% discount and 8% points on everything I buy there, that's a good deal when everyone else sells at full retail.
  20. TheMainShane

    TheMainShane Electromatic

    Mar 16, 2021
    Thank you for the great information @Randy99CL ! I had a 10% coupon that I used on a "New" guitar. I am also a veteran, so I'll definitely consider that as an available option going forward! I'll reach out to GC and MF and see if they have any actual new guitars in stock and go from there. If not, I will talk to my local luthier about dialing the exiting one in. Much appreciated!
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