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  • fretwear 7:12PM
  • jonpowl 7:12PM

Fret Buzz Help

Recently bought a Cigano Gj-10, but I keep running into buzz on the 1st string around the 12th fret. Also, it keeps getting worse! Since it has started it seems every day I pick it up the buzz has creeped it's way farther down/up the neck. First the 12th fret then a slight buzz on the 11th/13th etc. Can anyone offer any suggestions to fix this problem?


  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆVirtuoso 503
    edited March 2017
    The first step is to check the action. Take a pick 2mm thick (e.g. black gator grip), and slip it under the 1st string around the 12th fret.

    A: The pick is held in place: Action is too low. You can probably fix this yourself. What you have to do next depends if your neck is straight or not.

    Remove the pick, and sight down the neck from base of the guitar - i.e. looking from the bridge to the nut. Your face should be somewhere near the lower bout, and these three points should be approximately collinear: your eyeball, the place where the 1st string touches the bridge, the place where the 1st string touches the zero-fret.

    Compare the line of the 1st string (which will always be a straight line) with the line made by the edges of the frets. The edge of the frets should also be mostly straight line (top pic "zero relief"). A slight curving up towards the string is OK too (bottom pic, "positive relief" amount of relief is kinda exaggerated for example, so look at the shape not the magnitude!).


    Both the profiles above should be OK and playable, or anything in between, however if the line of the fret edges is wavy (or it curves the wrong direction), that's bad. Follow a guide for adjusting the truss rod, so that the neck looks straight.

    Now, if the neck is straight but the action is still low, then you just need to raise the bridge with shims. Try that out with some cut up pieces of cardboard until you've got a playable height with no buzz, and when you put your 2mm pick under the strings it just slips out.

    Once you've got it right you can get some little shims made up out of rosewood or whatnot, or you can just shrug your shoulders and leave the cardboard under there (Django style).

    B: The pick slips out: Action at 12 fret should be OK. You probably can't fix this yourself. You might have the dreaded "hump" around the 14-15 fret, sight down the neck the same as described in A and look for the hump. If it's there, your guitar might need work from a luthier. If the neck still looks good, then you might have a deeply pitted fret(s) around the problem area and need a refret. Or you might have a high fret sticking up taller than the 12th fret. You can check it with a straight edge, something like a short metallic ruler which is about 3-4 fret width long. Move the edge around in the problem area, it should lie flat across each group of 3 frets in a row - if it "see-saws" around any particular fret then that's a high fret. Sometimes you can just bang these down with a rubber mallet but maybe it's best to get a fret dress with a luthier.

    Hope this helps
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Did you buy this Cigano used or new? Did you happen to change the strings after buying it, say putting on 10s if the guitar was setup with 11s? One of my guitars arrived perfectly set up with 11s, changed to 10s and it buzzed all over the place. I changed it back to 11s, and it has played well for going on two years.
  • If you had it shipped from a different state that has a different climate than around you, then it's still adjusting.
    If not then it would sound like you need to humidify it more or the neck is moving but that's probably less likely.
    Fret dress and a setup in general is always worth it regardless of the price paid, as long as this is your main GJ guitar and it will be played a lot.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Thank you all who posted advice! I truly appreciate it. Ended up using the cardboard shims like Wim Glenn suggested and it worked great. Thanks!
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