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Discussion Starter #1
Yeh I know its not a sax, but ideally Im after some mechanically minded person to give em an idea

Question for those that repair guitars, be you DIY, self taught, commercial or hobyist, actually even if you dont repair them but can come up with a solution Ill be indebted to you

A common problem with guitars is fret buzz, or actions set so low they start buzzing, after Ive levelled a set of frets, I lower the action to what I think I can get away with, Im thinking of making a device like a set of leds connected to each fret which light up if the string touches during the test, this means you can identify the exact point when the string touches when lowering, has anyone here made something similiar.

Currently I string em up and eyeball the action and test play, but would be great to have a setup that displays a lit led in relation to that particular fret being touched.

My issue isnt making a circuit board with leds but a way to couple the led wire to each fret without actually damaging them

Ideas
 

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I'd be thinking about something stroboscopic with the frequency of the strobe equalling the frequency of the string.
Any fault should then be easier to detect.

But this is pure theory...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually thats a point, I use a digital tuning program before they go out, and I use it to tune them to pitch, it shows a frequecny display across the whole range 20hz-20khz and the dominant peaks being played. In theory If I used this during the string setup stage it would show the strings peak point nulling out as it touched a fret else where. Nice thought, Ill have a look at that tommorrow. If it works Ill take a photo

Would still like to couple a wire to the fret,only becuase then a singular led will light up to indicate that fret was touched by the strings vibration. Then you can go, okay fret is too high bridge is to low or nut is too low or simply action is too low
 

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It's easy to over think and over complicate. You've ruled out electrical tape?

I'm trying to visualize what you're trying to do and it seems to me that taping the small wires to the end of each fret along the side of the neck might be the only way to do this without marring the finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thats exactly the only option I have at the moment drew, and that was how I was going to do the proto type. Ideally however I would have a jig that simply clips to the guitar with sprung loaded contact points, but the points need to be moveable to compensate for a fender fret setup or marting or gibson and so forth

Im imagining a plastic I beam (small) the length of the fretboard with slideable pickups or contacts which could be simply slid up or down the I beam and make contact with the frets along the side of the guitar, but I would need to be able to connect the I beam easily to the guitars neck without damaging it. Hence the question being put out there a s to whether anyone has seen this already or been involved in making one

Its also nice to think outside of the square

Heres a drawing of what Im trying to do, example finger the 2nd fret, which will make the 2nd led light up becuase the string is being played at this position, as the strings are strummed in this scenario the string is touching the 8th fret momentarily and illuminating the led, you may think its unnessary but you can spend way too much time when lowering actions looking for the point of buzz and then eliminating it, seriously if I wasted a day making something I d recoup the lost time within a month with the time savings generated
 

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I thought of that and would have bet London to a brick you'd come up with a fancy jig. haha. I also realized you'd have to have a sliding jig and there's the bugger of it.

If the contacts move, how are you gonna know if it's fret buzz or the jig contact moving. You won't get a false positive but the chance of a false negative is high and then you end up getting the $#!%$ and hurling the jig at the offsider in disgust.

Let me sleep on it. The answer is probably so simple we're missing it.
 

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Just thinking out loud here: How about if each contact point is a U or C or J shaped cradle where the weight of the guitar neck presses the contact point down to the fret? Put these cradles on a hinge so they can slide up and down along the length of the fretboard. Lay the guitar down flat on a table with the neck inside the jig, slide the cradles on the hinge to align with the frets, let the weight of the guitar hold the points in place.

Or maybe just have the contact points be above the neck on a hinge type thing, and gravity hold them on the frets.

The guitar would have to be held steady in either case while you fingered each fret and plucked the string.
 

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A common problem with guitars is fret buzz, or actions set so low they start buzzing, after Ive levelled a set of frets, I lower the action to what I think I can get away with, Im thinking of making a device like a set of leds connected to each fret which light up if the string touches during the test, this means you can identify the exact point when the string touches when lowering, has anyone here made something similiar.
I've levelled frets and done refrets before and I know the problem.

I havn't tried any of this but here goes.

It reminds me of a electronics grid thing, like early computer keyboard diode grids.

Seeing that the frets are metal, a small voltage could be applied to each fret and monitored with a single led for each fret and the strings would be grounded by connecting the bridge to ground.

So if a grounded string touched one of the metal frets with a small voltage going through it then the the fret would be grounded and the led would turn off.

I don't know if it would work as I havn't thought it through very well.

Maybe something with diodes and leds might work.
 

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Are you talking about acoustic guitars or electric
 

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A set of spring clips shaped like a thumb and middle finger rounded into circle. Fret side is a little metal U shaped connector pad and bottom is neoprene foam or similar covered curved back. Spring clip wire plugs into led set. If wood bridge saddle no problem each string can be done individually and bob's your whatever. If metal saddle either isolate strings somehow or do the last bit visually.

Acoustic guitar necks move around so much more from season to season that eyeball and experience is still the only way to go for them IMO. My friend who built my guitars who is one of the top luthiers in our country and has taught the subject in college takes about 2 minutes to find any low spots by eye. It takes me about 5 minutes. He taught me the press down two frets about 6 frets apart and eyeball technique. He doesn't do or work on electric guitars though.
 

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So, when a milling machine head needs to be trammed to deterime that the table is in the plane that is the perpendicular plane relative to the axis of the spindle a dial indicator setup is used. So, what if a fixture was made to contact the fret closest to the nut and closest to the bridge...aka the extreem ends of the fret board, then a sliding indicator swinging on an arm or sliding on a beam could be swinged? swung? slid? over each fret inbetween to indicate its relative height from the extreeme ends. If you setup the extreeme ends to be adjustable to get a zero reading on the indicator then you not only could tell if they were high or low but how much you had to adjust everything. If you wanted a go-no-go guage you could use a tool height offset type guage to slide along the beam.

When you finally get the fixture made I could use one to fit mandolins. Hope my 2 cents help.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #12
All good ideas guy. Appreciate the input

Matt, its not really about getting the fret board level I can do that by eye, and blocks. Im actually the warranty agent for guitars with some big names yamaha etc... The problem is about the string vibration, as the string is strummed it vibrates at its half length and then half and half again, the problem arises when you get a sympathetic vibration as well. Tracking down a buzzing fret can be like trying to find a buzz on a sax, it resonates through the body and only through experiebce we sort of know where to look

Saxpiece thats exactly what Im trying to do, now how to I connect the wires to the guitar

Just trying to find ways of mechanilising repairs or validating and taking more of the human factor (which can err) out

Ps we tried a dummy run this morning with just a singular auto shop light tester, I strummed and touched the auto tester to each fret and it works good now just need to have a complete system so its hands free
 

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Simso,
Does it not Buzz due to the fact that the string is hitting a fret? Even if you are talking about the nodes of the strings, 1/2 of a 1/2 of a half... can you do any better than having a "perfectly" flat fret board? So, if you are getting buzz due to the sympathetic vibration of a string if you "fix" the fret that is causing the buzz, don't you run the risk of lowering it to the point of creating buzz on or complete contact on other frets when you use that fretted note ?

I am a novice stringed instrument maker. Learn me :) FYI I've made (from scractch) a total of about 40 mandolins with my students now. Setting up the fretboards and string heights is a PITA. If your new fret gizmo works I'll be making a copy in a heart beat.

Thanks, Matt
 

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Just another thought. (If I understand the problem as you explained it.) You need a tester that triggers an indicator when the vibration of a string is affected by a fret.

Could you build a continuity tester type device that had one lead alligator clamped to the string at the peg head and another lead with a contact that gets touched to the end of each fret? You could then create a simple circuit with a schmitt trigger that cleaned up the signal and latched a circuit that turned on an LED when "buzz" was detected. A micro controller like an Arduino of Basic stamp could be programmed to do this or you could hard wire it with a few electronic components.

Of course when you try tuning those high end Eukelele's with plastic strings, this may not work. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Matt thats exactly what Im looking at doing, a simple continuity tester, however I want it set to indicate exactly which fret is causing the buzz, I can get the fret boards perfectly flat even when tensioned very rarely do I add in some relief, its just sometimes Ill get players in that want the action even lower again, ideally this would show them when they test play there new action that its unrealistic to go lower, and show them which fret is buzing,

The guitars are dialled in and levelled and mounted before and fret work is done, so its not a big step to attach a set of leds to indicate the action
 

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Now I get it... I think. Since stringed instruments have different fret spacing I think it would be difficult to make a universal tool for every instruments. contacting all of the frets at once given the change in the shape and style of fret boards might be problematic. Just to throw it out there, maybe a device connected to a linear potentiometer that translated electrical resistance to distance by processing it through a microcontroller. X resistance means X distance from the nut. You would then have to measure from the nut to determine which fret was buzzing.

This is a fun and interesting problem to solve. Not exactly sax stuff, but fun.
 

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I know that you guys did a web site and found things like this, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the link hak, some one out there is on the same wave length

Ive cut from there web page

Finding Buzzing Frets

Here's a cool method I read about in Hideo Kamimoto's book Electric Guitar Setups. You need to have a digital or analog multimeter so that you can measure the resistance as described. You want to have a pair of test leads with a clip built into the end. Also, a capo is handy for holding the strings down in the position where you're getting the buzz.

Clip one of the leads onto the string that's giving you a buzz, between the nut and a tuner.
Put the capo at the position where you're getting the buzz. Example: If you get a buzz on the 3rd string when you fret it at the 8th fret, place the capo at the 8th fret of the 3rd string. The multimeter lead would be connected to the 3rd string between the nut and the tuner.
Sit in your normal playing position, and play to reproduce the buzz. While doing so, hold the other lead from the multimeter on the fret you want to test. Anywhere that the string is buzzing against a fret, it will complete the circuit and you will get a reading. You may find that the string is actually buzzing against several frets. For example, using the previous example, if you put the second lead on the 12th fret of the 3rd string while striking the 3rd string, and you get a reading, then it's buzzing on the 12th fret. Strike the string in your normal playing fashion so's not to introduce false results - obviously, if you strike the string really hard, it will vibrate much stronger and buzz against frets it wouldn't normally buzz against.
Finally, repeat this procedure for each individual string that you're getting buzzing on.
If you are getting buzzing, it could be due to a high fret, and it's possible that just tweaking the bridge saddle for that particular string may be enough to solve the problem. If not, you may want to bring it to a reputable luthier or repair shop and have it investigated further. Here's a couple of excellent links to help you diagnose fret buzzes:

Frets.com Buzz Diagnosis
Musical Instrument Makers Forum Buzz Diagnosis

The only issue is again there only using the idea as we were discussing on a singular fret to eliminate it, holding a multimeter, my goal is to have a jig that will illimate which fret is being touched and indicate which individual one, so those heavy handed strummers can still get a low action
 

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My recommendation to 'heavy' strummers (especially if their guitar is pretty well setup) is to do what I did, and put on medium gauge strings instead of lights. They really aren't that much harder to play, and sound great!

I'm using elixer nanoweb mediums on my Taylor Dread.
 

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Just a note that AFAIK acoustic fretboards aren't supposed to be quite flat under tension
 
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