Author Topic: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!  (Read 3217 times)

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Offline twistor59

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Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« on: June 06, 2020, 10:09:34 am »
I wonder if anyone can help.  I have a player series strat and, as the title suggests I have a chimy high pitched sitar-like transient on all frets, particularly noticeable with the top 3 strings.  It's most annoying when I use the neck pickup, which I'd want to have a smoother sound.  Here's what I've tried:

Adjust neck relief to 0.01" with feeler gauge at 8th fret when 1st fret is capo'd and 17th fret is fretted
Adjust action to 4/64" at 17th fret by changing bridge height
Put the pickups really low in case they are pulling the strings too much

I have 9 gauge strings.  It's my first and only guitar so I've nothing to compare it with, but it just sounds wrong to me.  I'm going to get some 10 gauge strings to try next, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be grateful.  BTW I don't have a particularly aggressive picking style

cheers

Phil

Offline SS7

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 10:35:44 am »
Sounds like maybe your frets aren't level. You can get a fret rocker to check, or be like me and use any straight object that is long enough to lay down on three frets - credit card, small remote, anything will do. Lay it down on the first three frets and check if it lays flat or rocking back and forth, then move up a fret. If you find any frets that are too tall you need to take your guitar to a tech since fret leveling isn't something you should be doing at home without either experience or specialized tools.

Offline agj

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 11:45:37 am »
Before checking for high frets you really should adjust the truss rod so that the neck is flat (no relief) with the strings off, a notched straight edge is a must, you can buy them reasonably cheap on Amazon or make your own out of an aluminium ruler.  In the case of the OP I'd probably bite the bullet and take it to a guitar tech. 
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Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 11:47:07 am »
Sounds like maybe your frets aren't level. You can get a fret rocker to check, or be like me and use any straight object that is long enough to lay down on three frets - credit card, small remote, anything will do. Lay it down on the first three frets and check if it lays flat or rocking back and forth, then move up a fret. If you find any frets that are too tall you need to take your guitar to a tech since fret leveling isn't something you should be doing at home without either experience or specialized tools.

Thank you - yes I'll have a careful look at that!

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 11:49:27 am »
Before checking for high frets you really should adjust the truss rod so that the neck is flat (no relief) with the strings off, a notched straight edge is a must, you can buy them reasonably cheap on Amazon or make your own out of an aluminium ruler.  In the case of the OP I'd probably bite the bullet and take it to a guitar tech.

OK thanks maybe I should do it next time I'm due for a string change.  It's not stopping me practicing, so not urgent.

Offline agj

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 12:26:33 pm »
OK thanks maybe I should do it next time I'm due for a string change.  It's not stopping me practicing, so not urgent.

Have you checked the bridge saddles? They should be set so they mirror the neck radius (in your case 9.5") the saddles themselves should sit level ie both sides of the saddle screwed down an equal amount, if they are not this can cause buzzing noises at the bridge IIRC StewMac did a video on this.
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Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 04:19:24 pm »
Have you checked the bridge saddles? They should be set so they mirror the neck radius (in your case 9.5") the saddles themselves should sit level ie both sides of the saddle screwed down an equal amount, if they are not this can cause buzzing noises at the bridge IIRC StewMac did a video on this.

I did check them as best as I could.  They do seem to track the neck radius and they are level.  One thing I did notice was that the saddle where the B string sits has a little groove worn in it by the string.  I'm not sure if that's normal?  I was quite surprised since I'm not really a heavy whammy user.

I've also read people talking about "ice pick tones".  That seemed to be something of what happens to me - there's a very thin high tone accompanying what I'm playing - like I have constant pinch harmonics.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 06:06:34 pm »
Does it happen regardless of which pickup you are playing on or is it more on one or two pickups? I’m half wondering if you’ve got microphonics which would point to a poorly potted pickup.

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2020, 07:01:27 pm »
Does it happen regardless of which pickup you are playing on or is it more on one or two pickups? I’m half wondering if you’ve got microphonics which would point to a poorly potted pickup.

That's an interesting idea.  It happens on all pickups but is most noticeable on the neck pickup, since that should be the mellower one!

If I play the guitar acoustically, I can hear a small, fairly short sitar-type transient on the B and top E strings.  When I play it electrically, that's when the very high pitched overtone is present.  I'm playing into a line6 Pod, then into a mixer and headphones.  I can set various equalizer patches to squash the high pitched overtone, but it takes out too much of the wanted tone when I do that.

One other thing I thought of was raising the action as high as possible just to see if it goes away.  If yes, it's definitely a fret buzz problem, and I'd really have to see a guitar tech when stuff re-opens again.

Offline agj

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2020, 07:12:10 pm »
What’s the height of both e strings at the 12th fret? In millimetres please asI can’t do imperial.
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Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2020, 07:28:25 pm »
What’s the height of both e strings at the 12th fret? In millimetres please asI can’t do imperial.

They're both about 2mm at the 12th fret at the moment

Offline agj

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2020, 10:35:16 am »
So at the higher end of the parameters, not a problem,  sometimes you can resonance from the trem springs on a Strat, try putting something in the cavity to dampen the springs, some people thread strips of foam inside the springs, I'm not saying you should go to this trouble, just something quick and simple first just to eliminate that area, if it still zings it's not the springs.
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Offline DarrellW

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2020, 03:28:46 pm »
Have you tried fretting it at the 1st and 12th fret to make sure that you have clearance? Also how much clearance do you have at the 1st fret - is the nut cut a bit low on those two strings? The other thing to try for that is to put a capo on the 1st fret and see if it goes away, then try moving it one fret at a time and find out where it goes.

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2020, 06:56:57 pm »
So at the higher end of the parameters, not a problem,  sometimes you can resonance from the trem springs on a Strat, try putting something in the cavity to dampen the springs, some people thread strips of foam inside the springs, I'm not saying you should go to this trouble, just something quick and simple first just to eliminate that area, if it still zings it's not the springs.

I just  tried shoving a Jcloth in with the springs.  Didn't make any difference sadly, but that's one more thing eliminated!

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2020, 07:03:27 pm »
Have you tried fretting it at the 1st and 12th fret to make sure that you have clearance? Also how much clearance do you have at the 1st fret - is the nut cut a bit low on those two strings? The other thing to try for that is to put a capo on the 1st fret and see if it goes away, then try moving it one fret at a time and find out where it goes.

Not quite sure what you mean Darrell (I'm a bit of a noob).   You mean simultaneously fretting at the 1st and 12th frets, and checking the clearance at frets 2 up to 11 with a feeler gauge?

The actually tinny sound problem occurs on all frets, so it seems unlikely that the nut slot height would cause that.  Is it possible to attach a recording to these posts?  I'm not sure how good the quality is I can record on my phone.


Offline DarrellW

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2020, 09:48:02 pm »
“Not quite sure what you mean Darrell (I'm a bit of a noob).   You mean simultaneously fretting at the 1st and 12th frets, and checking the clearance at frets 2 up to 11 with a feeler gauge?”
YES, you should have some clearance.

“The actually tinny sound problem occurs on all frets, so it seems unlikely that the nut slot height would cause that.  Is it possible to attach a recording to these posts?  I'm not sure how good the quality is I can record on my phone.”
Right if it occurs on all frets the that suggests it’s not the neck that’s causing the problem, it suggests that there is something else wrong, it could be maybe your pickups are a bit too high, try lowering them a bit but make sure you remember how much you adjusted them by. Finally check that both grub screws in the saddles are making proper contact with the bridge, if there’s a gap one side that could cause the problem.

Offline simon3142

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2020, 08:45:57 am »
Is this a new problem or has your guitar always done it?
If it is new, had anything changed before it it started?
Was the guitar new when you got it? (in case a previous owner did something)

Something I don't think anyone mentioned is pickup height, if the pickups are too close to the strings you can get weird harmonics.


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Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2020, 12:15:26 pm »
“Not quite sure what you mean Darrell (I'm a bit of a noob).   You mean simultaneously fretting at the 1st and 12th frets, and checking the clearance at frets 2 up to 11 with a feeler gauge?”
YES, you should have some clearance.

“The actually tinny sound problem occurs on all frets, so it seems unlikely that the nut slot height would cause that.  Is it possible to attach a recording to these posts?  I'm not sure how good the quality is I can record on my phone.”
Right if it occurs on all frets the that suggests it’s not the neck that’s causing the problem, it suggests that there is something else wrong, it could be maybe your pickups are a bit too high, try lowering them a bit but make sure you remember how much you adjusted them by. Finally check that both grub screws in the saddles are making proper contact with the bridge, if there’s a gap one side that could cause the problem.

I did try putting the pickups as low as they would go, but it didn't help.  I also checked that the screws on the saddles are firm against the bridge.

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2020, 12:17:55 pm »
Is this a new problem or has your guitar always done it?
If it is new, had anything changed before it it started?
Was the guitar new when you got it? (in case a previous owner did something)

Something I don't think anyone mentioned is pickup height, if the pickups are too close to the strings you can get weird harmonics.

The guitar has always done it - neck pickup position in particular always sounded very shrill - the other pickups do too, but slightly less irritatingly.  Yes it was a new guitar - MiM strat I bought last summer.

I did indeed try lowering the pickups massively, but without success.

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2020, 12:21:41 pm »
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, people have been very helpful.  Haven't solved it yet, but I'm still grateful for the advice!

One other thought I had - as I mentioned somewhere in this thread I'm going into a Line 6 Pod HDX500 and then straight into mixer+headphones.  I just read that there's a parameter on the Pod called "In-Z" which controls the input impedance of the Pod.  Apparently if this is set too high for the guitar, you can get some treble boosting.  I'll give that a try tonight (working at the moment)

chrs

Phil

Offline agj

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2020, 01:16:56 pm »
One question I didn't ask but should've, does the guitar play ok and sound ok acoustically, if the answer is yes then it could be external, assuming the pick ups are not set too high.
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Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2020, 01:39:56 pm »
One question I didn't ask but should've, does the guitar play ok and sound ok acoustically, if the answer is yes then it could be external, assuming the pick ups are not set too high.

I think it probably does play OK acoustically.  There's a very short "pyooww" sitar-ey transient (LOL) when the note is picked, say on the B string.  I don't have enough experience to know if this is OK or not and obv. unfortunately I can't go to a store and try another guitar for comparison at the moment.

The shrillness which I'm trying to fix lasts much longer after that, which makes me think that perhaps they're unrelated and the transient is OK.  The pickups are still way down after the testing I was doing - I need to put them back where they were.

Offline stitch101

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2020, 04:21:02 pm »
Are the strings under the string tree on the head stock?
If so try tying a bandana or sock around the strings behind the nut and see
if that makes a difference.

https://youtu.be/jlfFPH_uaEM



Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2020, 08:20:56 am »
Are the strings under the string tree on the head stock?
If so try tying a bandana or sock around the strings behind the nut and see
if that makes a difference.

https://youtu.be/jlfFPH_uaEM




Thanks for the suggestion - I tried that, but no change unfortunately.

Offline twistor59

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Re: Tried everything I read but still sitar soun on all frets!
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2020, 08:30:42 am »
A few more updates:

I tried plugging the guitar straight into the mixer, so bypassing the line 6 POD to eliminate any problems that it might have introduced - the problem was still there.

One other thing I noticed:  If I look at the guitar from the side, where the neck joins the body then at the end of the fretboard I can see a gap of about 1mm where the last bit of the fretboard overhangs the body.  I would have expected (?) that to be totally snug with no gap at all - I surely shouldn't be able to look at the guitar from the side and see daylight there!  So maybe the neck isn't quite seated right in the pocket and is offset or even tilted a bit somehow.  I made sure the 4 screws at the back were as tight as they could reasonably be.

I would love to get a tech to look at this but until they re-open near me I can't at the moment.  But I'm interested in peoples opinions though - I would imagine if the neck wasn't seated correctly - either offset or tilted someway, I might get the sort of problems I'm seeing.

I should add - mine doesn't have one of those microtilt adjustment screws.

I made a photo but I'm not sure I can upload it here.

 

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