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HELP!! My Gibson J-200, MY BABY IS SICK!! fret buzzing high E string frets 10-14.. :(
Old 14th June 2019
Gear Nut

HELP!! My Gibson J-200, MY BABY IS SICK!! fret buzzing high E string frets 10-14.. :(

Guitar is 1.5 years old, kept in a decent environment. Check the link for a video of the buzzing. It's on the high E string frets 10-14 and the G string fret 13. I did change strings and still got the buzzing (sadly).

I know it probably needs a setup. And if I lived somewhere that I had a local tech down the street it'd be no problem, I'd drop $50-100 and call it a day. But I live in the Middle East and nobody knows or works on guitars here. So the only option would be to haul it to the UK or Europe or something. Which SUCKS. Or else work on it myself. Which is why I'm posting trying to figure out how to fix it myself. Rather than recording TRAX with this beautiful masterpiece of an instrument LOL.

This is stressing me out so much. I wish there were a simple way to fix it. I've done some truss rodding on other guitars and basic setups. I'm guessing it's a problem at the bridge/saddle, NOT the truss or frets. If it were a Strat or something I know I could just mess with the bridge pins to get the string height right. But this is a Gibson Jumbo, my baby. I don't have the skills to operate on her. I've watched YouTube videos of guys cutting new saddles for vintage acoustics. I know that task is above my head and paygrade. Maybe you guys have some ideas of how to fix it? I don't mind learning. I guess. If I have to LOL

The problem is I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT! lol. Ok, I'm calming down. Panic attack over. Thanks for the tips everyone.

Man I really love this guitar. It records like nothing else. Holy hell. I love it.
Old 14th June 2019
You mentioned the truss rod but I'd double check. Look down the neck from the bridge to the nut. Using the strings as a reference. I like a tiny bit of relief but it should be pretty straight.

If the guitar used to play well I'm 90% sure that's what it'll be.

If the guitar's action feels nice playing open chords, and the neck looks fine then it's time to look at the bridge. It's easy to slip a sliver of card/plastic under the saddle to see what effect that has on the buzz. If you want 1mm more height at the 12th fret - add a 2mm shim under the saddle.

Then... decision time as to whether keep the shim or buy a new saddle.
Old 15th June 2019
Lives for gear
Saddle height is that LAST issue to look at yet I'm not ruling it out immediately although to be honest, saddle height isn't something that moves. The problem your looking for is something that MOVES.

The first candidate is the neck. A soldat said, sight down the neck looking for any high frets. If frets 10-14 are buzzing then the very first suspect is that fret 15 is up higher than the other frets. It could be that the truss rod needs adjustment. It could be that fret 15 needs to be gently hammered back in place with a rubber/plastic hammer.

EDIT: I was thinking backwards. Fret 15 may be high, not fret nine.

If you have to do these fixes yourself then start with buying yourself a fret rocker which is a tool you use to check for high frets.
Look for YouTube video's on fret maintenance.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 15th June 2019 at 05:27 AM..
Old 15th June 2019
Gear Nut

Thanks guys.

I just noticed something: if I lay the guitar down on the table with a wood block under the headstock to rest the guitar (like you see them do in repair shops) I get frets 10 and 14 back and it's only frets 11 to 13 that are affected... vs. when it's playing position they're all affected

Also, I do have a fret rocker, and it's not rocking at all in the area of those frets. So they seem to be level...

So is this info telling me the neck needs some relief?

Which way do I give it a quarter turn? Let's be honest it's going to be 1/8 or 1/16 of a turn increments when I finally get the guts to do it LOL

edit: The buzz at the G string is also much improved when I give the neck relief by placing it on the table... I'm beginning to feel more certain that you guys are right and this could be a simple neck problem... any other thoughts before I give her a twist??
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
My guess is that the neck does need a little more relief. Either the neck needs to be adjusted or you need to go to a slightly heavier gauge of string. I have found that J200's can be very touchy regarding neck relief and string tension.
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear

Loosening the truss rod would help if the bulge were more down the neck. Now it will only add to the "s-shape". The rod doesn't affect the (neighborhood of) the body joint area.

A long distance diagnose is a long shot, but it looks like a dry instrument. Assuming the guitar was perfect when new.

Yes, a higher action will make the buzzing go away, but it will also make the guitar unnecessarily hard to play.
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