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New to CBG builds - Finished up my first one - Played the open strings and starting feeling pretty smug - Fingered the first and second frets - BZZZZZZZZZ.

I moved the strings off, pulled the frets and sanded down the neck - Reinstalled the frets and it seemed to work.

Question - I'd like to lower the action a little but I know from playing around it will give me the same fret buzz problem. I'm using bolts at both the nut and bridge so pretty adjustable - Not sure how to go about the process - Attack the nut, the bridge, the fretboard.

It only seems to be the 2nd and 3rd fret but I don't want to lower those so much that the 4th / 5th starts buzzing.

Is there a more scientific way to go about this - I feel like my solutions are geared toward trying random things.

Thanks in advance

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Hope you've made some progress... The trick to low action, especially at the lower frets is ensuring all the frets are level.  Sanding the neck flat will help, but you still need to check the frets.

They sell fancy fret leveling tools, but all you need is a short straightedge that will lay across three frets.  With that you can lay the edge on three frets and see if it rocks back and forth.  (A utility knife blade works great for the higher numbered frets.)  You should check for fret level at each string position, as the fret can be warped.

If you find you have a high fret, you can give it a tap and see if you can set it a little more deeply.  If you want really low action, you'll need to level your frets with a long (18"?), very very straight sanding block.  There are lots of instructions how to do this on the web.  basically, color the top of each fret with a sharpie, run the  sanding block on a couple light passes and you'll see what's low.  Work your way down until the top of every fret is touched, then re-crown your frets.  I haven't had to do this, but I've seen the process done...

As far as lowering the action, the action at the nut really only affects buzzing at the first fret, but you want it low to reduce the amount of string stretch that occurs when you fret the lower end.  That stretch sharpens the notes on the stretched string.  

Best of luck!


John gives some good advice.  The old "find and tap" has solved many a fret problem and will probably do best in your current situation (with the frets already set).

A trick I've come to use when building the neck is to lay the frets, then clamp them flat.  To do this I place a piece of flat wood on top of the frets, then put one of those super-sturdy resin or aluminum levels on top of that, then place 5 or 6 clamps all along the neck and-- if using glue on the frets-- let it dry. 

This will press all the frets to the same height.   Using this method I've not had a fret buzz yet.  Hope it works as well for you.  : )

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