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Thread: PRS Custom 22 Artist - Setup Help Please

  1. #1
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    Post PRS Custom 22 Artist - Setup Help Please

    Hello! I bought my first PRS a few weeks ago, a 2000 Custom 22! I played a friends CE22 about a year ago and ever since playing a PRS, I had to have one for myself!

    I have a 'setup' dilemma though I'm trying to fix and the wife has been getting edgy with how much time I've been spending with my guitar lol. Trying to get it just right with adjustments can take longer than picking up and playing for 15 mins to an hour. Help save my marriage and get my guitar setup properly, please! Also, for my mental sanity because I just want to play at this point!

    So here is my problem, I'm still getting buzzing in the frets ranging from 5-10ish. I can get the guitar buzz free pretty much with single notes, but one power chord and BAM, buzzzzzz! I've been doing TONS of reading all over the internet and I feel like I could give a class now on truss rod adjustments, relief, bridges, the heights to use, pickup heights, etc, but clearly I could not because I can't get my own guitar right! >_< *Just to note, I have Dan's guitar set up book and also, I've tried playing softly and with perfect technique, it still buzzes.

    So here are my numbers. .005 at the first fret when pressing down on the second. Relief at the 7th fret is .010 (capo on 1st, holding down string on last fret). String height at the 12th fret (5/64" Treble), (6/64" Bass). I have normal 10's on and I have a stoptail piece.

    I at one point had too much relief as it felt 'muddy'. I actually straightened the neck out more because I read that if you have too much relief, the strings can buzz in the 5-10 range because they're hitting the 12th fret due to the dip in the guitar and then hitting the 12th on the 'way back up' the fretboard. When straightening it, it started to feel better and better, but it never got to the 'buzz free' point before it was then going to be a back bow... I got to about .004 relief at the 7th fret.

    From all of my reading, the only things I could think of that it might be at this point is the nut or my frets. I have no buzzing with open strings though, so does that rule out the nut? I know people say, 'Take it to a pro to set up', but no, I want to do this, I do not quit. Also, one's perfect setup, may not be right for me. As I know some setup guitars differently than others.

    Help is MUCH appreciated as I want to enjoy this guitar since I've been wanting a PRS since a kid and the dream's finally come true, yet I'm not to the point of just being able to play and enjoy.

    THANK YOU!

  2. #2
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Yup, the nut is only a factor if you get buzzing on open strings. Once fretted you're into the realms of truss rod adjustment and string height adjustment as well as potential fret issues.

    The thing to watch out for with setup guides - as you've pretty much pointed out - (factory or otherwise) is that they are really only a starting point. Some folks like a ram-rod straight neck whilst others need a fair amount of relief. Same with action, etc...

    Looking down the side of the neck and the front of the neck from the headstock end how do things look? You should see a tiny amount of curve. Does the neck look twisted in any way?

    Check that your frets are level using a metal rule and the width end of a credit card. Are they looking very worn in places?

    Your stats are about the same as mine - though I have a little more relief. I get a little buzz if I dig in but it isn#t sounded by the amp and isn't enough to kill sustain.

    Hard to say right now but the fretwork may be the issue or could still be technique related.

    If your technique is solid and the frets are fine then you may have to up the action a touch.
    Last edited by Mikegarveyblues; 09-12-2012 at 04:53 PM.
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Mike!

    The neck did look twisted a bit, but I believe it was the optical illusion of having the sixth string higher. It almost looked as though the 6th string side was twisted, but as I said, illusion.

    They really didn't look very worn in places, so I believe I was good there. I also took a level to it and it seemed to be the right progression of gap. I maybe had one fret slightly lower around the 16th I think. (I was a little confused about the credit card part, I'm not sure I interpreted it correctly.)

    I ended up doing about another 1/8th turn to loosen the trussrod and my relief went to .014 which is almost perfect! So here I am now...just a slight bit of buzz...do I up the relief a tiny bit more, or my action? I feel I'm almost there, but it doesn't have that 'perfect' feeling just yet. I was also being very conscious of my picking technique. I'm not too arrogant to admit that the picking couldn't be a problem sometimes or that I don't do it right, but in comparison to my other guitars I play on, I don't buzz with this same technique, so I was purely going off of that comparison.

    I started to come to the conclusion, that it may be I'm not used to this radius of a fretboard...does that make sense? The way to describe it is I feel that I have to press down extra hard on the 1st and 6th strings...I know the bridge is contoured for my guitar radius, but that is how I would explain it. Like I'm having to press down extra hard to keep it from buzzing. I almost feel I should be making it go sharp if I was on a different guitar. Does that clue something in?

    I have owned/own, a Fender New American Standard Strat, ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe, Squier Strat, and my Alvarez Acoustic.

    Also, nice vids on YouTube Sir!

  4. #4
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    Sorry I did not read all the replies, but I can offer my personal setup guide that I wrote down after watching prs setup videos, attending the NY prs experience, and reading through their website. It's essential to follow it in the order written.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV8kMUB8n4c

    PRS SETUP GUIDE:

    1. Put a business card or towel under the bridge
    2. Holding the strings with your hand against fret board, snip them one by one
    3. Pull all the strings out from the bottom at once, and roll into one circle in your hand and toss
    4. Unlock the tuners with a coin and remove the other string bits
    5. Clean and polish the guitar
    6. Insert the new strings by turning the tuning keys so that the hole faces the nut.
    a. Insert the strings, turn the peg finger tight, then give it a little turn with a coin to tighten.
    b. Bend the string sharply at the tuning peg, then snip it off.
    c. Stretch the strings and tune them up.
    7. Fix Truss Rod. Look for .008 at 5th fret while holding the 1st and last frets, or for .010 (business card) at the 8th fret while holding the 1st and last frets.
    a. Neck will bow forward (convex) in the winter, and backward (concave) in the summer.
    b. Turn the truss rod turn at a time until the desired measurement is hit
    8. Nut File: 1st fret should read 1/64 on High E and 3/128 on Low E from bottom of the string to the top of the metal fret.
    9. Adjust the Bridge Screws and Trem Claw so Bridge sits 1/16 over the body of the guitar with a slight forward tilt.
    a. Low E Should hit F# when pulled back. Adjust trem claw
    until you hit the F#.
    b. All the bridge screws must be in line with each other. When adjusting the bridge screws, guitar must be detuned.
    c. Likewise, it is advisable to slightly detune when adjusting the trem claw so as not to snap strings.
    10. Action: Adjust Bridge Saddles so they have a 10 radius and the String Action is 2/32 on the High E and 5/64 on the Low E (a little over 2/32) at top of 12 metal fret
    11. Pickup Height is adjusted next so the Low E is 3/32 and the High E is 5/64 while holding the last fret
    12. Set the Intonation so the 12th fret note = 12th fret Harmonic

  5. #5
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Cheers bud!

    Hmmm... Your action, relief and string height all sound fine so you shouldn't be finding it hard to press the strings down.

    Hearing that my first thoughts would be that either the strings are way too high and too heavy a guage and / or the nut slots are too high making it harder to fret the notes.

    This seems unlikely though.

    The radius shouldn't be causing you any issues I don't think.

    IS there plenty fret material or anything that looks like it's been changed in the time since it was made?

    If you only have a tiny amount of buzz then if it doesn't sound through the amp on the clean channel I wouldn't worry too much. All my guitars buzz a little if I dig in but that's the way I like it. I appreciate you don't wan that though.

    I'm at a slight loss at the moment.

    Any chance you could posts a few close up pics of the guitar? Say near the nut, bridge and some frets?

    It may be that in the end you do have to go to a tech to have a pro set-up.

    Applaud you for trying to do it yourself though. Every guitarist should have those skills!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoMaMaz View Post
    Thanks Mike!

    The neck did look twisted a bit, but I believe it was the optical illusion of having the sixth string higher. It almost looked as though the 6th string side was twisted, but as I said, illusion.

    They really didn't look very worn in places, so I believe I was good there. I also took a level to it and it seemed to be the right progression of gap. I maybe had one fret slightly lower around the 16th I think. (I was a little confused about the credit card part, I'm not sure I interpreted it correctly.)

    I ended up doing about another 1/8th turn to loosen the trussrod and my relief went to .014 which is almost perfect! So here I am now...just a slight bit of buzz...do I up the relief a tiny bit more, or my action? I feel I'm almost there, but it doesn't have that 'perfect' feeling just yet. I was also being very conscious of my picking technique. I'm not too arrogant to admit that the picking couldn't be a problem sometimes or that I don't do it right, but in comparison to my other guitars I play on, I don't buzz with this same technique, so I was purely going off of that comparison.

    I started to come to the conclusion, that it may be I'm not used to this radius of a fretboard...does that make sense? The way to describe it is I feel that I have to press down extra hard on the 1st and 6th strings...I know the bridge is contoured for my guitar radius, but that is how I would explain it. Like I'm having to press down extra hard to keep it from buzzing. I almost feel I should be making it go sharp if I was on a different guitar. Does that clue something in?

    I have owned/own, a Fender New American Standard Strat, ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe, Squier Strat, and my Alvarez Acoustic.

    Also, nice vids on YouTube Sir!
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
    Laney Lionheart L5T-112, Fender Mustang 1
    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

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