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This may have been addressed before, but I can't really find a thread that targets this problem.

Whenever I play on my low B, E, or A string between open and fifth fret inclusive, it always buzzes when I play without an amp. My action is pretty high, and saddle (I think that's what it's called) is also pretty high... and none of the strings touch any of the frets when I'm not playing. I talked to one of the guitar repairmen at Guitar Center, and he just told me that it was normal and it should sound fine once an amp is plugged in, however I usually practice without an amp. Is there any way that I can reduce the buzzing sound? Could this somehow be a truss rod problem?

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2 Answers 2

There are a few things that come to mind in this situation, especially for an older instrument. These are in decreasing order of probability, at least in my experience.

  1. The nut is worn
  2. There could be one or more frets that are higher than the others
  3. There could be a loose fret at the lower end of the neck that needs to be reseated.

Just FYI, adjusting the truss rod does not have very much effect on frets at either end of the neck.

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"Fret buzz" is normally caused by the vibrating string touching a fret in between the fretted note and the bridge. Usually, about midway as that's where the amplitude of vibration (the amount the string moves) is the greatest. Causes are normally a too-low action, a raised fret, a warped neck....

As noted, the truss rod adjusts the neck relief between the area around the nut and the area where the neck joins the body.
I assume we're talking about an electric here... There are standard measurements for the setup (string height at certain points) which you can find all over the 'net. Get yourself a precision ruler and check string height and inspect for a loose or raised fret. If that doesn't nail it down, have it checked by a decent technician.

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