I seem to have an issue with necks not keeping flat/straight.  I usually use the 1x2 neck wood and double up for the heel into the box.  Woods I have readily available is red oak and poplar (which is ridiculous since I live in the furniture capitol of the US...not IKEA!). I then use a .25 inch fret board.  I have a current build where nearly every fret buzzes and I have nearly worn out the hard-tail (HT) bridge with adjustments.  It seems to get better as I fret down the neck near the the 12th.  All frets are level.  This is my 1st HT bridge thinking I could get easy adjustments from that.  String height is about 2-3mm at the nut and is larger at the 12th depending on HT bridge setting.  I have moved the neck a bit for back angle with not much difference.

I tried to use lighter strings, thicker necks carved from 2x2, but those aren't as comfortable.

What wood types are y'all using?

Would I have a more stable neck if I laminated different wood vertically for the neck?

I would rather not go a truss rod route, since thousands are made without one and because of the cost.

I realize I may be having a couple issues at the same time.  Any suggestions? 

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Pics may be helpful for getting some help. Is the buzzing from the start as built or develops over time? Poplar and oak are good for strength.

Make sure the action is good first at both the nut and the bridge. 

There should be just a tiny gap, paper or so thick between the first fret and bottom of string when you press the string down between the 2nd and 3rd fret, like he shows here:

Nut Action per Frets,com

Yes, pics would be nice? Especially inside, where the cutout is under the lid, you can get some bowing there too?

Sounds like you are building strong.   That's how I do them.  The only one I can recall bowing was when I cut it down too much going through the box.

That’s exactly what I was thinking?

Hi, first let's look at the neck movement issue. In my experience necks move for a couple of reasons, String tension pulling up, or the effects of mother nature, heat, cold, wet, dry. strings will pull a weak neck into a bow upwards, causing high action and bad intonation. Mother nature can cause a badly prepared neck to move in any direction.

In the photos, you can see how I overcome the effects of mother nature and string tension. Although I do add a  truss rod or neck reinforcing bar in a six-string guitar neck.

Timber sawn so that the grain is orientated as in the top photo is considered the most stable, and better resists the effects mentioned above. I always use gain running as above in all my necks. If I cant get perfect straight grain I will slice the board up and oppose the grain direction for strength, as in the other photo. However many Hard Maple necks are not as described above

Frets buzzing. Could be a host of reasons here. You say the frets are level, did you test by using a rocker on each fret in three different locations on each fret? Also, frets can be leveled but not seated firmly in their sots, so they pop up after. Also, did you start with perfectly flat neck stock and fingerboard?

I would suggest that if you are fingering the frets the action at the nut is way way off. You say 2-3mm string height, over the first fret is normally measured in thousandths of an inch, say 20 thou. 

I'm talking full guitars, but the principle is the same. Action at the 12th fret is around 2mm on my non-slide acoustic guitars.

Cheers Taff

Not clear on how a neck bowing from string tension would cause fret buzz.  It make the action higher.

Like Taffy said, investigate other causes.

Carl, search “Neck Relief” and you will understand how string pull affects fret buzz & bowing in the neck? It is very common, in fact, the Truss Rod was invented to counteract this? 

Hi, further to BrianQs comment before adjustable truss rods solid bars were used. No adjustment. I used bars in my early guitars. One I still play, over 30years on, still has the same low string height it had when first built. The neck is still flat.

The action does change with help from Mother Nature, but I have two different height saddles to deal with seasonal changes.

I have use Radiata pine for a neck, as an experiment. It was 7/8" x 11/4" wide with a 1/4" fingerboard, I also inlaid a hardwood beam in a slot under the board. It has stayed stable and straight for two years now.

Loosely fitted frets can allow a neck to bow up easier. Conversely, over tight frets can contribute to back bow. Sorry to ramble on.

I know what neck relief is & that a truss rod is used to adjust it & counteract the string pull.  I do all my own setups & adjustments on all of my guitars. 

Not enough neck relief will cause string buzz,  Too much makes it hard to play.  I have never witnessed too much neck relief from string tension cause string buzz.

Maybe it is bowing back, but since he tried lighter strings to fix it, it read like he was getting a concave condition from the string tension.

Dale, major glitch in the system 

Dale, this is how you post a pic, but don’t forget to click the HTML Editor before you click Add?


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