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Thread: E string choking on higer frets

  1. #1

    Default E string choking on higer frets

    I've got a problem with my Eastman 305 -- a few weeks ago I noticed that my high e string starts to "choke" on higher frets.

    I first noticed the issue when I fingerd the 12th fret on the e-string, the string is muted by what sounds like the 14th fret.

    This problem has started to move up the neck, now frets 7 up to 13 all are muted by the 14th fret and I've noticed that the A string has started to become affected on the 12th fret.

    What could be wrong with the setup? Do I just take it to a luthier, or is this something I might be able to adjust on my own?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    The first thing I would check is for a high fret. You need a straight edge that just spans three frets along the string path in the area in question. If you place the straight edge on the 13th, 14th, and 15th frets and it rocks on the 14th fret you have a high fret. If there is light between the center fret and the straight edge you have a low fret. A fret needing to be leveled is something you probably want to have a luthier do.

    A different possibility is you don't have enough relief on the neck or possibly have a back-bow. Loosening the truss rod a bit may help.

    I suggest you get Rob Meldrum's excelent setup e-book which he has made free to Cafe members.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    Don't know where you live, but if you live in an area where it is cold and you have heat running to keep warm your instrument may have dried out and the action lowered. Check your string height at the 12th fret and see it is is where it was or should be. This happens a lot this time of year and the way it's progressing on yours sounds like it may be the problem, easily remedied. You may still have a tall fret as Nevin says, but if it wasn't doing it before and is getting worse dryness would be my first guess.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    Thanks for the reply's -- I do indeed live in a cold area of the country. I doubt its a high fret as the problem developed recently. When you mentioned drying out I realized my habit of practicing in front of the fireplace is probably not helping things out in that regard. I'll stop doing that immediately

  5. #5
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    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    Given it's the driest part of the winter in many places, I would probably address first by spending a week or two getting and keeping your instrument at proper humidity. If that fails to resolve it, then a high fret like suggested above is the issue - either way, humidity will need to be addressed first [most luthiers around here hold your instrument at proper humidity for a few days before touching it during deep winter, for this very reason].
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    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    I have friends who play every night in front of their fireplace. All there instruments have cracks in the tops. Raise your bridge a little till it's not so dry.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  8. #7

    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    Sight down the edge of the fretboard from the nut to the bridge. How much relief (forward curve) is there? A mandolin needs almost none. The fact that the condition is creeping up the neck makes me hope a truss rod adjustment may help eliminate it. If there's a fair amount of forward curve, try tightening the truss rod by 1/8 turn or 1/4 turn at most.

    Barring that, other possible remediations are raising the bridge (increasing the action) or having a repairman grind down the frets above the 12th to bring them closer to parallel to plane of the strings. Also, check to make sure the neck joint at the heel is solid.

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  10. #8

    Default Re: E string choking on higer frets

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I have friends who play every night in front of their fireplace. All there instruments have cracks in the tops. Raise your bridge a little till it's not so dry.
    Just wanted to come back and say I raised the bridge on the high side by a few turns and all my choking issues are resolved. I can just barely tell the action is higher but every fret rings true. Big Thanks.

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