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Old 02-12-2007, 09:19 AM   #1
Peestie
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Acoustic guitar buzzing


The D string on my acoustic guitar makes an annoying "buzzing" sound when I play it as an open string. It sounds like something on the guitar is vibrating. At first I thought it was the string vibrating off one of the frets, but whenever I hold the machine head there is no buzz. Infact, if I hold ANY machine head - not just the one for the D string - it stops buzzing, so I've absolutely no idea what it is that could be making that noise. Anyone here had a similar problem and know how to fix it? Is it possible that it could be the string vibrating off a fret anyway?

Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:17 AM   #2
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it could be due to the weather, or you hardly playing it. like, if you go to a guitar store, and walk into their acoustic section, you would probably notice that the floor is wooden, and they have 1 or more humidifire machines around. and the whole atmosphere in the room is much different than that of the store.

acoustic guitars can increase or decrease in size(which is barley noticable), when when they do that, certain parts of the guitar may function a lil weird-ly(it is a word now!).

but it might be one of your tuners. hold down ANY thing that is movable on your tuners. maybe one of your tuners requires some work on a losen screw or something.

but if its a fret buzz...umm, beats me. i hardly play my acoutic coz of that annoying fret buzz. and canada is almost always cold, so no fun in that.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:21 PM   #3
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Your action has dropped. Humidity does effect the size of the guitar as the other gentlemen mentioned but not very much the real issue is the top of the guitar moving up and down and taking your bridge with it.

The reason your guitar top has dropped is because of lack of humidity and the best fix for this is to take your strings off and place some tin foil in the bottom of your guitar to make a water proof plate, then take a spunge and get it nice and dripping wet and place it inside the guitar without dripping in the guitar but only onto the tin foil plate.
This can be tricky but it will fix your buzz because as the water in the sponge evaporates it will create humidity which will inturn raise the top of your guitar and bring the bridge up with it.
When you grab a tuning key or the end of the neck with force you are absorbing the energy that is created by the vibrating buzzing string and therefore removing the buzz!
A quick fix for this is to take the D string is it? and cut a tiny piece of a cigarette pack and put it between the string and the nut, right into the groove. This will stop the buzzing and is a good temporary fix for getting through gigs etc but it will also deadin the tone of the string a little so the sponge is the best solution.
These are tried and proven techniqes used by luthiers and experienced acoustic players so you will not be damaging your guitar.

IF you take your acoustic to an inexperienced guitar tec he will make you a new bone piece for your bridge which will raise your action and fix the problem temporarily until summer comes and your house gets humid lol.

When I tour I always bring three or four different bone pieces for my acoustic bridge, just incase a problem like this ocurrs. These pieces were made by me before I learned the sponge trick. The sponge trick will fix you up in a couple of days. Oh by the way after you put the sponge in put your strings back on and tune your acoustic ruffly to pitch because it is not good for any guitar to sit around without strings on it, your neck position may change and
warpage issues may come into play as a direct result of leaving your guitar stringless.

In conclusion this will work without a doubt. Its also important to know that you are not alone, when an acoustic is built and this applies more to the middle of the road or cheap acoustics, the amount of fluxuation that you will get due to humidity will be dependent on the wood and construction techniques that were used. So it is the luck of the draw!

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Old 02-13-2007, 06:36 AM   #4
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Humidity is definately a possibility but only an assumption at this point.
Post pics of your guitar.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:10 PM   #5
GoldenEars
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.i.n.o
Humidity is definately a possibility but only an assumption at this point.
Post pics of your guitar.
Hey Dino, I am still enjoying that cup of coffee, I think it is the longest lasting one to date lol.

In response to your post, you are correct in saying that it could be something else Dino but if he can physically see that his action has dropped or feel it when he plays there are not many other possibilities because acoustics generally have fixed bridges and there is nothing else besides a neck adjustment that can overcome this problem.
He could have a new nut made but if that is required and his guitar once worked perfectly their is something that is fluctuating in its position naturally.

And short of an accidental dropping of the guitar I can only see three possiblities. One he changed to a lighter guage string which would reduce the tension at the same pitch and lower his action,,,,,,,,,hence buzzing.

2 The neck has lost its tension and he needs to tighten his truss rod.

3 And the most likely humidity has effected the top plate of his guitar and he needs to do what I said in my last post and re humidify his instrument.



Is there something that I am missing? I am not a luthier by trade but I have had to be one to some extent, just like the rest of us through necessity and curiousity lol
I do have a great luthier that does the more advanced work on my guitars, like putting broken necks back together (that is an actual example eeeeeeee) He is one kick ass instrument builder who seldom does repairs to instruments these days because he prefers building them. Luckily I have a history with his so he still takes care of my smaller needs.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Sorry, I can't get any pictures of it. I'm staying away from home at university at the minute and don't have a camera. Even my phone is too old have a camera (hell, it can only hold 10 text messages lol).

Probably should have mention before... The guitar is new a couple of weeks ago and it's had the buzz the whole time. It has a really nice warm tone that I liked when I was playing it in the shop and was the right guitar for me in every way without jumping up from 500 to 1,000 (which I couldn't afford). Depending how the string is plucked it doesn't always buzz and it never did while I was playing it in the shop before I bought it. It was only after an hour of playing it at home that I first noticed it.
Never bought an acoustic before so it didn't occur to me to check for buzz before hand. Not something I've come across. I'm only getting round to asking about it now because I wanted to try putting new strings on it first, so I didn't seem to be asking a really stupid question. Only got round to putting new strings on it now because I'm a poor student and sometimes food is more important than strings! :P

Thanks for the replies. Should I maybe take it down to the guitar shop and see what they say? It's bound to be common enough that they can show me stuff in person...

Thanks for the replies. With that new info would you still suspect it needs more humidity? It's certainly a possibility.
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peestie
Thanks for the replies. Sorry, I can't get any pictures of it. I'm staying away from home at university at the minute and don't have a camera. Even my phone is too old have a camera (hell, it can only hold 10 text messages lol).

Probably should have mention before... The guitar is new a couple of weeks ago and it's had the buzz the whole time. It has a really nice warm tone that I liked when I was playing it in the shop and was the right guitar for me in every way without jumping up from 500 to 1,000 (which I couldn't afford). Depending how the string is plucked it doesn't always buzz and it never did while I was playing it in the shop before I bought it. It was only after an hour of playing it at home that I first noticed it.
Never bought an acoustic before so it didn't occur to me to check for buzz before hand. Not something I've come across. I'm only getting round to asking about it now because I wanted to try putting new strings on it first, so I didn't seem to be asking a really stupid question. Only got round to putting new strings on it now because I'm a poor student and sometimes food is more important than strings! :P

Thanks for the replies. Should I maybe take it down to the guitar shop and see what they say? It's bound to be common enough that they can show me stuff in person...

Thanks for the replies. With that new info would you still suspect it needs more humidity? It's certainly a possibility.
Well I wouldn't do that now that you have given me the important info lol.
This is what to do and it won't be a risk if you are carefull.
Make a truss rod adjusment (Its not rocket science) you can do it yourself.

Find out where the Truss rod end is, it is eithor inside the acoustic where the neck meets the body or at the end of the neck by the nut with a little cover on it.
Uncover it and find an allen Key that fits perfectly, then turn it clockwise about one quarter of a revolution and then try playing your guitar and see if the buzz is gone.
A truss rod goes through the neck of any guitar and keeps tension on it to help line it up and to prevent it from twisting.

When you tighten your truss rod you will add tension to the neck and this will raise your action a tad which will likely remove the buzz.
The way you are describing the buzz it sounds to me like you are getting what is referred to as "fretting out". When you play a guitar you fret a note and the string that is fretted say at the fifth fret should not touch any frets about the fifth fret in this example.
If your action gets to low your string will touch frets about where you are fretting.
Tightening your truss rod will raise the neck up and fix this problem. Your guitar will go out of tune after the adjustment because it will relieve tension on the strings somewhat as you raise the neck.
You need to retune before checking for the buzz because the released tension on the strings will also lower the neck which counter acts your adjustment.

So in conclusion, tighten the truss rod one quarter turn, retune the guitar, check for buzz's, if it makes an improvement yet still buzz's repeat this process a few times making minor adjustments each time.

Its very important to note that you have to have an allen key that fits correctly our you could strip the allen nut.
Also when you are tightening the truss rod if it does not feel right, meaning if it feels to tight and you feel like you are going to strip it, put the guitar back together put it in its case and take it to an expert.

You should not have any problems doing this but if you do stop what you are doing before you damage you instrument.

Golden Ears
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:22 PM   #8
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I'll give that a go when I get back home at the weekend. Hopefully that should work . Thanks for all the useful tips, I've still got loads to learn about guitars.
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenEars
Well I wouldn't do that now that you have given me the important info lol.
This is what to do and it won't be a risk if you are carefull.
Make a truss rod adjusment (Its not rocket science) you can do it yourself.

Find out where the Truss rod end is, it is eithor inside the acoustic where the neck meets the body or at the end of the neck by the nut with a little cover on it.
Uncover it and find an allen Key that fits perfectly, then turn it clockwise about one quarter of a revolution and then try playing your guitar and see if the buzz is gone.
A truss rod goes through the neck of any guitar and keeps tension on it to help line it up and to prevent it from twisting.

When you tighten your truss rod you will add tension to the neck and this will raise your action a tad which will likely remove the buzz.
The way you are describing the buzz it sounds to me like you are getting what is referred to as "fretting out". When you play a guitar you fret a note and the string that is fretted say at the fifth fret should not touch any frets about the fifth fret in this example.
If your action gets to low your string will touch frets about where you are fretting.
Tightening your truss rod will raise the neck up and fix this problem. Your guitar will go out of tune after the adjustment because it will relieve tension on the strings somewhat as you raise the neck.
You need to retune before checking for the buzz because the released tension on the strings will also lower the neck which counter acts your adjustment.

So in conclusion, tighten the truss rod one quarter turn, retune the guitar, check for buzz's, if it makes an improvement yet still buzz's repeat this process a few times making minor adjustments each time.

Its very important to note that you have to have an allen key that fits correctly our you could strip the allen nut.
Also when you are tightening the truss rod if it does not feel right, meaning if it feels to tight and you feel like you are going to strip it, put the guitar back together put it in its case and take it to an expert.

You should not have any problems doing this but if you do stop what you are doing before you damage you instrument.

Golden Ears
If this is in fact the culprit, I'd think he'd want to loosen the truss rod to add some relief, no?

Is there only a buzz when the string is played open?
Or does it buzz when fretted too?
If so, which frets?
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.i.n.o
If this is in fact the culprit, I'd think he'd want to loosen the truss rod to add some relief, no?

Is there only a buzz when the string is played open?
Or does it buzz when fretted too?
If so, which frets?
Just open that I've noticed so far.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.i.n.o
If this is in fact the culprit, I'd think he'd want to loosen the truss rod to add some relief, no?

Is there only a buzz when the string is played open?
Or does it buzz when fretted too?
If so, which frets?

Think of it this way if you tightened your strings would it not raise your action?
Answer yes
Think about putting strings on one at a time, as you put them on the tension from one string does not bring the neck "up" enough to prevent all the fretting out the occurs. With each string it improves! Until it is perfect

Truss rod tension in the same direction!

So answer is tighten to raise and raise action losin for the opposite

Something as simple as having one wrong guage string on an acoustic can eithor cause buzzing if it is a heavier guage string than is required or the guitar has been set up for or raise your action to high if the string is of a lighter guage because lighter strings require less tension to bring them up to pitch.

So there is another culprit possibilty, you might fix the problem with a one guage thicker set of strings!

But the tross rod adjustment is the answer without question atleast as the first step.

Its like if your car is not starting but it is turning over and the gas guage is low, first thing first...........put gas in the tanks

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Old 02-13-2007, 07:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peestie
Just open that I've noticed so far.

Next time you ask for help can you please give all the details before we write down solutions. Thanks!!!!

If it is just buzzing open it is not an action problem, it is very likely eithor something is loose on the guitar or it could be a piece of internal wood is vibrating because the glue has weakend or it could be a cracked nut, bridge bone or the worse situation is where the neck meets the body, there could be a weakend connection that is not always visible to the naked eye.

But most likely the body has shifted due to humidity and the truss rod has become lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You may have had really high action to start out with and the top face of the guitar has lowered from dry conditions and the guitar probably did this when you bought it and you never noticed and because the action was so high so start with the dryness bringing down the body may have loosened the truss rod right off without effecting action!!!!

So do a visual inspection where the neck meets the body, see if it is cracked from all angles. Then push up and pull down on the neck with some decent force and listen for any sounds in that area. If that is a check
Tighten all things on this acoustic that can be tightened ( external stuff)
Then inspect the nut, bridge bone for cracks.
Then check to see if the bridge is glued on perfectly or if the bridge itself not the bone in it is raised of the top plate of the guitar. Then
Take the strings off and look inside and feel around while shaking it etc and see if there is any broken reinforcment wood inside.

Then if all of that is fine " TIGHTEN THE TRUSS ROD A QUARTER TURN AT A TIME LOL"
Remember to retune up to pitch each time and check for buzzes

You may find the rod to be very lose, it should be quite tight to start with.
If it is there is no need for testing just tighten it up to about 15 ft lbs to start. That is a nice tight feeling with your hand but not tight tight.

Please do all of this and just trust me, I was repairing and rebuilding guitars when I was 8 literally.

Golden Ears
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenEars
Next time you ask for help can you please give all the details before we write down solutions. Thanks!!!!
I did say that it was when I played it as an open string. From the first line of my first post "The D string on my acoustic guitar makes an annoying "buzzing" sound when I play it as an open string". I thought that implied that it was only making that noise when I played the open string.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenEars
If it is just buzzing open it is not an action problem, it is very likely eithor something is loose on the guitar or it could be a piece of internal wood is vibrating because the glue has weakend or it could be a cracked nut, bridge bone or the worse situation is where the neck meets the body, there could be a weakend connection that is not always visible to the naked eye.

But most likely the body has shifted due to humidity and the truss rod has become lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You may have had really high action to start out with and the top face of the guitar has lowered from dry conditions and the guitar probably did this when you bought it and you never noticed and because the action was so high so start with the dryness bringing down the body may have loosened the truss rod right off without effecting action!!!!

So do a visual inspection where the neck meets the body, see if it is cracked from all angles. Then push up and pull down on the neck with some decent force and listen for any sounds in that area. If that is a check
Tighten all things on this acoustic that can be tightened ( external stuff)
Then inspect the nut, bridge bone for cracks.
Then check to see if the bridge is glued on perfectly or if the bridge itself not the bone in it is raised of the top plate of the guitar. Then
Take the strings off and look inside and feel around while shaking it etc and see if there is any broken reinforcment wood inside.

Then if all of that is fine " TIGHTEN THE TRUSS ROD A QUARTER TURN AT A TIME LOL"
Remember to retune up to pitch each time and check for buzzes

You may find the rod to be very lose, it should be quite tight to start with.
If it is there is no need for testing just tighten it up to about 15 ft lbs to start. That is a nice tight feeling with your hand but not tight tight.

Please do all of this and just trust me, I was repairing and rebuilding guitars when I was 8 literally.

Golden Ears
Thanks. I'll try all those things.

Edit: I think I may have found it. One of the washers on the top was loose because the nut wasn't fully tightened. It wasn't down firm enough, so the washer can rotate and vibrate, whereas all the others are down completely tight. I don't have a spanner up at uni with me, so I can't tighten it until I get home this weekend, but putting a small piece of paper between the washer and nut seems to solve the problem until I can it tightened. Hopefully this will solve the problem and I'll be able to stop bothering you :P.

That is the culprit washer that is loose. Should solve the problem I hope.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peestie
I did say that it was when I played it as an open string. From the first line of my first post "The D string on my acoustic guitar makes an annoying "buzzing" sound when I play it as an open string". I thought that implied that it was only making that noise when I played the open string.




Thanks. I'll try all those things.

Edit: I think I may have found it. One of the washers on the top was loose because the nut wasn't fully tightened. It wasn't down firm enough, so the washer can rotate and vibrate, whereas all the others are down completely tight. I don't have a spanner up at uni with me, so I can't tighten it until I get home this weekend, but putting a small piece of paper between the washer and nut seems to solve the problem until I can it tightened. Hopefully this will solve the problem and I'll be able to stop bothering you :P.

That is the culprit washer that is loose. Should solve the problem I hope.
Hey man your not bothering me lol. That is the problem with the written word in comparison to speach!

When I said next time please ......
You heard it as complaining when I was smiling about it, I actually found it kind of humorous because I felt like you had me jumping through hoops!

Your right you did say that and I never remembered that after so many posts I guess.

Anyways Ta, Golden Ears
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenEars
Hey man your not bothering me lol. That is the problem with the written word in comparison to speach!

When I said next time please ......
You heard it as complaining when I was smiling about it, I actually found it kind of humorous because I felt like you had me jumping through hoops!

Your right you did say that and I never remembered that after so many posts I guess.

Anyways Ta, Golden Ears
Yeah, that is one of the problems with forums. You read one post, then another one hours later and it's hard to remember what was in the first one lol. I'm grateful for all the tips. I'm sure I'll need them in the future since I've still got years of guitar playing ahead of me. Once I can get this thing tightened I'll be able to see if it was causing the problem and I'll be buzz free
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