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View Full Version : Help! Our new uke is buzzing



erich@muttcrew.net
08-23-2010, 10:40 AM
The walnut/cherry uke we made with the pattern of small sound holes is finished but... it buzzes when you play loud. The buzz is there in different octaves and on different strings but is more noticable in the bass and treble.

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Otherwise she sounds excellent with good volume and range, a lot of harmonics, very good sustain and just a lovely voice - if it weren't for that nasty buzz.

Anyone have a clue what might help? It's not the frets, it's not the action (which we haven't brought down all the way yet), it's not the downward angle at either the nut or saddle... It's really coming from somewhere inside the body! Maybe the bridge plate? Although I don't know why the bridge plate would buzz - we glued it on with Titebond!

tattwo
08-23-2010, 11:03 AM
Do the strings go through the bridge? If so make sure the beads are tight I just had my new uke do that until i pulled the bead really tight.

Bradford
08-23-2010, 03:36 PM
Sounds like something popped loose. It can happen even if you glued things with Titebond. Braces, bridge plates and even a section of lining could be the cause. You might try rare earth magnets on the inside and outside to isolate the buzz, it is very easy to fix once found. A little shot of CA glue usually does the trick.

Brad

olgoat52
08-23-2010, 06:36 PM
Sometimes you can hear a loose brace by tapping your knucle on the top and bottom plate. It sounds like make a brace is not fully glued and is rattling at certain frequencies. muffle the strings and tap around and see if you can localize it. Lot easier on guitar when you can get a mirror in there and look around.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-23-2010, 10:22 PM
Do the strings go through the bridge?

No, it's a classical guitar style bridge with a tie block - i.e. the strings are tied to the bridge.

Nelson-Fritata
08-23-2010, 10:41 PM
I have a buzz inside my tenor, but im pretty sure it's got something to do with the pick up. Don't know how to fix it though.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-23-2010, 10:49 PM
...it is very easy to fix once found. A little shot of CA glue usually does the trick.

Hi Brad, the problem is that with the little sound holes we can't get inside the patient to do the surgery. We definitely did not want to cut the back off at this point so I devised a method of injecting a dose of (thinned) glue into the afflicted area - this felt so extremely unorthodox but we preferred it to just trashing the uke (or rather hanging it on the wall solely for decoration).

EDIT: I can't tell yet whether the glue injection actually helped - I'll get back to you on it. If it worked I'll tell you exactly how we went about it.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-23-2010, 10:51 PM
I have a buzz inside my tenor, but im pretty sure it's got something to do with the pick up. Don't know how to fix it though.

Maybe there's a wire dangling? I've seen that happen.

Nelson-Fritata
08-24-2010, 12:51 AM
Yeah, it might be a wire dangling, but how do i fix it without braking my uke? :)

Bradford
08-24-2010, 07:50 AM
Erich, here is what I would do. Drill a hole through the tailblock like you are going to install an end pin. By shining a light through one of the sound holes, you should be able to look inside through the tailblock hole. Make that hole as big as necessary to be able to see inside, you can plug it later with nice looking wood. Use a steel piece of coat hanger with a small rare earth magnet on it to reach the suspected loose piece. Use a matching magnet on the outside of the uke to grab the inside magnet forcing things together, if the buzz goes away, there is your problem. Then use some very thin Tygon tubing to inject CA glue to the trouble spot.

Brad

Allen
08-24-2010, 10:01 AM
I'd check the saddle isn't buzzing as well. Just had 2 come through the shop in the last month with this problem. The bone saddle wasn't fully contacting the bottom of the saddle slot. Could tell by plucking a string that was causing the buzzing sound, then pressing down on the saddle. Sound disappeared. So pop out the saddle and flatten the bottom. Test, then send home with happy owner.

erich@muttcrew.net
09-18-2010, 03:53 AM
....I devised a method of injecting a dose of (thinned) glue into the afflicted area - this felt so extremely unorthodox but we preferred it to just trashing the uke (or rather hanging it on the wall solely for decoration).

EDIT: I can't tell yet whether the glue injection actually helped - I'll get back to you on it. If it worked I'll tell you exactly how we went about it.

If anyone is interested in a short description of how I fixed the buzzing, check out our new blog at logbook.muttcrew.net (http://logbook.muttcrew.net).

fahrner
09-18-2010, 11:24 AM
Nice recovery Erich and the three mop dots kinda follow the line of the three sound holes. Nice job.
So, do you think it was an end of a brace that was buzzing?

Matt Clara
09-18-2010, 11:29 AM
The uke was simply abuzz with excitement. A veritable hive of activity.

Timbuck
09-18-2010, 11:35 AM
Remind's me of my "Vintage Motor Cycle" restoration days..When we had a leaking petrol tank..we used to pour in some epoxy type goo by name of "Tank Seal"..run it around untill it set..and guess what??? no more leaks..Or Buzzing:D

erich@muttcrew.net
09-18-2010, 12:56 PM
Nice recovery Erich and the three mop dots kinda follow the line of the three sound holes. Nice job.
So, do you think it was an end of a brace that was buzzing?

Fred, judging from the position I guess it was either the tip of the bridgeplate or maybe a loose fit between the top and the lining. We used the three dot/three hole pattern as a kind of theme for the uke - in fact we even have three holes in the headstock. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to photograph everything before Robin took the uke with him to Upstate New York for a year. Maybe he'll post some pics in the blog.

Matt, one thing we did notice is that there is some overdrive in the trebles when you play really hard, a kinda crybaby sound. I wasn't sure if it was some of the cherry twang others have reported about occasionally or something else. Anyway, everything is mellow if you don't go fortissimo in the upper registers - and otherwise what's wrong with some crybaby... :music:

erich@muttcrew.net
09-18-2010, 01:04 PM
Remind's me of my "Vintage Motor Cycle" restoration days..When we had a leaking petrol tank..we used to pour in some epoxy type goo by name of "Tank Seal"..run it around untill it set..and guess what??? no more leaks..Or Buzzing:D

Yeah, I really was glad Robin was too busy getting ready to go to follow my every move with the camcorder. It really felt more like fixing a leaky tank than a buzzy uke :D

ecosteel
09-18-2010, 02:31 PM
That Titebond can be a bit tricky, it dries very fast.

erich@muttcrew.net
09-20-2010, 09:55 AM
I thinned the glue with some warm water before injecting it. When I took the tape off about an hour later the rest flowed out just fine.