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View Full Version : Is buzzing common for beginners?



SunnyUke
06-27-2011, 12:40 AM
Hey everyone! I've been having a blast practicing my new uke, but I get a buzzing noise here and there when I play. Is it common for beginners to have that while learning how to strum and such? I'm wondering if it's from not pressing down hard enough on the fretboard tho. I'm trying my hardest not to blame the uke, but I think I'm getting better yet the buzzing is still there at times. I can't recreate it playing just one chord and picking through the notes. It mainly happens when I'm doing an actual song.

Thanks for any suggestions! :)

fitncrafty
06-27-2011, 01:26 AM
There are lots of reasons a uke will buzz many I do not have the technical knowledge to explain but if you do a search there are lots of threads on it. I wouldn't press too hard, you really don't need too. Check when you are fretting if the strings are touching other frets.

The first thing, and every time I hear a buzz from my uke, I check my nails on my fretting hand, as I realize that it's my nails vibrating on the strings because they are too long. It's generally the simplest solution although it could certainly be your set up.
Do a search on here, there is a LOT of good information about string buzzing.

hatchet
06-27-2011, 03:25 AM
I get this too, but I assume for me it's due to poor fretting. Sometimes when I get some buzz, I'll adjust my fingers a little to get them more properly in place, and the buzzing goes away.

Ingrate
06-27-2011, 05:07 AM
Unless you've been playing other stringed instruments, you likely don't have good, hard callouses on your fingertips, yet.

SunnyUke
06-27-2011, 05:16 AM
Unless you've been playing other stringed instruments, you likely don't have good, hard callouses on your fingertips, yet.

So I'm probably just not pressing down hard enough? Thanks!

hotnuma
06-27-2011, 05:22 AM
Pressing too hard is a beginner error, with practice you should be able to get some precision in fingering, you must put your fingers just behind the frets, see this video for example :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJme1gtN1SM

:)

OldePhart
06-27-2011, 06:40 AM
If you're getting buzzing when playing, but not when holding the same chord and checking each string individually, first, make sure that you are hitting each string with about the same force you are when strumming. If you are, and it doesn't buzz then but does when playing, it's just technique - concentrate on fingering the frets with the same care when playing that you do when checking for buzzes and you'll soon find yourself getting much clearer tones. This may mean you need to slow down for a while - building speed without technique just causes bad habits. Also, note that "fingering with more care" doesn't necessarily mean pressing harder - sometimes just the opposite! It means placing your fingers in just the right position.

John

mm stan
06-27-2011, 09:49 AM
Aloha SunnyUke,
Buzzing can happen for a number of reasons...it is time you evict those bees out of your uke...first check each string in an open position and pick each string...do you here a buzz...
if not, pick each fret of every string and see if you get a buzz then....on lower end ukes, you have more chances to have this issue...chances are you need a setup...it may cost near
of what you paid for your uke...but would be well worth it....next time you purchase a uke and you get this issue, return or exchange it.. I not sure how long you had your uke, if you
bought it at a music store or on line...it would be easier if you got it at the music store..sending it back paying the postage after the warranty is over may be costly...and not worth it.
if it is right after you get a new uke and notice it..usually they will pay for postage... hope it helps...good luck.. MM Stan

SunnyUke
06-28-2011, 01:25 AM
Aloha SunnyUke,
Buzzing can happen for a number of reasons...it is time you evict those bees out of your uke...first check each string in an open position and pick each string...do you here a buzz...
if not, pick each fret of every string and see if you get a buzz then....on lower end ukes, you have more chances to have this issue...chances are you need a setup...it may cost near
of what you paid for your uke...but would be well worth it....next time you purchase a uke and you get this issue, return or exchange it.. I not sure how long you had your uke, if you
bought it at a music store or on line...it would be easier if you got it at the music store..sending it back paying the postage after the warranty is over may be costly...and not worth it.
if it is right after you get a new uke and notice it..usually they will pay for postage... hope it helps...good luck.. MM Stan

Thank you...I just got it actually and had it set up. I bought it at an online store with a good reputation, so it's probably me. The only thing I can't shake out of my head is my E string. It seems the most "buzzy" to me, and everytime I play it to tune it with my Snark I get an E/A no matter what I do. The Snark always switches back and forth from E to A when I play it. That's a problem right? That's the only thing that makes me think it is not my playing.

SunnyUke
06-28-2011, 01:27 AM
If you're getting buzzing when playing, but not when holding the same chord and checking each string individually, first, make sure that you are hitting each string with about the same force you are when strumming. If you are, and it doesn't buzz then but does when playing, it's just technique - concentrate on fingering the frets with the same care when playing that you do when checking for buzzes and you'll soon find yourself getting much clearer tones. This may mean you need to slow down for a while - building speed without technique just causes bad habits. Also, note that "fingering with more care" doesn't necessarily mean pressing harder - sometimes just the opposite! It means placing your fingers in just the right position.

John


I've been trying to do this, and I have noticed that when I strum with more force or faster there is more buzzing but honestly to get it to stop I feel like I'm barely strumming at all. I've tried fingering different chords and trying to get it to buzz, and it usually won't with the exception of that E string I mentioned above....I'm thinking it could be a combination of that E string and poor technique on my part not really one or the other if that makes sense? Thanks!

SunnyUke
06-28-2011, 01:29 AM
Pressing too hard is a beginner error, with practice you should be able to get some precision in fingering, you must put your fingers just behind the frets, see this video for example :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJme1gtN1SM

:)


I <3 Mike so much! I've been going through all his videos...he's so wonderful. I had watched this one before and try to always place my fingers behind the respective frets, so I don't think that's it. Thanks tho!

brucemoffatt
06-28-2011, 01:37 AM
It may just be that the E string is buzzing against a fingertip on the C or A string. I have beginner technique issues and this is just one. For me it is most obvious when I play the electric uke.

Mim
06-28-2011, 03:34 AM
It could be your uke. It could be you. Sounds like it could be your uke. But, I personally can make a non-buzzy uke buzz because I am a heavy handed strummer.

I see you are in the "Hot South". I wish that was the Charlotte, NC area. I would say stop by, we can jam, and I would look at it. But alas. Where are you exactly from? Maybe there is someone local we can get to help ya out!

OldePhart
06-28-2011, 06:28 AM
I've been trying to do this, and I have noticed that when I strum with more force or faster there is more buzzing but honestly to get it to stop I feel like I'm barely strumming at all. I've tried fingering different chords and trying to get it to buzz, and it usually won't with the exception of that E string I mentioned above....I'm thinking it could be a combination of that E string and poor technique on my part not really one or the other if that makes sense? Thanks!

That's sounding more and more like a problem with the uke. It may have been set up a little too low, or it may have been set up okay in one climate but instruments will change with temperature and humidity. Does it buzz all the time, or only when fretted at certain frets?

John

mosaicnasa
06-28-2011, 08:26 AM
good information about string buzzing.

eddyfinnguy
06-28-2011, 08:29 AM
Unless you've been playing other stringed instruments, you likely don't have good, hard callouses on your fingertips, yet.

and that's okay, just keep practicing!

BTW I saw a lot of very experienced players buzzing at UWC :) So apparently not that uncommon with experienced players either (grin)

SunnyUke
06-28-2011, 09:18 AM
It could be your uke. It could be you. Sounds like it could be your uke. But, I personally can make a non-buzzy uke buzz because I am a heavy handed strummer.

I see you are in the "Hot South". I wish that was the Charlotte, NC area. I would say stop by, we can jam, and I would look at it. But alas. Where are you exactly from? Maybe there is someone local we can get to help ya out!

I'm beginning to think I'm a heavy handed strummer too. :) I am actually only 1.5 hrs outside of Charlotte and do come up on occasion. I was already going to try and plan a visit next time I come up that way....although it will probably be after summer. If it's still buzzing then, I will definitely bring it in for your expertise. Thank you for offering!

SunnyUke
06-28-2011, 09:20 AM
That's sounding more and more like a problem with the uke. It may have been set up a little too low, or it may have been set up okay in one climate but instruments will change with temperature and humidity. Does it buzz all the time, or only when fretted at certain frets?

John


Hmm...I'm going to have to do some more investigating to answer that one. As it is, I have only been playing a few chords....I'm learning You Are My Sunshine (C, C7, F, G(?)) and Surfin USA (C, F, G(?)). I always get my G's and G7's mixed up. :)

NFLcheesehead1
06-28-2011, 11:27 AM
I just got my Ukulele early June, and I was wondered why I would get the buzzing noise too. I noticed if I put my finger closer to the fret, it would not buzz anymore. I get the buzzing usually on my C and E strings. But the more I practice, the less my strings buzz. I'm pretty sure I have Aquila strings, but I don't know if that matters.

OldePhart
06-28-2011, 12:05 PM
I just got my Ukulele early June, and I was wondered why I would get the buzzing noise too. I noticed if I put my finger closer to the fret, it would not buzz anymore. I get the buzzing usually on my C and E strings. But the more I practice, the less my strings buzz. I'm pretty sure I have Aquila strings, but I don't know if that matters.

This is a good point - you want to fret the string just behind the fret. Almost, but not quite, on the fret.

John

IvySyl
06-28-2011, 01:10 PM
this happens on guitar to new players too.... probably more frequently than uke players because of the distance between fret wires.
try hard to press the string as close too the fret wire as possible. You shouldn't have to press very hard.... just hard enough to make the string ring cleanly. If you press to hard, you'll create a sharp note.

IvySyl
06-28-2011, 01:12 PM
Can you tell where the buzz is coming from? is it near the nut?

yuzu
07-01-2011, 12:41 PM
Check each string and then strum each string on every fret. You should be able to strum each string with the same force and not get any buzzing. I've been told at shops that if any of the notes buzz it's likely a setup issue. Either the nut or saddle needs to be adjusted, one of the frets needs to be filed down or all the frets need to be leveled. I've come across new ukuleles that buzz.

peytakeeho
07-02-2011, 05:44 AM
I used to have this problem :P It's probably 75% technique, 25% ukulele.

Mim
07-03-2011, 06:38 AM
I'm beginning to think I'm a heavy handed strummer too. :) I am actually only 1.5 hrs outside of Charlotte and do come up on occasion. I was already going to try and plan a visit next time I come up that way....although it will probably be after summer. If it's still buzzing then, I will definitely bring it in for your expertise. Thank you for offering!

HOORAY! I love meeting the UU peeps!!!

Just CALL before you come! Because I am not always there. We are primarily ice cream shop when it comes to volume sales. Most my uke sales are on-line so often I sometimes working on them from home where I dont have to stop and help customers and I can get A LOT more done! BUT... I am there 75% of the time and if someone calls and says they are going to be there I will make sure I am scheduled to be there on that day!

Fun Fun! I will take a look and we can talk ukes and maybe play some if I am not too busy!

704-238-3555

CountryMouse
02-15-2012, 04:41 AM
I'm having trouble, for pretty much the first time, with string buzz. It's happening even when I pull off a string! This new ukulele sounds fine in the hands of a seasoned player, but I'm really going to have to practice playing better! This ukulele seems very unforgiving, very touchy. It looks and sounds beautiful--I just want to do it justice.

Has anyone else had the problem of buzzing both from not placing the fingers down perfectly (wham!) and also in moving to the next chord? I may be "over strumming". I've been playing since Aug. 2009, but maybe I've gotten into sloppy habits...or more likely have gotten away with poor technique until now.

My new (used) uke is a WaverlyStreet koa soprano.

Mousie

OldePhart
02-15-2012, 07:05 AM
I'm having trouble, for pretty much the first time, with string buzz. It's happening even when I pull off a string! This new ukulele sounds fine in the hands of a seasoned player, but I'm really going to have to practice playing better! This ukulele seems very unforgiving, very touchy. It looks and sounds beautiful--I just want to do it justice.

Has anyone else had the problem of buzzing both from not placing the fingers down perfectly (wham!) and also in moving to the next chord? I may be "over strumming". I've been playing since Aug. 2009, but maybe I've gotten into sloppy habits...or more likely have gotten away with poor technique until now.

My new (used) uke is a WaverlyStreet koa soprano.

Mousie

I'm assuming the uke probably has a lower action than ones you're used to? If other's can play it without buzzing then it is almost certainly technique but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're sloppy - just that you've never had a precision instrument before. It's kind of like comparing a 1970's Toyota with a warn out shifter to a Porsche. If you've been driving the Toyota for years you're going to have difficulty hitting the gears in the Porsche at first.

Some things to watch for - pressing straight down and lifting straight up - strumming across the strings without pushing them down toward fretboard, etc. If you're striking the strings fairly hard with your nail angled such that it pushes them down they will vibrate more in the vertical plane and buzz.

I never realized how "bad" my technique on guitar was until I had a custom SG built for me. When I picked it up in the builder's shop he was playing all kinds of hard rock covers on it without a touch of buzz. As soon as I touched it it was buzzing like crazy and he had to raise the action significantly. That's when I realized that I needed to work on technique. Eventually, I was able to lower the action back to where he'd had it.

John

CountryMouse
02-16-2012, 04:49 PM
I'm assuming the uke probably has a lower action than ones you're used to? If other's can play it without buzzing then it is almost certainly technique but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're sloppy - just that you've never had a precision instrument before. It's kind of like comparing a 1970's Toyota with a warn out shifter to a Porsche. If you've been driving the Toyota for years you're going to have difficulty hitting the gears in the Porsche at first.

Some things to watch for - pressing straight down and lifting straight up - strumming across the strings without pushing them down toward fretboard, etc. If you're striking the strings fairly hard with your nail angled such that it pushes them down they will vibrate more in the vertical plane and buzz.

I never realized how "bad" my technique on guitar was until I had a custom SG built for me. When I picked it up in the builder's shop he was playing all kinds of hard rock covers on it without a touch of buzz. As soon as I touched it it was buzzing like crazy and he had to raise the action significantly. That's when I realized that I needed to work on technique. Eventually, I was able to lower the action back to where he'd had it.

John

Thank you for your insight on this! Ima need a lot of practicing! I'm also thinking I might need to see if I should back off wound low-G strings for now, until my technique improves. Or maybe having them on there (I have them on two ukuleles, and I'm having trouble with buzzing on both) will help me be careful by letting me know when I mess up!

Mousie