View Full Version : String buzzing while playing quarter notes

07-10-2011, 11:10 AM
Hi everybody!

4 days ago I started playing my ukulele Kala KA-S.

I'm a total beginner in string instruments so I have a problem which I can't solve.

When I try to play consequently 2 or more quarter notes on E- or C-strings my ukulele buzzes because the string is still vibrating in the moment I touch it the second time. Of course, I can pluck a string up slightly so that the vibrating string could come at rest before I pluck it up the second time. But that doesn't fit me 'cause I really want to play loud.

How can I get rid of this annoying buzzing? Should I stretch strings tighter so that they wouldn't vibrate so much?

Mel Ott
07-11-2011, 04:24 AM
I'm not totally sure I understand what you're describing, but it's true that the harder you hit the strings, the more they vibrate. Buzzing is usually caused by vibrating strings hitting the fretboard, so if you're really hitting the strings hard because you want to play loud that might be the problem. You could have your action adjusted higher so the strings can vibrate more before they hit the fretboard; that would let you hit the strings harder without the buzzing (although it will also make it a little harder to fret notes and might affect the uke's intonation).

You could also maybe explore getting a pickup for your uke, or getting an eleuke. If you amplify the sound, you can make all the noise you like without necessarily hitting the strings very hard.

07-11-2011, 01:46 PM
When you pluck a string you should be striking it quickly enough that it doesn't really have a chance to buzz. This is true regardless of the duration of note you are playing. It sounds like your finger (or pick) is approaching the string hesitantly so the vibrating string rattles. That is not how you should approach the string. Your finger (or pick) should move quickly "through" the string.

07-11-2011, 07:05 PM
I’m sorry for my very bad English, guys. Explaining myself on music and musical terms is a new and difficult task for me.
But I really hope it won’t prevent us from understanding each other.

As to comments above, to which I’m very grateful, I want to add that when I pick an open string it sounds perfect (thanks to Kala and Aquilla). So I don’t really think the problem are caused by hitting string against frets. Maybe I’m wrong – I’ll check it more attentively during my next playing session.

I pick a string quite quick and firmly though I can be mistaken in that too.

Buzzing comes out when I’m stopping a string by my fingertip. I’d like to repeat that after picking E- or C-string they ring clearly but when I arrest their vibrating movements (to make another pick for playing the next note) I hear a brief buzzing noise. I have that kind of consequence:

Picking a string – string starts vibrating – after a while my finger touches a string again – brief buzzing sound and string stops for milliseconds –
picking the string again – and so on

For A- and G-strings that problem doesn’t exist.

I hope I made my situation clearer.)))))

07-11-2011, 07:36 PM
sounds like Oldefart hit it spot on. I think the problem is you're hesitating before picking the string, therefore the string is buzzing against your fingertips. Luckily this is very easy to fix. When you pick a note, don't give the string enough time to vibrate against your fingertips. I guess a good way to put it would be: Don't pick on the string, pick through the string. Hope this helps!

07-11-2011, 08:43 PM
I think it will! It seems you are absolutely right. I'll try to pick through strings as you said.

Sorry, Oldefart, if I didn't understand you.

That buzzing is very very annoying because I can't play clearly even simplest songs for total beginners. It is highly discouraging.

Anyway, I just stepped on the ukulele road so I hope for the best!