PDA

View Full Version : intermitent buzz



pootsie
12-13-2012, 07:02 AM
No, I don't mean drinking only on the weekends

I have a new uke that has some buzzing sometimes. Of course it is most noticable when I strum harder. The higher up the neck I fret, the less theree is until about the fifth it is all gone.

I think my action may be a hair low at the nut.

This is a problem for a professional, isn't it? What should I look at for cost to address?

pootsie
12-13-2012, 07:04 AM
O heck, can't fix the typo in the title. Make that "Intermittent."

Thank you--professional writer out

Tudorp
12-13-2012, 09:50 AM
Seeing that it seems to not be past the 5th, it would indicate to me that your frets are unlevel. Could be a simple level job, worst case, twisted, or otherwise a warp in the neck. Let's hope it is simply a high fret around the 5th.

As far as cost, I really don't know. I have always done my own work, so not sure what a pro would charge. I would think if it is a level thing, that would be included on a good set up. Shouldn't be but $30-$40? Again, that is a guess..

pootsie
12-13-2012, 09:58 AM
Seeing that it seems to not be past the 5th, it would indicate to me that your frets are unlevel. Could be a simple level job, worst case, twisted, or otherwise a warp in the neck. Let's hope it is simply a high fret around the 5th.

As far as cost, I really don't know. I have always done my own work, so not sure what a pro would charge. I would think if it is a level thing, that would be included on a good set up. Shouldn't be but $30-$40? Again, that is a guess..

The neck looks straight as an arrow to my eye, but I haven't checked the fret levels. Thanks for your input!

ukeeku
12-13-2012, 10:16 AM
I don't think this is it, but I have a uke that buzzes when the humidity is below 42%. Yours sounds like a warped neck, maybe high frets. Could be any number of things.

pootsie
12-13-2012, 10:25 AM
I don't think this is it, but I have a uke that buzzes when the humidity is below 42%. Yours sounds like a warped neck, maybe high frets. Could be any number of things.

This one lives in the basement, and despite having the dehumidifier run all day the place never goes below 45%, usually around 50%. So I'm ruling that out ;)

thanks, though

I'm going to take a look at the frets when I get home but I still think it might be low action at the nut. There is very little room there (but forming chords is easy!)

philrab66
12-13-2012, 10:44 AM
This one lives in the basement, and despite having the dehumidifier run all day the place never goes below 45%, usually around 50%. So I'm ruling that out ;)

thanks, though

I'm going to take a look at the frets when I get home but I still think it might be low action at the nut. There is very little room there (but forming chords is easy!)

Try putting something under the string at nut to lift it up to check.

Tudorp
12-13-2012, 10:47 AM
Too low of an action can certainly cause it. But, low action can also expose un-level frets that may not be evident with a higher action. Raising the action is kinda a band-aid to the real issue. I typically set mine up to about 1mm from the #1 fret, but I like a lower action. Certainly check your level there, but again, raising the action to remedy a buzz at specific frets is kinda a band-aid.

Tudorp
12-13-2012, 10:50 AM
BTW: also check to be sure you don't have a fret that is loose, and maybe popping up out of the channel. Check to see the #4 or #5 (since that is where your having an issue) is seated fully. Put a little tourqe on the neck and see if one is lifting or moving in the channel.

OldePhart
12-13-2012, 12:27 PM
Too low of an action can certainly cause it. But, low action can also expose un-level frets that may not be evident with a higher action. Raising the action is kinda a band-aid to the real issue. I typically set mine up to about 1mm from the #1 fret, but I like a lower action. Certainly check your level there, but again, raising the action to remedy a buzz at specific frets is kinda a band-aid.

Yes...you should be able to lower the action at the nut until the intonation is perfect at the first fret, and then lower it a little more, without buzzing. I've really only had one uke where I couldn't get there without leveling the frets (a Dolphin). So, while it could be too low at the nut that is only the case if the intonation is spot on at the first couple of frets. Otherwise, you need to get those frets level.

Another trick is to tune it up to D - sometimes that will pull just enough relief into the neck to stop the buzzing.

John

pootsie
12-13-2012, 12:42 PM
Thanks guys.

I'm looking really closely right now and none of these suspects seem to be the cause. My investigation shall continue

Tudorp
12-13-2012, 12:46 PM
How did you check level? You can't really eyeball that. It can be so minute ya can't tell, but enough to buzz. The only way is to lay a straight edge (I use a steel) on it's machined edge along the frets, and check for rocking, or gaps looking how it lays across them. The straight edge should touch all the frets.

pootsie
12-13-2012, 01:18 PM
How did you check level? You can't really eyeball that. It can be so minute ya can't tell, but enough to buzz. The only way is to lay a straight edge (I use a steel) on it's machined edge along the frets, and check for rocking, or gaps looking how it lays across them. The straight edge should touch all the frets.

I don't have a machined edge but a ruler showed no gaps or bumps.

pootsie
12-13-2012, 04:31 PM
on further plunking and inspecting, it appears to occur beyond the 5th fret, just much more subtly. Perhaps my saddle is low? I am now suspecting that in one way or another, the problem is south of the soundhole

pootsie
12-14-2012, 01:47 PM
Here is what further investigation has revealed:

The buzz seems to be isolated to the C string. It is not a resonance problem because I tuned the C string up and down with no change in the buzzing. I tuned the E string up and down the same range and it would not buzz, while I could get the C string to buzz tuned a couple steps in either direction.

Perhaps a string change is all I need? (he said with a glimmer of hope in his eye)

Does anyone else have any insight? I'm quite distressed.

mm stan
12-14-2012, 01:55 PM
Sounds like a high fret to me...yes Like bruddah tony mentioned you need a straight edge...a hardware store should have one...
the C string it the thickest and so if any strings hits first it would be it.... press down on the fret with the buzz and see if the
C string is hitting the fret closer to the soundhole when plucked.

OldePhart
12-14-2012, 02:02 PM
Perhaps a string change is all I need? (he said with a glimmer of hope in his eye)

That would be the first thing I would try - especially if they are Aquilas because sometimes the outer covering frays and rubs frets. If that fails, the next thing I would try is a piece of paper under the C string, between the string and nut. Ordinary 20# printer paper is fine. If that solves the buzzing, and the intonation at the first fret is still good, then a tiny bit of clear nail polish in the nut slot will probably do for a permanent fix (thin CA glue works too, but it is easy to get too much and then need to file down the slot).

Make sure you give the nail polish a few hours to dry before putting the string in the slot. It will seem to cure after a few minutes but it's not really hard until the smell goes away, usually three hours or more.

John

pootsie
12-14-2012, 02:45 PM
Thanks guys.

The problem does not seem to be isolated to a single fret though.

My plastic ruler may not be a precision tool but it shows no uneven frets, no wobbling and they all touch.

And it's not at the nut because I can reliably produce the buzz fretted at the sixth fret (almost hear it at 7)

I am about ready to turn it over to a pro

OldePhart
12-14-2012, 02:49 PM
Thanks guys.

The problem does not seem to be isolated to a single fret though.

My plastic ruler may not be a precision tool but it shows no uneven frets, no wobbling and they all touch.

And it's not at the nut because I can reliably produce the buzz fretted at the sixth fret (almost hear it at 7)

I am about ready to turn it over to a pro

Yeah, if it's happening fretted it's definitely not the nut. I'd try swapping strings and if that doesn't fix it let a pro have a go.

John

pootsie
12-14-2012, 03:07 PM
Thanks, Mr. Phart. It just so happens that Santa will be dropping off some strings made in heaven since I've been such a good boy.

I'll just play another one until that happy day. Now I see why we all need more than one uke around. God thing I caught the bug.

OldePhart
12-14-2012, 03:13 PM
Thanks, Mr. Phart. It just so happens that Santa will be dropping off some strings made in heaven since I've been such a good boy.

I'll just play another one until that happy day. Now I see why we all need more than one uke around. God thing I caught the bug.

:) It's a good bug to have... I have a friend who is a very good guitar player. He had an amazing Stratocaster that had the sweetest action of any guitar I've ever played. It was his only guitar. He said he'd never need another. Then, he managed to wear the frets down enough it needed to go into the shop (not really that unusual) and discovered that, yep, even when you've got the best (fill in the blank) ever made, some day you're going to need a spare!