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Thread: B string buzzing/rattling when fretting first 5 frets

  1. #1
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    Default B string buzzing/rattling when fretting first 5 frets

    As I said in the subject, I have a baritone ukulele with a B string that has a buzzing/rattling noise when fretting first 5 frets. Higher up the neck it sounds fine. The noise seems to be coming from somewhere between the sound hole and bridge, almost like something's lose and vibrating. However, all the other strings sound great.

    I tried a different string but got the same results. Original string was .81mm and new string is .83mm.

    I tried tuning the string from B up to C, and the noise went away.

    Does that mean I need a thicker string? Most baritone DGBE string sets I've looked at have B strings around the sizes I was trying (first set was D'addario and second was Living Water).

    Any ideas on other things I should try?

    I have found some interesting chord shapes in DGCE tuning.

    Thanks.

    --Brett

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bretterb View Post
    The noise seems to be coming from somewhere between the sound hole and bridge, almost like something's lose and vibrating. However, all the other strings sound great.
    Saddle is not glued to bridge and easy to remove. Just remove saddle and reinstall it and check it. We need to identify where the noise comming from first. The shape of top of the saddle may have a problem. Higher frets give more angle to the saddle top.

  3. #3
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    I've got the saddle out. Anything in particular I should watch for? It wasn't glued in, but was pretty tight. No wiggle room that I could detect. The saddle slants very slightly (decreases in height) towards the higher strings. I'm still puzzled why it would only affect the B string. It seems like if there was a saddle problem it would affect all of them. But, I don't know much about this stuff so I'm willing to try all suggestions.

    -Brett
    Last edited by bretterb; 05-20-2019 at 02:59 PM.

  4. #4
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    The first culprit that comes to mind when reading your post is that the 6th fret is sticking up high. That's the first thing I would check. A fret rocker is the right tool for this yet a credit card will do for a quick test. Lay a credit card on the frets from the 5th to the 7th frets. Does the credit card "rock" back and forth over the 6th fret or does it sit level. Test a few frets in the area.
    Last edited by anthonyg; 05-20-2019 at 08:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hi, Brett!

    Do you still have buzz, even you shift the saddle (See the photo below)?


  6. #6
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    If your frets are level then try putting a very thin shim under the B string at the Nut and see what happens.

    A sliver of kitchen greaseproof paper or aluminium foil is about 0.5mm thick, and should serve OK for the test. Try a single thickness to start with then two if needed

    If this clears the problem then a more permanent repair to the nut can be tried.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for the responses so far! The frets do seem level based on the credit card test. I removed the bridge and then replaced it and tuned the strings back up. Now the G and B strings have the same buzz/rattle.

    Zztush: Thanks for the photo! I understand the logic behind shifting the bridge now, but I didn't earlier. I'm at work, but when I get home I'll try shifting it and see if the buzz/rattle goes away or moves to a different string.

    -Brett

  8. #8
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    Does your baritone have a thrust rod? I've seen a few where the rod was left too loose and it vibrated inside the neck. A half turn or so it took up the slack and the rattle was nixed without changing neck relief. It could also be the tuning heads. I had a 20 year old Hirade classical guitar with rattles when certain notes were played and it turned out to be worn tuning heads. I installed a new set of Gotohs and all was well.

  9. #9
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    Update: Shifting the saddle does make the buzz/rattle move from the B string to the G string, or in some positions they both start to buzz/rattle. The D and E strings seem immune for some reason. There are very slight indentations in the saddle where the strings are supposed to go, if that matters...they kind of snap into place. Should I add something underneath the saddle to raise it up a bit?

    No, no truss rod.

    I still may try a thicker B string at some point...I'll need to order one, as tuning the B string up to C also eliminates the buzz/rattle. But I'm not sure how much thicker to go. Current B string is Living Water .74mm. Original B string was D'Addario EJ87B at .83mm, but it also had the same issue.

    Thanks again,

    -Brett

  10. #10
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    Yes you can put something underneath and see what happens.

    You can also make a new saddle. I made this one (photo below). We can get similar size of ukulele saddle in amazon or somewhere else. We many net get exactly same one but similar one. We just need sand them with sandpaper. It is fun. I do not modify any original saddles and nuts. There are plenty of spare ones in the internet. They are very cheep, you can improve your skill after a couple of fails. :-)


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