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Thread: Intermittent buzzing A string at third fret

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Default Intermittent buzzing A string at third fret

    Dale, here, back again. I'm a bit frustrated. As mentioned in a previous post, I am having a bit of trouble with my uke.

    I started noticing a twang and sometimes buzz on my A string when I pressed the second fret. It sounds ok over the sound hole but up in the strumming area, not good. I put a straight edge on the fret board and it rocked noticeably over the third fret. The other strings don't appear to be impacted.

    Well, have taken it to two different retail places and neither put a straight edge on it. The first blamed old strings or my technique. So I changed the strings, spent a few days getting the strings in tune and the buzzing did not improve.

    The second place offered to raise the bridge for $10, so I agreed. The buzz did not improve and she then said it was probably that I was pulling up on the string and causing the problem. She said if it didn't happen all the time, it wasn't the instrument.

    Ok, I am not an accomplished uke player, but I have played string instruments for many years, so I think I know when I have caused a buzz or twang.

    So, my first question is, can a problem be intermittent and still be the instrument?

    Second question is, should I just let it be and believe them that it is my playing that is the issue?

    Third question: My uke is an $80 starter uke (Cordoba UP100 laminate mahogany) but sounds and plays quite nicely for my taste. (other than the above problem) Should I try to find an actual luthier to take a look or would it be more expensive to level the frets than the uke is worth?

    I'm a bit discouraged.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Dale

  2. #2
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    I would say it's a fret that needs to be smoothed down.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 6 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 41)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    I would say it's a fret that needs to be smoothed down.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 6 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 41)

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
    That's kind of what I thought. Any idea how much that costs?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdale View Post
    That's kind of what I thought. Any idea how much that costs?
    Shouldn't be very costly, it's a very straight froward process from what I understand. If you're in the Los Angeles area, I go to Eric's Guitar in Van Nuys, he does great work, is not expensive, but because he's so good, he has lots of clients so it takes some time for him to get to it.

    If not, then yes, I would think it would be worth it to go to a real luthier.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2012
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    If you can measure a raised fret then you have a raised fret and that is a problem. The first thing to do is to try and hammer it back down with a soft faced (plastic or rubber) mallet. If that doesn't fix it then it needs to be filed down. This shouldn't be a particularly big job for an experienced Luthier.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Thanks, both. I am in Florida so it would be a bit of hike to visit Eric. But thank you!! I have gotten a couple of luthier recommendations from some local uke friends so will give one a call.

  7. #7
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    An update. Today I took my uke to a technician at a larger music store in the area (but much farther away!) and finally got a serious look at my fret concern. He could see that the fret was high, but indicated that it was the neck that was very slightly pooched up, rather than the fret. I think I saw it too but not really sure. It is very subtle. If it had not been pointed out, I never would have guessed. You can clearly see that the fret is higher though, which is a relief. Finally someone who didn't blame my playing. The smoothing of the board and refretting would be more costly than the uke is worth, so we agreed it was better to let it be my beater uke and start looking for a new one. It certainly is playable, so I am going to take my time deciding what I want to buy. That is going to be tough with no local stock to sit and play and compare. Mostly laminate in my area. I really struggle with buying without playing. Guess I am going to have to plan a road trip.

    Thanks again to all!

    Dale

  8. #8
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdale View Post
    I really struggle with buying without playing. Guess I am going to have to plan a road trip.
    get over that
    Order from any of the usual suspects (HMS, Mim, Uke Republic, Mainland) and you won't have to worry about playability issues.

    Or start planning a trip to Atlanta: https://www.ukerepublic.com/visit-uke-republic.html
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant

    !Flukutronic!

  9. #9
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    What Jim said.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    If you slacken off the A string and put a sliver of kitchen foil under the string then re tune.

    This will raise the A string very slightly at the nut end of the scale length, then see how it goes.

    Add another sliver if need be and repeat.

    If this cures of lessens the problem then build up the nut slot with some bicarb of soda mixed with a drop of superglue.
    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

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