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Thread: Everything Buzzes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020

    Default Everything Buzzes

    Hello! I often find myself using this site for advice but I can’t find quite what I’m looking for by browsing.

    In June I started searching for an upgrade from my concert Lanikai. I’ve been working with a friend who is a luthier but I seem to get bad buzzing on the C string of all his instruments starting at the 3rd fret. I play rather aggressively.

    My questions are
    Am I playing to aggressively?
    Are there certain brands or models of instruments built for my style of playing?
    How much can I adjust action without sacrificing playability?

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited by MsHenning; 08-10-2020 at 10:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2020


    A video of you playing and buzz should get you better help.

    On some ukuleles that I buy, the shops can't put the action as low as I want because they say there's buzzing. Now, this is buying over the internet so I'm not there, i.e. the shop has to use some reasonable assumptions on how hard the typical user strums and add some for margin for error. Since it is your friend, you can raise the action in a trial-and-error fashion until either you think it is too hard to play or when the buzzing stops.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA


    Do you get buzzing with your Lanikai?

    What is your action (string heights at 1st and 12th frets)?

    What is it for the luthier's uke?

    Is the C-string wound or unwound?

    Have you checked the frets to make sure they are level?

    Slow down your strum and check how your finger(s) hit the C-string. You could be striking it more vertically than the other strings.

    Strum the string at various angles and see if you can replicate the buzz.

    Make sure there isn't a loose fitting on the c-tuner. Like a washer/ferrule round the base of the tuner peg on the front of the headstock.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015


    Have you talked to the luthier and told him/her your issue? Maybe he/she will need to raise the action if you want to continue playing the way you do. I guess another option would be going to higher tension strings....or just finding a higher tension C string. I think talking to the luthier should be step one. Any reputable luthier can help more than any of us here just guessing.

  5. #5


    *Does this ukulele have an adjustable truss rod?
    Some do, most don't. A truss rod can adjust the bow of your neck and reduce buzz if you had too much neck backbow.

    *Is the saddle and nut height too low?
    You did mention not wanting to sacrifice playability, so raising the action here may not be an option.
    It may be worth measuring the action at the 12th fret. Sometimes if you prefer an action too low, it is inherently difficult to avoid some buzzing.
    Anything less than 2mm may naturally come with some buzz when played strongly.

    *Frets. Your frets may be of uneven height.
    A luthier can look to see if there are any 'popped' frets, in which case they can be gently hammered down.
    If the fret heights are uneven, they can level the frets down so they don't buzz.
    This step might cost some significant money, and you'll have to consider whether it's worth doing it on this uke.

    If none of these options have helped, then if the ukulele isn't particularly precious - could be much simpler to just buy another ukulele that doesn't have the buzz issues.
    Last edited by kissing; 08-13-2020 at 04:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Canada Prairies, brrr ....


    Have you tried to play a bit more gentle and softer? If the buzz only occurs with hard playing then the action is too low for that style and you likely need a new saddle. If it happens even with very soft playing then there may be issues such as lose or uneven frets or other parts.

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