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Thread: String buzz

  1. #1
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    String buzz

    Hi All,

    I am looking for some advise on some string buzz, as I have limited experience with guitar I wanted to check my though process. I installed an after market nut on my TLA-1 and when I play the open E string I get a buzzing noise. This only happens when I play the string with any force.

    I believe the issue may be that due to the nut height the string hits the wood behind the nut on the way to the tuning peg. I did not take any material of the nut when installing it. I get no buzz when I fret any other place on the neck and play a note. I also have no other issues with any other strings buzzing when being played open or fretted (none of these touch the wood behind the nut).

    Would like to get some thoughts about this. Do you think this is cause of the issue? What are my options? Change out to a new nut seems like the logical step. Only thought is I didnít alter the graph tech nut is a bone one higher?
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  2. #2
    That would be my first suspicion. The source of string buzz can be an elusive thing sometimes. Lots of weird things can happen.
    For example a problem at the nut can sound like it's coming from the bridge (unwound G strings are notorious for this) and what happens above the nut is as important as what happens below the nut when it comes to string vibration.

    Without seeing the whole guitar, my inclination is that the string slot in the nut or the entire nut could be too low. However it could just be the angle or depth which the low E slot is cut.
    What is the string action at the first fret on the low E when depressed at the third fret?
    If the depressed string is touching the first fret, the action is too low(ie: slot or nut too low).

    It would be a good idea to check each of the strings in the manner while you're at it. FWIW, I set the nut action at .008" E/A; .006" D/G;.004" B/E. These are just a guide - each guitar may vary depending other factors. (a holistic approach)

    Did you cut the nut, or are the slots just as they came?
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCreed View Post
    That would be my first suspicion. The source of string buzz can be an elusive thing sometimes. Lots of weird things can happen.
    For example a problem at the nut can sound like it's coming from the bridge (unwound G strings are notorious for this) and what happens above the nut is as important as what happens below the nut when it comes to string vibration.

    Without seeing the whole guitar, my inclination is that the string slot in the nut or the entire nut could be too low. However it could just be the angle or depth which the low E slot is cut.
    What is the string action at the first fret on the low E when depressed at the third fret?
    If the depressed string is touching the first fret, the action is too low(ie: slot or nut too low).

    It would be a good idea to check each of the strings in the manner while you're at it. FWIW, I set the nut action at .008" E/A; .006" D/G;.004" B/E. These are just a guide - each guitar may vary depending other factors. (a holistic approach)

    Did you cut the nut, or are the slots just as they came?
    Thanks McCreed,

    I did nothing to the nut out of the packet. Unfortunately it seems that the nut is too low (short).

    I tested the by holding down the 3rd fret and it hits the first fret. Looks like I will need to replace the nut which is a pain as I have not modified anything but to be fair I didnít pick anything up until now.

    A new nut should fix the height in front and behind and hopefully the buzz

  4. #4
    I did nothing to the nut out of the packet. Unfortunately it seems that the nut is too low (short).

    I tested the by holding down the 3rd fret and it hits the first fret. Looks like I will need to replace the nut which is a pain as I have not modified anything but to be fair I didnít pick anything up until now.

    A new nut should fix the height in front and behind and hopefully the buzz.
    Alternatively, you can shim the nut slot (in the fretboard) to raise the existing nut.

    When I need to do this, I use timber veneer. The good things about using veneer is, one, it's real wood; and two, it's available in all kinds of colours (timber types). Jarrah & Blackwood can be a really close match to rosewood, and Pine works pretty well with Maple (I haven't found Maple veneer locally). Of course it can stained or coloured to match too.

    I have a local joinery that gives me off-cuts of veneer for free (they refuse to take my money or even coffee!) so I have a range of different colours. They come in different thicknesses too. Most of the hardwood veneer I have is around .7mm which is usually perfect.

    Cut your shim so it fits snuggly width-wise leaving the length just a smidge long (.5mm each end). The width can adjusted with a few swipes of 400 sandpaper. Glue it in with a small amount of wood glue making sure it's sitting flat in the slot. I clamp it using the nut, but making sure the nut isn't also getting glued in (yet).
    After it's set use a jeweler's file or tiny sanding block to trim the ends flush with the slot. Now proceed with gluing in the nut and adjusting you individual string slot depths/string height.

    Cutting nuts and filing string slots is a whole other topic, but happy to help with that too if/when you get to it!
    Keep us posted on what you do and of course the result.

    NOTE: There is the option of filling the offending low string slot doing the CA & baking soda trick, but that is more a temporary solution in my opinion. Using bone dust instead of baking soda is better, but I still feel raising the nut and re-cutting the string slots is the best method, short of replacing the nut.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. Liked by: BigDaddy

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