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Thread: Yes, another G String Buzz Thread

  1. #1

    Default Yes, another G String Buzz Thread

    I just received a Kentucky KM-270. A nice mandolin, love the oval hole, but I've noticed a nasty little buzz from the tailpiece when fretting up the G-string only -- it seems to be more pronounced the closer to the nut I go.

    After reading the threads here and Rob Meldrum's guide, I raised the action on the bass side what seemed like a lot and it's still there to a certain amount. Loosening the tailpiece cover actually seemed to help, but it doesn't seem like an ideal solution.

    Is there anything else I can try? I've heard about some people putting a piece of cloth or felt inside the tailpiece and over the top of the strings. Do I dare try loosening the truss rod? Would that even help?

    Or should I just find a luthier willing to do the setup for me for a price? As someone else elegantly put, do I want to learn to build a car, or do I want to learn to drive a car apart from doing minor maintenance?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Conneaut Lake, PA

    Default Re: Yes, another G String Buzz Thread

    You have to determine exactly where the buzz is coming from. Are you absolutely certain it’s coming from the tailpiece? If so, either it’s the tailpiece itself or sympathetic vibrations from the strings below the bridge. Make sure all of the screws holding on the tailpiece are nice and tight. Try playing with the tailpiece cover removed. Does that make a difference? Loosening the tailpiece is the wrong way to go. A tighter fit would be better. The sides can be carefully bent a bit for snugger fit. A piece of felt will sometimes help. It’s easy to get the stick on kind at the big box hardware stores. Just cut to fit and stick it on the underside of the cover. For sympathetic vibrations some people weave a leather bootlace through the strings below the bridge. Or some other kind of leather or felt strip. Others use tiny rubber grommets, which are used to protect electrical wiring going through metal panels. You used to be able to get them at Radio Shack when there was such a thing. They have a groove in the center and fit quite nicely between the strings of each course, acting a vibration dampeners. Weber sells a fancy version called a “wood nymph” that looks prettier and costs more but it does basically the same thing, dampening the vibrations with rubber on the underside. Adjusting the truss rod will do nothing to help your problem, if you are describing it accurately. Rods can buzz if the nut is too loose but the buzz wouldn’t be coming from the tailpiece. And finally, unless you bought the mandolin from a dealer that includes professional setup, it is always a good idea to pay for a professional setup, but only if you can find someone who is familiar with mandolins. There are some “luthiers” out there who only know guitars. Good luck, hope this helps.

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  3. #3
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Redwood City, CA

    Default Re: Yes, another G String Buzz Thread

    The proper solution to a buzz coming from the tailpiece area is not to raise the action on the G (or any other) string. If removing the tailpiece cover altogether makes the buzz go away, then you already have your answer: the noise is coming from the tailpiece! Please lower your action to where it is best. And please do not touch your truss rod, either.

    There are several different ways that tailpieces can buzz. The two most common are that (1) the tailpiece cover itself is rattling against the base, and it needs tightening, or (2) one or more strings are rattling against the tailpiece (could be either the cover or base).

    The solution to (1) is to bend the outer flanges on the removable tailpiece cover lightly to tighten its grip on the base. You can easily do this with common pliers whose faces are protected by some cloth or leather.

    The solution to (2) is to place a small strip of cloth or leather between the strings and the tailpiece base (i.e., under the strings) at the point where the strings leave the base. If it's the cover, and not the base, that's touching the strings, you can bend it by a small amount with pliers so that the last bit of the cover (the part towards the nut) clears the strings entirely.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Yes, another G String Buzz Thread

    I'll just add that it's just common sense to make sure every screw on your mandolin is tight, including tuner buttons if that applies.

    As far as finding someone to do setup, it's hard unless you have a shop that sells mandolins with a repair department, and from what you've said, you probably don't have that. If you need to drive a fair distance, most repair guys should be willing to make an appointment.

    Tracking down a buzz can be hard, and where you think it's coming from might not be the problem, but certainly if you take the tailpiece cover off and the buzz goes away, that is the issue.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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