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Thread: A-String Buzz

  1. #26
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    It’s true! No excuses I guess.

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  3. #27

    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    If all else fails, look at the saddle. I had one instrument like you describe and finally noticed that the slots for the A strings were made with a downward angle towards the forward edge. Thus the take-off point for the string was not the forward edge, but maybe a half millimeter back. This allowed the string to vibrate against the forward part of the saddle slot. The amount of angulation was very small and hard to notice.

    Leveling the slots (or actually adding a very slight ramp from front edge to back) solved the problem.
    Yes, agreed. Had the same problem with a new Collings. Took it to a local luthier who puzzled on it for a bit and then solved the problem dealing with just as mentioned above. This was on a Collings MF5!
    Al in PT

  4. #28
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Kev
    probably not this, but take a look to make sure the bridge base/and or/saddle haven't been turned around during a recent string change. The bridge base may have a B (i assume that stands for "bass") scribed right beside the post of the bass(G) side of the string set. Lift the saddle off the posts to see this, it slides off and back on the posts. That will orientate the base of the bridge for you, check to make sure the larger set of string slots of the top saddle piece are on the bass(G) post side.

  5. #29
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    True enough!

    With respect to Stiver and Bluett, I’ve found that Warner, Bob Kane (Hershey), and Jeff Hoestetter (Red Lion) are gems as well. Thanks to your suggestion, I contacted Jeff to see what his turnaround time is. For light repairs it’s about a week. So, I’m trying to work it out with him.

    Thanks again!

  6. #30
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    I had an issue with fret buzzing on the A and E strings when my Collings MT was in Galicia. I raised the action which helped. I did not touch the truss rod.

    Now back in a drier climate in southern Spain all buzzes are gone and I have lowered the action.
    Nic Gellie

    Collings MT 2012 mandolin signed by Bill Collings
    Collings MT-O 2019 mandolin
    Ruben Bada 2019 Irish Bouzouki

  7. #31
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Hi, Everyone:

    Seems it’s including the E strings today, now when fretting just about anywhere, more predominantly in the A strings. The G and D strings sound great,

    I ran across this tonight and am thankful to Audrey Ratliff:

  8. #32
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Hi, everyone:

    I realized today it’s the first fret wire! I tried to look through from one side to the other between my strings and fretboard and couldn’t see past the first fret wire, then it all became quite clear. It has been tinny playing the open A strings and the E strings increasingly.

    With that said. What now?

  9. #33
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Hi, everyone:

    I realized today itís the first fret wire! I tried to look through from one side to the other between my strings and fretboard and couldnít see past the first fret wire, then it all became quite clear. It has been tinny playing the open A strings and the E strings increasingly.

    With that said. What now?
    I see few contradicting opinions in several posts above that may confuse you in searching for source of your buzzes. Experienced luthier (or even some better players with some tech knowledge) might see the answer within few minutes with the instrument in hands...
    Folks like to play with truss rods and action but even if it cures some buzzes temporarily it may not be the optimal solution to the problem.

    So what's wrong with that wire? Is it loose or just to high (but being the first one it is hard to judge by just looking as there is no more frets behind it when looked from bridge end)?
    I kinda doubt this is reason of your buzzes. The wire would have to be really loose to cause audible buzzes of treble strings fretted above 2nd fret...
    Anyway, if the wire is loose then you need first to push it back into board and secure it. I would press or hammer it gently back in with plastic handle of my chisel (I vastly prefer that to hammer) and add few tiny dots of CA glue to the side(s) of the wire making sure it is still well seated (hlding it in place if it wants to go out). You can clean thewet CA residue right after application with q-tip and acetone (don't get any of CA or acetone on your finish - mask edges and don't go too close to the edges) or leave it to dry and you can easily slice off the tiny drops off ebony with sharp chisel and clean up with a stroke or two of razor blade.
    Adrian

  10. #34
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    You need to put some slight relief into the fretboard. As someone mentioned 1/4 turn at the time of the truss rod nut at a time is all that is needed to adjust it. Dial it back slightly to see if some clearance occurs at the first fret.
    Nic Gellie

    Collings MT 2012 mandolin signed by Bill Collings
    Collings MT-O 2019 mandolin
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  11. #35

    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    If you want to diagnose the problem yourself, you have to approach it systematically. The first step is to put the mandolin back into correct setup, and then start again from there. So the steps are as follows:

    1. Check for frets which have lifted. You say your first fret seems high, so try to push it down into the slot with something like an eraser on the end of a pencil. Does it move a fraction? If so, take it to someone who can fix that, unless you are confident you can do it yourself.

    2. Adjust the truss rod so the board is flat and with a straight edge (say, a steel ruler) sight under the frets. Can you see light between any fret tops and the ruler? If so, you might need a fret level. If they all look fairly good ...

    3. Readjust the truss rod to give the neck a small amount of relief. Capo the strings at the first fret (you might try your pencil and a rubber band if you don't have a capo) and hold down the lowest string at a fret near the body join. Now measure under that string above a fret around half way along - I'd guess you want around the thickness of a sheet of paper gap, maybe a tiny fraction more.

    4. Now check the action at the nut. Hold down each string between frets 2 and 3 and measure the gap between the first fret and the string. At most, you want a sheet of paper thickness gap. If there is no gap, your nut slots have worn too low so this needs fixing.

    5. Finally adjust the action at the 12th to whatever you like - something like 1/16 inch or 1.5mm maybe.

    Somewhere along this journey you will probably find the cause. If you don't, this might even fix the problem! If it's still a problem after all this then I think you need a more experienced eye - once this basic setup is done, any buzzing is probably due to slightly uneven frets which you might not spot just by sighting under a straight edge.

    What you mustn't do is to try lots of different "cures" in random order, because each change you make affects everything else.

    But following the steps I outline above shouldn't take you more than an hour and is pretty much guaranteed to identify any problem you might fix yourself.

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  13. #36
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Good systematic advice above.
    Nic Gellie

    Collings MT 2012 mandolin signed by Bill Collings
    Collings MT-O 2019 mandolin
    Ruben Bada 2019 Irish Bouzouki

  14. #37
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    I would start simply with is the fret lifted, how is the nut slot, and what is my neck relief including checking for twist, that alone will let you know what needs to be done next. Just remember one step at a time. I have seen guys get so wrapped up in the process they lost track of what they were doing. Feel no shame in keeping a note pad nearby with findings on each step.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  15. #38

    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Hi, everyone:

    I realized today it’s the first fret wire! I tried to look through from one side to the other between my strings and fretboard and couldn’t see past the first fret wire, then it all became quite clear. It has been tinny playing the open A strings and the E strings increasingly.

    With that said. What now?
    I’d call Collings.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

  16. #39
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-String Buzz

    Hey, Everyone:

    Thanks so much for all of your attention to my mandolin buzzing woes. :-)

    I finally took it to a local luthier today to see what he thought and he said the following:

    1. Hump in the neck around frets 10-14
    2. Low nut slots
    3. Low frets

    He said he felt he could do the work, but suggested I give Collings a call since it's new and under the Collings warranty. So, I gave Collings a call, sent some pictures etc. I can see the hump he's talking about, although didn't until he pointed it out. It looks to me to be enough to make a difference, and his diagnosis helps explain why there's so much buzzing in different places. He and I could hear it right away when he played it in front of me.

    I'll keep you posted!

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