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Thread: Buzzing at/near the bridge

  1. #1
    Registered User paulspafford's Avatar
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    Question Buzzing at/near the bridge

    I have an Eastman MD-515 that has been reliable and lovely for the eight years I've had it; I've never had a problem with it. About once every year or so, I have it professionally set up at my local music store - but we may be approaching the two-year point.

    Just in the last couple of days, I've noticed that when I am fretting at the first fret on one of the two middle courses of strings, there is a really nasty buzz at or near the bridge, but I can't pinpoint exactly where it's happening. The other two courses are fine.

    This is the coldest time of year here, and I moved into a new house in the past month - so the environment could have changed - but none of my other instruments have been affected.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Buzzing at/near the bridge

    Check your string height and see if it lowered because of drying out from heat. A buzz is hard to find as it can travel the string and sound like it is somewhere else. Also look and see if you have too much relief in the neck. Too much can cause buzzing on high frets with a nice low action. The drying out may have lowered the action so that the relief that maybe you had is now giving you problems.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  3. #3
    Registered User paulspafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buzzing at/near the bridge

    Hmm. Not sure what I was expecting, but all of that stuff sounds above my pay grade. I think I may need to pay the nice man to take care of it for me.

    Thanks, pops!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Buzzing at/near the bridge

    In translation for those who never adjust their own instruments:

    1. You could first try raising the bridge a little, if it's adjustable. (a) Measure the distance between the strings and the top of the 12th fret. (b) Slacken the strings somewhat (say, 5 semitones) and raise the bridge a little. (c) Re tune and see if the buzz has gone. (d) If not, return the bridge to its original position (this is why you measured the string height, aka the action). If this fixes it, and the mandolin is just as playable as before, record the action (12th fret) height which you liked. Then in the future, as the top rises and falls with changing humidity, you know which way to adjust.

    2. Changing humidity might have changed the relief in the neck - this is the very slight bend forward in the neck which most properly set up instruments have. Hold down a string at the first fret and at a fret near the body joint, and then use a feeler gauge to measure how much space there is above a fret near the middle of the stopped-at-both-ends string. This is your relief. It can be changed by turning the truss rod if you have one. However, random twisting of truss rods usually makes things worse - as you have a nice man to sort this out, you could ask him to show you how to do it yourself. But you need to record the relief (the measurement i explained) when the instrument is playing well, so you can return it to that if it changes. If in doubt, leave the truss rod alone!

  5. #5
    Registered User paulspafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buzzing at/near the bridge

    Thanks, Chris. I'll try #1. #2 scares me a bit.

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