Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Overtones on A String

  1. #1

    Default Overtones on A String

    Hi All:

    I bought two nice instruments, each with a 48 hour return period. I'll have to decide by tomorrow which one stays.... suffice it to say my fingers are sore.

    They both are really fantastic to my taste and I'm having difficulty deciding, but one of them has a pretty bad, metalic overtone on the A string, but only when not fretted. The instrument is otherwise outstanding, but this would be a deal breaker having sounding quite 'off' with an open A.

    I'm hoping the deep, collective wisdom here could provide some input. I'm guessing, because the overtone is absent when fretted that this is likely a fairly simple issue with setup? Most likely the nut? I wouldn't mess with that on an instrument that may be returned, but if it's a fairly simple issue with the nut, I wouldn't let the overtone influence the decision (it's primarily on one of the A strings). Ideas?

    Finally, I've played and sampled a lot of instruments, including quite a few really high end makes. That said, my sampling in stores or temporarily switching mandos in a group has been nothing like this in-depth A/Bing experience.... really fun switch back and forth for hours, comparing the fret board, digging in, playing light, different picks, etc. An amazing experience. Assuming the overtone is not a big issue, it will be tough to send one back as they both have outstanding qualities. I'll be glad to share the experience.

    Thanks for any input.

    Peter

  2. #2

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    I recently had a loose truss rod nut give me a buzz on one open string. It was a pain to track down because being only on one open string that was the last thing I suspected. Tightened the nut and it went away.

  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,057

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    Quote Originally Posted by carlsonp View Post
    I'm hoping the deep, collective wisdom here could provide some input. I'm guessing, because the overtone is absent when fretted that this is likely a fairly simple issue with setup? Most likely the nut? I wouldn't mess with that on an instrument that may be returned, but if it's a fairly simple issue with the nut, I wouldn't let the overtone influence the decision (it's primarily on one of the A strings). Ideas?
    People have been known to use a piece of paper as a temporary fix for a nut slot cut too deep, which might be enough to evaluate the instrument. A more permanent solution involves baking soda and CA, though I wouldn’t attempt that on someone else’s instrument. The ultimate answer is to replace the nut if and when it becomes your mandolin.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

  4. #4
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    Is it possibly a sympathetic vibration between the nut and the tuning peg; or possibly between the bridge and the tailpiece? A lot of folks use the little black grommets for that, I prefer a woven piece of leather.

    My SA makes some extra noise sometimes. When I strike certain notes, sometimes some other strings will hum sympathetically as well. I've grown accustomed to it and can usually compensate.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  5. #5
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    995

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    Agree with it likely being sympathetic vibration from the string to nut, or bridge to tailpiece. Also a slight chance it could be the tailpiece itself. My Flatiron has it around the same note. If it is a Gibson style tailpiece, take the cover off and see if the sound persists. If not, that's the source.

    Good luck in your decisionmaking.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  6. #6

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone.

    So far I've checked the truss rod cover (screws were tight), loosed the string a great deal and brought back to pitch, and raised the treble side of the bridge a half turn. It does go away when holding the sting between nut and tuner post, nor if I lift the James tailpiece.

    It does seem like it's diminished somewhat since receiving it (the strings showed zero sign of play wear upon arrival... I'm guessing it was received by the shop just before of even after all the business closures occurred) and the E sting also had this slightly, but now that's gone. The overtone isn't a higher frequency overtone that one sometimes hears between the nut and tuners, and not exactly buzzing either, but rather a change metalic tone within the note, if that makes sense. I hear it more when playing an open D cord than playing the open A alone.

    I'm all ears for any more suggestions. I'll try a little paper in the nut. Thanks again, everyone.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,516

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    When you put the paper in the slot look carefully first under a good light and see that the string is touching the very front of the slot. You should be able to see where the string is riding on the nut, use a magnifier if necessary. If it is all the way to the edge, try the paper, if not the nut will need adjustment.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Overtones on A String

    Mine was the nut on the truss rod, not the cover.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •