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Thread: Help figuring mandolin string buzz that come and goes?

  1. #1

    Default Help figuring mandolin string buzz that come and goes?

    Hey all, sorry if this is the wrong forum. I acquired a Gibson A -1 from 1912 about 2 months ago now. It played great and was in stellar condition! I took it to a luthier for an intonation adjustment, and he did it and sanded the nut slots down. I took it home, and there was nasty buzz on the open strings and the first five or so frets. Put it away and made a note to take it back to the luthier.

    Fast forward a few days, I take it back out and it sounds great! No buzz, anywhere, no matter how hard I pick! Awesome! Then a couple weeks later, take it out and bam there’s that same buzz! Check it a few days later, nothing. Perfect again. Still is, as of today. Does anyone know what might be the issue? I have no honest idea. I’ve never had string buzz that just appears and disappears at will, lol. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Help figuring mandolin string buzz that come and goes?

    Impossible to diagnose fro afar but it’s clearly something to do with the nut and my guess would be that the work has set it at the limit of acceptability; a tad too low. It’s possible that slight changes in humidity are causing it to buzz on some days and not on others. I had exactly the same problem with my ‘14 A except that, played hard, it buzzed all the time.

    I simply drifted the nut off and attached two layers of paper stickers to the bottom before gluing it back on (if you try this glue it back to the end of the fingerboard with a small amount of glue - the strings will hold it in place).

    The simple option would be to take it back to the luthier as this might not solve the problem of buzzing above the first fret - maybe the bridge is also too low. Is it adjustable or one of the original fixed ones?

  3. #3
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help figuring mandolin string buzz that come and goes?

    Your action is likely changing with variation in relative humidity and/or temperature.

  4. #4
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help figuring mandolin string buzz that come and goes?

    I think Ray & Mandobart probably have it right. You don't say where you are located, but keep an eye on the temp and humidity to see if changes correspond to appearance/disappearance of the buzz. You may need a slight tweak to the nut.
    Kit
    Guitars, Mandos, Violins, Dulcimers, Cats

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