This is my biggest gripe about Acoustic Guitars, which I have been playing for over 25 years. After saving to buy a HIGH END guitar I was severely disappointed that it had a buzzing “B” String, primarily when played open. I called the manufacturer several times and their advice was of no use, telling me to adjust the truss rod (I have had guitars where all, the strings buzzed and a back bow was the cause but not ONE string.) Bu I added more relief but it did not help. They told me to change the pins, I did but the problem was not solved. It was so annoying. I placed a feeler gauge under the string at each fret and plucked the string, it cleared the gauge at every fret. I tried a higher saddle, a higher nut; NOTHING made this BUZZ go away. I set everything within the manufacturers specs, relief, saddle height, break angle, clearance at nut, etc. Still no cure. They told me to talk it to their repair center. I did and the person there could not hear any buzz, all he heard was as he said, "A secondary harmonic.” Now if this was a secondary harmonic then EVERY acoustic guitar “B” string would BUZZ the same. All of the acoustic guitars I have owned for the past 25 years DID NOT BUZZ; all of the acoustics I now own DO NOT. I could hear it, my friends could hear it. This person also said it was MY playing style caused it, and yet I had many people play the guitar and got the same result; a BUZZ. I recorded the buzzing and emailed it to the manufacturer and they agreed to refund my money and I agreed not to reveal THEIR NAME.
Recently I purchased a little Martin and liked it so much and decided that it was the same as their X series so I bought a 000 X series online. When it arrived it too had this same mysterious buzzing B string. I sent it back. Then I went to GC and played a 000 X series and it too had a buzzing B sting, open and to the third fret, but the Dreadnaught X series did not. Again the salesperson could not hear the BUZZ. I am so tired of trying to buy any acoustic guitar because of this Buzz that only I can hear (But those who listen to the tape can hear it too, except repairmen and sales people.) I would like to know what on earth causes this and why on just certain more well known guitars. I am beginning to believe it is POOR manufacturing and there is either a major flaw in the neck and or bridge.
Thanks for this differentiation of luthier/technician/repairman, Paul. I have always referred to myself as a technician to make the distinction from a luthier (builder), but it never crossed my mind to make the destination about a repairman. Henceforth I will.
Does the buzz sound metallic or does it sound like a sitar. If it is metallic it would be indicative of a nut slot that is too low causing the string to vibrate against the first fret. If the string hada sitarish type sound that would mean that either the nut slot does not have a sufficient break angle or is too wide. But if the nut checks ok then it could be a saddle issue. I have encountered tusq saddles with such depressions in them that they caused a nasty buzz but generally this would be apparent through all the frets on the string.
Hi, I had a Martin DXM that did this. It was made of HPL.
The buzzing came from the part of the string from the tuning peg to the nut.
It was caused by a bad design, whereby the head-neck angle was not sharp enough,
thereby causing the string between the tuner and the nut to vibrate also,
causing a secondary harmonic/buzz. Try this, place a piece of rubber underneath
the strings behind the nut, on the neck of the guitar. Make sure the rubber is touching
the neck and the strings, thus eleminating any vibrations. Then try hitting the B string.
My guess is now it will sound fine. Let me know, thanks.
That is a GREAT suggestion Arthur. Kudos.
Have a good one my friend (:
Now I have some valuable info. I no longer have the guitar as I said after sending an audio clip of it AFTER it was “repaired” the manufacturer took it back and refunded my money. Everyone is RIGHT. The sound was like a Sitar with sometimes a “THUD” like sound. The rubber block test would have been good for the Martin I returned and I believe as it was stated--a poor design. And someone, I cannot mention who, guessed the Brand correctly. As I stated I am leery and weary of buying a new guitar that is why I am always working to keep my existing guitars in the best possible shape, but they, like me are getting older. This did however lead me to buying a Yamaha and I truly love it and it is built solid and designed well and sounds good with a nice slim neck. So in the future if I ever scrape up the money for an expensive guitar you guys have given me some great advice. I always though Martin was THE best guitar but after finding 2 with this problem I am not so sure anymore, but then they were made in Mexico, but so was my Little Martin, (solid Spruce top) which is awesome.
I meant to say place the piece of rubber under the strings on the head of guitar, not neck.
Anyway, that Martin, which I no longer have, was made in Mexico also.
I sold it and bought a made-in-USA Martin, which does not have that issue.
Glad I could offer some good advice for once!
I think the bottom line is that you should spend some time playing the guitar you intend to purchase. My Martin is a very good guitar but I've played some solid wood, U.S. made Martins that I didn't like so much. The same goes for lots of other brands too. Price isn't really a good indicator of how much you may like any given guitar.
I have a banjo that has the same problem the customer hears it and I cant and I cant find a thing wrong.
I give up
Ron, where are you digging up these two year old discussions?
I have a similar problem . Did anyone figure out what it was ? Thanks
Maybe in a few more years when someone resurrects an old thread we might find out by then...:)
Seriously often a buzzing open string on an acoustic is a nut slot that is too low. The check is to fret each string between the second and third fret and hold. Then tap the same string directly over the first fret. There should be some space even if it's difficult to see and often you will hear a "tink" sound too when the string is not in contact with the first fret. If the string is laying on the first fret when held depressed between the 2nd and 3rd fret the nut slot is too low.
Several remedies and of course the one to pick is the one that's appropriate for the instrument.
1) Remove and shim nut.
2) Fill nut slot and recut to proper slot depth. We don't like the CA and dust fill and it never seems to last very long either so instead we use light cured composite dental fillings (that come in all manner of goober gobber matching shades...:) ).
3) Replace nut perhaps because of other issues as well like it's a lousy nut or you want to upgrade the material to bone or improve spacing, etc.
Again the solution for you and your guitar should always take into account what's appropriate for the instrument. An example would be a Martin with the original ivory nut. The nut may also have been finished in place with finish on the sides such as with G*bson. In that case filling is preferred over knocking it off and how invasive that can be with finish chipping if not scored correctly, etc.
If it's an import with no vintage value and a player and the nut is some kind of genuine, imitation pl*astic AND you may want a sonically superior solution in the process too knock it off and replace with a proper custom made and fitted bone nut.
Happy Thanksgiving for all who celebrate it and I'm about ready to turn the oven on just now!