I have a problem with my guitar. I play on an acoustic Larson Bros guitar, which is a hand-made quality guitar, but I have a "buzz", or better, a "dead note" on the second fret of the d-string. I had several luthiers diagnose the problem, but none of them could help me. After searching the internet for similar problems, and after trying several guitars, I found out that this seems to be a problem in most guitars: the second fret on the d-string (or the g-string). In some guitars you barely hear it, but in other guitars (usually "better" guitars), the problem is more outspoken. I have read treads where luthiers explain the dead note as a result of interference with the natural frequency of the guitar body. However, when I turn down my strings (f.e. 1/2 step down), I STILL get the "buzz" on the SECOND fret. And more, I have this on EVERY guitar. It's always that second fret, even if I turn down (or up) the tuning of the instrument. I am absolutely sure that I'm not the only person who's got this problem, and I would to know if anyone has a sollution, or a suggestion to diminish the buzz.
My own sollutions are:
1) adapt your playing style. I play with my fingers (when playing with my fingers, I hear the "buzz" better than with a pick), and every time I have to play that second fret, I try to play it a little softer.
2) Use a thumb pick when the attack on this note has to be more pronounced. As I said, by using a pick, the buzz is less noticable.
3) Add weight to the body of the guitar by glueing things inside the body. This way, the natural frequency of the guitar changes. I have tried this, but unfortunatly it didn't work...
Any other suggestions are welcome. I want this problem to be finally solved, not just for me, but for everyone who's bothered by this horrible note on the d-string.
What exactly did you glue inside the guitar to "add weight"?
And why did you remove the label?
In my experience, taking blind stabs at the problem usually is not the right approach.
Well, someone recommended to glue "tack blu" inside the body... it's some kind of paste. It doesn't damage the guitar and it's easy to remove. I removed the label because I thought maybe the buzz was coming from there, or from underneath the sticker...
Hi Philippe;do you happen to wear a bracelet on your right wrist?
Is the second fret well seated in the slot?
Yes... It's not a fret buzz also, the buzz seems to come from inside the body.
Have you considered an exorcist?
haha... Well I guess it's some devil in my fingers... I went to a store today, and I played several new guitars, and I had the same problem... Very strange, only on that one spot on the d-string. A guy there told me I should adjust my playing style. Either that, or call an excorsist :). Thanks for the replies!
ok ...last idea..if the pin hole/bridge plate are worn you could have a ballend rattle which happened on me D28.I added ballends to the strings and do believe the rattles disappeared.Jus'guessin'
"Logically speaking, if you are personally experiencing buzzing/dead notes on ALL guitars that you play, then it must be your playing style."
This was my fist response.
Lots of people are too polite to jump right in and say it.
I, however, am a little less sensitive.
OK Philippe, I'm going to take a stab at this, but first, we have to eliminate logistically or re-evaluate a few statements. I have never heard that this is a problem on most guitars, BUT. Understand that the D and G strings sit the closest to the apex of the fretboard radius. Because players usually like to experiment with the sizes of the D and G strings, or more so than other strings in a set, a lot of tension is loaded in this area of the neck tuned to A 440 reference. The nut tends to wear out sooner here (usually), in the D and G string slots than the other strings. Even though your problem is fretting at the second fret, interference between the nut and the top of the first fret can sometimes be heard by a sharp ear. But per your statement the sound is coming from inside the body of the guitar, so let's move on...
First, I think it would be a good idea to remove anything that you have hopefully temporarily glued inside of the body, but do not remove any more labels should there be any left. Second, is there a pickup installed in this guitar? (I would think not but just to be sure). If so, just continue following here. Fret the string at the second fret, hold your ear as close to the sound hole as you can and make sure the sound is pronounced and can be heard clearer at the hole. Now, if there are electronics in the guitar, I systematically and VERY CAREFULLY (with the strings still on the guitar), use an extension mirror, a flash light and a coat hanger to move any loose wiring, stopping with each move to re-check to see if the buzz has been eliminated. Use cotton wash cloths to protect the guitars finish. Do not forget to use very small pieces of a business card to wedge CAREFULLY between in hole finger wheel tone and volumne controls to keep them from vibrating at a given frequency, i.e., E, fretted at the second fret 4th string. I'm sure there is no preamp in the side of this guitar so I won't even go there. Now, if there are no electronics, as you remove the strings, remove the D string last but the neck will have to be relieved to accommodate the reduced tension on the neck. Tune the D string to pitch and see if the buzz is still there. If the buzz is gone then two areas are possibly at fault. You have changed the tension on the truss rod and you have 5 strings not seated on the bridge plate. Remove the D string and then remove the truss rod nut completely and let the neck relax for a few days. Mind you to keep this guitar at 45% relative humidity and 70-72 degrees F. Take the mirror and flashlight and inspect the holes in the bridge plate to make sure the string ball ends have not gnawed elongated holes in it. If so, have the plate replaced. After 3-4 days for the neck to relax, put a small amount of vaseline petroleum jelly on the threads inside the truss rod nut and tighten on the rod just enough to seat the nut snug. Now it's time to make sure there are no loose braces. Because now there is no tension on the body of the guitar, a loose brace will stick out like a sore thumb. You can visually inspect but will not likely be able to see it. Use the mirror and light to locate the braces and methodically tap lightly on the outside of the guitar around the braces but on the top, back and yes the sides of the guitar listening carefully for a buzz or even a rattle type sound. Now, if all braces seem to be in tack, the bridge plate appears OK, then likely the truss rod shifted and was buzzing against the inside of the neck. This is why you have let the neck relax for a few days. When you restring, adjust the truss rod and setup the guitar, the neck and rod will have relaxed enough to reveal that the truss rod had settled inside the neck. I admit, these are extreme measures but it is the only way to be sure. If you cannot perform these tasks, a luthier has done all of this many times and I can assure you, is time consuming and will not be cheap.
Now, I know this post is windy but I have no other way of explaining it and noisy guitars do not leave my shop. If it gets back to a question of setup, Paul Verticchio left two posts in the discussion 'What makes A Guitar A "Great Player" that will tell you everything there is to know about guitars and setups... Good Luck : >)
Considering that swaping the strings does not change the problem, and that you here that noise on all your guitars, I think that it doesn't come from your guitar. I don't think I can go further without seeing you playing your guitars.