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.
Something I learned quite a while ago from up close watching Mark O'Connor play mandolin and guitar : play as close as possible to the fret--just behind it. Tension is lowest there and it's easiest to get a clean note. If fretting in the middle between two frets, the string may bottom out on the fingerboard before it sits firmly on the fret and then, you get buzz. This is made worse by lower frets (e.g. small mandolin frets) since the fingerboard is more easily contacted before the fret. Playing a low fret instrument for a while really helps learn this technique because it'll buzz unless it's done right, nice and tight against the fret.
If the nut slot is slightly high it will also tend to buzz around the first and second fret because more pressure is required. I've had pro setups where the nut was still too high--some pros tend to set them a little high, anticipating nut wear. Check out the setup articles on Frank Ford's web site.