Yet another (seems unique): 2nd fret only D-String buzz....

I am new to this forum, and joined hoping to solve this problem and learn more about everything/anything in the process.  Before I begin, I think I've read everything posted that is regarding d-string buzzes and more and would like to thank anyone and everyone who takes the time to read this. I've been fighting this for a year now, and run out of ideas.  Also, this "seems" to be different from the rest of the similar posts, at least in its manifestation.

This is a new, high(er) quality factory,  classical guitar. I am not certain but highly suspect this problem was always there but I didn't notice it until I started recording. Now I can't not hear it.

The problem:  when playing the E on the D-string (2nd fret), a metallic buzz happens ONLY when the finger is behind the fret. For example when playing an A-Maj chord with fingers 2,3,4. The 2nd on E needs room, so it falls behind the fret. To me, it sounds like the string is "Bouncing" on the fret. When played at or on the fret, no problem. This also happens even when playing softly...

What I've tried:

- Several (5?) different brands of D strings (all medium tension)

- Raising and lowering Saddle (Thought for sure that would get it)

- Eliminated (I hope) buzzing from other ares/places that should be unrelated

- its not frequency or pitch related. (Other "E"s or anything else for that matter) does not make it happen.

- Adding a little piece of masking tape over the 2nd fret D-String. Note that it's not "solved" but I think it dampens it a bit and helps.

- don't recall now, but I think I even tried high and low tension strings.

As a side note, googling this, and also on a classical guitar forum that I am also a member of, shows this problem to be much more prevalent that I would have ever thought. Some suspect it is a longitudinal wave hitting the fret, and tightening the winding (twisting the string and restring it) would change the mass/density....) Didn't work for me.

In closing, again thank you. I live near Boston, and if there is anyone even remotely local that would like to spend a little time with me, I would certainly appreciate it. We can discuss fees if that helps.

Thank you.

Update: This instrument doesn't have a truss rod. I've measured the relief at .010(+). Also, I think I recall adding tape in front of the 2nd fret to eliminate it buzzing there.... Action is pretty high

Update: FWIW, F# 1st string doesn't buzz as much as it "snaps".

Tags: D-String, buzz

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Hi Ernie.
If you’re the original owner of the instrument, I encourage you to seek a warranty claim on this issue.

Alternatively, 90% of guitars, regardless of manufacturer or price, benefit from a professional setup by a knowledgeable and experienced technician who is familiar with the idiosyncrasies of nylon string guitars.

I’d suggest, at minimum, a fret level, recrowning and polish along with the attendant adjustments of the nut saddle and a fresh set of strings.

Also of significant importance is to double check that all frets are properly seated in their respective slots.

Without having eyes on the instrument, my initial thoughts suspect irregular symmetry of fret crowning, especially if it’s a factory built instrument.

I’d also pay serious attention to the geometry of the saddle’s top as it establishes the “take off point” for everything that happens between the saddle and the nut.

Good luck in conquering and eliminating the problem.

Please let us know the outcome.

Be well and positive,

Thank you for your thoughts and reply. I have contacted a local luthier who is willing to have a look soon. I was hoping (for a good part of a year now) that I could figure this out. 


Hi Ernie,

What Paul said. I started out using "The Big Buzz List" many years ago (dont know it it still exists but it was on I recall) and found that even with that exhaustive list I still had the occasional instrument that stumped me.  So it was back to glue in the frets and fret level and recrown, dress nut and saddle/saddle slot  with new strings before even starting. 

Second thing:  in a previous life I trained operators in the military to recognize acoustic/sonic events while doing acoustic analysis with advance processors.   The brain can be trained to recognize discrete sounds (for want of a better short description) and then store these events with a priority list for future use.   This recall will be instantaneous and have a "flag" and will also have an acuity above normal listening.   Best described for the layman as to why we can hear the first note or two, or a chord  of a tune and the brain recognizes it immediately even if its 20 years since we heard that tune. 

So, even if you fix this annoying buzz, your brain will target/bracket even the faintest residual of this buzz and give it to you on a plate.   You have trained your brain to hear this and you will have it for life.  Better you ask someone who has not been listening for a year to make a judgement as to whether the repaired instrument is within limits.   

This also accounts for that problem of a customer who can hear things that you can't even after you have fixed the problem.

These are things that are not commonly understood, but they are things nevertheless.

Regards, Rusty. 

Thank you Rusty., That was interesting reading. And I do agree with you both of your thoughts. Hopefully I can have a local luthier look at it next week.


P.S. This instrument is very "Alive" in that it really resonates and vibrates to the point that you can really feel it. (I like that). But I noticed/observed/was surprised at how much vibration there was when playing E on 4th string; especially in the area of the nut and headstock.....


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