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Old November 25th, 2013, 05:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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String buzzing

My top E string is buzzing. It sounds a bit like a sitar, and if I fret each note, it doesnít vary a huge amount Ė they all make the same sort of noise. The other strings are fine. When playing through an amp itís quite a ringing noise, and if I twang the bass strings in an open E chord the top E seems to resonate and starts ringing even though my fingers are nowhere near it.

Itís a nice quality guitar which was well set up when I got it, and itís got a hefty maple neck, but I havenít played it much before Ė still on the original strings. Itís not been subject to any variation in temperature. I suppose itís just needing a minor tweak, but Iím not sure if the saddle needs to be raised slightly (itís got titanium compensated saddles), or if it might need a truss rod tweak.

I probably wonít attempt anything myself Ė Iíve never been able to work out how to fix guitars, but from past experience thereís no-one local to me Iíd trust. Iíll probably have to book up to take it somewhere Ďreputableí but itíd be good to know what it might be needed before I arrange anything.

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Old November 25th, 2013, 05:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, it sounds like the high E saddle has to be raised. This really is a user adjustment. You should not have to go to a tech to raise a saddle.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jbmando View Post
Yes, it sounds like the high E saddle has to be raised. This really is a user adjustment. You should not have to go to a tech to raise a saddle.
I had a Tele that had the same issue. Thought it was the nut for the longest time. It ended up in the saddle. You can fix it.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 05:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. If it's just the saddle height then I might have a go at this myself.

Will raising it very slightly mean the intonation will go out?

Also, what effect will it have on the B string (with the compensated saddle)?
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Old November 25th, 2013, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No, intonation should not be affected by raising the saddle a little. If the B string gets too high, lower the B side of the saddle If you look at the saddles from the strap button end, they should follow the radius of the fretboard. I'm guessing your E/B saddle is too low on the E side.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 06:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd also suggest looking at how the string sits in the nut especially since it's the high E. That sitar like buzz you describe may sound like it's coming from the saddle but often the problem is in the nut because the string has cut into it too deeply and it's sitting too low.

One approach to fixing the problem without replacing the nut (probably the only permanent solution) is to put a very small piece of paper or cloth in the string slot so it raises the string off the bottom of the nut very slightly. If the buzz goes away that where your problem is coming from.

One of my Teles has that problem with the G and D strings depending on the strings I was using at the time. A small bit of paper in the slot took care of it until I could recut a nut.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd also suggest looking at how the string sits in the nut especially since it's the high E. That sitar like buzz you describe may sound like it's coming from the saddle but often the problem is in the nut because the string has cut into it too deeply and it's sitting too low. One approach to fixing the problem without replacing the nut (probably the only permanent solution) is to put a very small piece of paper or cloth in the string slot so it raises the string off the bottom of the nut very slightly. If the buzz goes away that where your problem is coming from. One of my Teles has that problem with the G and D strings depending on the strings I was using at the time. A small bit of paper in the slot took care of it until I could recut a nut.
If it's a bone nut you can mix some bone dust with some super glue to make a paste and refill the slot. I saw a video on YouTube of Dan Erlewine doing just that. Although it might have been a different material but I seem to remember it being bone. It's a cheap quick fix compared to a new nut
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Old November 25th, 2013, 08:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If it's a bone nut you can mix some bone dust with some super glue to make a paste and refill the slot. I saw a video on YouTube of Dan Erlewine doing just that. Although it might have been a different material but I seem to remember it being bone. It's a cheap quick fix compared to a new nut
Hadn't thought of that fix Chris. Good idea if he has some files to cut a new slot with.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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So it turns out I wasn't quite correct.

Here's the link to the video

Worth a watch for everyone

http://youtu.be/slCMkvEfK_U
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Old November 26th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In which direction should I turn the height adjustment screw in order to raise the saddle? Also, do I need to slacken the string before making the adjustment?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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If it doesnīt go away by raising the saddle check if the string isnīt touching the screw on the saddle. Thatīs common if you have a vintage bride, in that case you could file a groove in the bridge to keep the string from sliding onto the bridge screw
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Old November 26th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
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In which direction should I turn the height adjustment screw in order to raise the saddle? Also, do I need to slacken the string before making the adjustment?
Slacken the E and B strings. Turn the screw clockwise. Retune the whole guitar and see if it has made a difference. Keep a note on how many turns you have made, that way you can return the saddle to the previous height if it does not work.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 04:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks very much. I did that. The threads are relatively coarse, so I could see the saddle moving even with 1/4 turn. I raised it by 1/4 turn, checked it, then raised it a further 1/4 turn (1/2 turn in total). It seems much better now. I've played it for a while, and I'm now hearing a very slight ringing on the B string, so tomorrow night I might raise that a fraction.
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