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Low E buzz from ernie balls???

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by GLee94, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. GLee94

    GLee94 Tele-Meister

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    I recently changed strings on my tele from dunlops to ernie ball regular slinky (same gauge, different brand) and I am now facing a mysterious buzz I cannot track down anywhere. it come when I fret the low e from fret 5-8 or so. pretty much kills any and all inspiration. i checked the action, relief, stretched them again. repeated and even changed the low e string to make sure it wasn’t a dud...it’s still there. it’s driving me a bit mad to be honest so i stepped away to get suggestions on what to do next. i may grab another pack of dunlops to see if it may just be the EBs on this particular tele that make it act up? advice/ insight would be appreciated
     
  2. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I had not used EB for a while until recently and I had a similar issue, I just did not care for them. I found the wrap very coarse and the slight difference may be enough. The simple answer would be to go back to the Dunlops.
     
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  3. jdiego

    jdiego Tele-Meister

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    I find Ernie Ball regular slinky easier to bend than GHS and Curt Mangan (.010").
    Maybe they work at a different string tension?

    Before losing your mind I think you should slaughter a brand new Dunlop string and check again, in the name of science.... the cost is low considering it will pay off for the rest of your guitar's life
     
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  4. Akone

    Akone TDPRI Member

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    Plus 1 on going back to the original strings but I would also check the frets with a fret rocker to check for a high spot. The slinky might have a slightly bigger elipse than the others. Also the EB's may have less string tension when tuned to pitch so the neck is not pulling up as much which would change your relief. And humidity is changing which can affect the neck. So:

    1. Check the relief. You may need to tweak the truss rod.
    2. If that doesn't fix it check with the fret rocker.
    3. If there is still buzzing then go back to the Dunlops.
     
  5. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I second @Akone's advice above, considering that Ernie Balls probably exhibit a slightly lower tension than Dunlops, which will effect your neck relief. Adjust that first.

    I've always liked the tone of Ernie Ball strings and so I've used them for many years. However, I've always puzzled over why EB (and others who follow suit...) have such a low-tension E string in the first place. I mean seriously, look at tension charts and you'll see the low E tension is two pounds less than the A string, when it should be somewhat higher; it's practically flopping around (well, not really, but...).

    To see what I mean, go here:
    https://nabulator.nabusound.com/#/E2,A2,D3,G3,B3,E4,,/46,36,26,17p,13p,10p,,/25.5
    Change the low E to 48 or 50 and watch what happens.
    If you still want to try life with Ernie Balls, then go to your local music store that sells single EBs and pick up one of each and see if either of those works better.
     
  6. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Because it is tuned lower :)
    All wound E strings have lower tension than A wound strings.

    D Addario 10s have the same low E tension with EBs

    http://www.evansdrums.cn/publish/DA...2371&sid=05e13bf4-dc91-4b9b-bd93-ced5921675c2

    I highly doubt there's an inherent buzzing problem with ANY decent string brand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  7. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    Umm... Okay, then why is the A string higher tension than the D string? It's tuned lower also... o_O

    Unless they are a larger gauge than the standard...

    Saying that all low E strings are "just that way" doesn't justify anything. It may be a reasonable default that most people get along with just fine and never even think about it, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Personally, I have found over the years that if I use a larger gauge than the one that comes in the package, my low E retains brightness for longer and isn't as "floppy".

    And yet, OP has found just such a thing, but I do believe it is simply related to string tension rather than some kind of fault with the strings. Ernie Balls are called "Slinkys" for a reason; they are slightly lower tension than strings from other manufacturers tuned to the same note. That doesn't make them any better or worse, just different, and the remedy (IMHO) is to either set the guitar up to play properly with lower tension strings, or try a fatter E string for higher tension, which means less "swing", and therefore, less buzz.

    TLDR;
    As always, I could be completely wrong on this, but in my personal experience a bigger gauge low E string works better than the standard.
     
  8. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Getting into string tension, the "26-36-46" for the wound strings in a set of 10's that the powers that be settled on however many years ago always produces D and A strings at higher tension than E. Same for any set in which the wound strings increase in diameter by increments of 10 thousandths, at least in my experience.

    The simple solution is to find a balanced tension set from one of the manufacturers and run with it.

    First step in tracking down the problem here would be to check neck relief. As others have said, there is a good chance that the EB set has lower overall tension than the Dunlops you were playing and your neck now needs relief added back in to the equation.

    It's about that time for the seasonal neck adjustments anyway...
     
  9. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    If it's ok at the 9th fret, your 8th fret may be high. Check it with a short straight edge, one that only spans three frets like a credit card. If it rocks back and forth over a fret, it's high. Easy fix.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  10. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    So it doesn't buzz on frets lower than 5-8 ? And only on the low E ? What is your measured relief and action ? Have you tested for a high/low fret around/above the buzz location ?

    Neither EB nor Dunlop publish their tensions (unlike D'Addario and several others), so arguments of different neck forces from same-gauge 10-46 sets are pure speculation (unless you've measured their relative tensions). There is no real scope for tension variation for the plain strings of the same gauge (tension is entirely determined by scale length, tuning, and mass per unit length), but tension of wound strings may vary at the same gauge if they have different core to wind diameter ratios, as only the core bears tension. But again, neither EB nor Dunlop tell us their ratios, or tensions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  11. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is pure poppycock. Different sets of the same gauge from different makers exhibit different tension on the plain strings too, because some bend easier than others. Just because they're all steel doesn't necessarily mean they're all the same exact formulation, or I wouldn't experience the fact that some 9s bend easier than some others.
     
  12. GLee94

    GLee94 Tele-Meister

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    hey guys, thanks for the input. after further investigation i’m chalking it up to the lower tension of the ernie balls. i think there is a slight high fret and the lower tension emphasizes. i restrung with dunlop’s and after i broke them in the buzz is present but very faint (to where it honestly doesn’t bother me) then when i string with EBs (same gauge) it’s wacky how much more prominent the buzz is. still love EBs though. they sound great on my PRS
     
  13. 2manyteles

    2manyteles TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I just set up a guitar with EB strings and the D buzzed like crazy and wouldn't intonate. Bad string. It happens.
    I put on a D from another set and was fine.
    Manufacturing defects do occur occasionally.
     
  14. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Not in mine.
    I swear by 010-038 sets,most balanced and best feeling set ever and no buzzing at all.
    There's a reason why it was the standard set during the late 60s and the 70s... EVERYONE used it (from Hendrix and Duane Alman to Rory Gallagher and Mike Stern).
    Set up your guitar RIGHT and there will be no "buzzing" issues anyhow.
    Again there's no inherent buzzing with any string brand ,a bad batch of strings yes it might happen,but one of the best selling brand of strings ever having "inherent" buzzing problems?No way Jose.It surely has to do something with the guitar not the strings.
    I like roundcore strings myself so I use GHS but I have set up hundreds of guitars with Ernie Balls and never had such a problem.

    Edit just saw this:

    Just as I thought :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  15. GLee94

    GLee94 Tele-Meister

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    yeah for me the buzz is there but before i put the slinky’s on it wasn’t as noticeable. i find the dunlop’s to be a little more taught on the wound side..good advice regardless! once the shrill of the new strings wears down it’s not quite bad enough for me to take further action.



     
  16. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    All indications suggest otherwise.

    Why would "balanced tension" string sets all use slightly different gauges than standard sets to achieve their more consistent tensions ? It would be much better to just adjust the 'recipe' if it were possible to vary plain string tension without changing gauge.
    https://www.daddario.com/products/g...ar-strings-3-mediumblues-jazz-rock-11-49-182/
    https://www.daddario.com/products/g...ar-strings-balanced-tension-medium-11-50-625/

    Why does no string manufacturer claim their strings are "lower tension (or stiffness) at the same gauge" ? That would be a huge marketing advantage if it were possible.

    The string law has been known since Mersenne in the 1600s - that string tension is all down to scale length, tuning, and mass per unit length (the latter proportional to gauge squared).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mersenne's_laws

    The bending you refer to is influenced by more than tension - 'bend feel' is due to string stiffness (force required per unit length change), which is affected by residual string length, guitar geometry, and setup. All of those can vary the playing stiffness while tension remains exactly the same.
    https://www.liutaiomottola.co/myth/perception.htm

    There is evidence that strings can change some of their mechanical and sonic properties in the first hour of use. So it's possible to perceive differences when changing strings that are due to that, unless tightly controlled.
    https://www.gitec-forum-eng.de/2019...of-physics-of-the-electric-guitar-is-on-line/

    So unless all those setup, geometry, age factors are controlled, let alone the subjectivity of 'bend feel' without an actual stiffness measurement, it's hard to accept in the face of all other indications to the contrary that two regular plain strings of the same gauge from different reputable mainstream string manufacturers are really different.

    Happy to listen to any string manufacturers or others wanting to chime in with some solid evidence to the contrary. Anyone can measure two regular plain strings from different manufacturers of the same gauge/length/tuning that they believe to differ in tension (not more exotic alloys*). It's easy to do ...
    http://www.noyceguitars.com/Technotes/Articles/T3.html

    *although having said that, the plain strings of even say NYXLs have identical tensions to the same-gauge regular, non-exotic sets ...
    https://www.daddario.com/products/g...l-wound-electric-guitar-strings-medium-11-49/
    https://www.daddario.com/products/g...ar-strings-3-mediumblues-jazz-rock-11-49-182/

    All manufacturers likely use wire meeting the same ASTM A228 'music wire' standard for their regular plain strings, which has mechanical properties defined by that standard.
    http://www.matweb.com/search/datasheettext.aspx?matguid=4bcaab41d4eb43b3824d9de31c2c6849

    Stringjoy:
    "We get our core wire ... here in Tennessee ... they make core wire for a lot of companies around the world."
    youtu.be/V21Zt978Kac?t=422
    (later he confirms that core wire and plain string wire are the same)

    The fact that most string manufacturers fail to even publish their string tensions suggests they prefer 'smoke and mirrors' marketing instead of real science.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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