FRETS.COM: Chasing the Mystery Buzz

Mechanical buzzing
Loose or Broken Braces

© Frank Ford, 11/1/98; Photos by FF, October 1998

Any loose parts of an instrument can vibrate and cause the kind of buzzing that is frequently difficult to diagnose because it's intermittent Loose structural parts, especially those near the bridge area, have structural as well as nuisance "value."

Here's a small loose brace right under the pickguard of a Martin 0-18:

It's not unlikely that at certain times, this brace will vibrate against the top and cause a buzzing sound to accompany the player.

Whatever the cause of brace looseness or cracking, the brace should be repaired. In this case a simple clamping and regluing will do the job nicely. Even if it isn't causing a buzz, a loose brace should be reglued for structural reasons.

Loose braces often buzz only under certain circumstances of player and instrument position For example, because this loose brace is right under the pickguard, it might not make a noise if the player anchors a finger over it while playing. When attempting to diagnose an intermittent buzz, it is sometimes important to get the player to make it buzz, because there might be something about the playing position that isn't duplicated at the bench.

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