FRETS.COM: Chasing the Mystery Buzz

They can make a racket!
Loose Gear Parts

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

Here is the most common cause of rattles from the peghead.

It only makes sense that with so many little parts screwed together that some of them might be a bit loose and prone to rattling.

Number one on the hit parade is the loose washer:

After a guitar has been around for a little while, the retaining nuts on top may have compressed the wood just a little so that they become a bit loose. I find that relatively young instruments are more likely to have loose washers than are older ones. I suppose the wood goes through an initial compression when they're first installed.

Either way, the repair couldn't be easier:

I think it's a good idea to check the tightness of these nuts when restringing a guitar for a customer, because I never know how long it's been since anyone thought of doing that.

Especially Grover Rotomatics, but others as well may have their buttons working loose with time. These tiny washers between the button and the tuner housing can also rattle:

Another easy fix.

Classical guitars often have plastic buttons that are pressed or glued on the shafts. Those decorative spacers can be a little loose, and hoboy, can they rattle:

It's amazing how loud these little critters can get!

A quick fix is a tiny drop of thin viscosity cyanoacrylate:

It wicks in under the bushing and quiets things right down.

Old gears may have celluloid buttons pressed onto their shafts, too. These may be very slightly loose, and can give a subtle buzzing accompaniment to your music. They, too, respond well to a tiny drink of cyanoacrylate:

Using a toothpick to dispense the superglue will keep the mess to a minimum

The little grommets around open tuner posts may work loose:

Although they seldom rattle until they're REALLY loose, it's not too big a deal to
fix them.

All in all, tuning gears give you lots of opportunities to find loose and buzzing parts!

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