FRETS.COM: Chasing the Mystery Buzz

I've listed the more popular items first. . .
The Big Buzz List

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


Low Action - a prime cause of buzzing

Relief - is important, to say the least

Light Strings - will buzz more easily

Loose Gear Parts - can vibrate like crazy

Low Nut
causes a buzz in open position

Uneven Frets - a classic cause of buzzing

Technique - crucial to playing without a buzz

Low Frets - make it hard to get good contact with the string

Low Saddle for that "sitar tone."

String Interference - as strings buzz against parts or each other

Loose or Broken Braces - rattle sympathetically

String Balls - can rattle under the bridge if not seated properly

Stray String Ends - vibrate against anything they touch

String Windings - can come loose

String Bent at Nut - buzzes in "open" position

String Deformed over Fret - buzzes at only one fret position, only one string

Body Cracks - rattle or resonate sympathetically

Flat Frets - cause buzzing or "fuzzy" note

Flat Saddle - causes "fuzzy" tone or buzzes

Loose Top or Back - can be subtle

Loose Parts or accessories attached to instrument

Back Buzz - a special noise from a nut that's a trifle too low

Nut Slots - can provide space for a rattle

High Action - makes fretting too difficult

Truss Rod - can rattle inside the neck

Truss Rod Cover - will rattle or buzz if loose

Loose Plies - on a laminated instrument

Deeply Notched Saddle - can be home to small buzzes

Pickguard - an unlikely source of buzz, but it can happen

Loose Bridge - an extremely unlikely cause of buzzing

Dull Sound:

String Windings - can come loose

Loose Fret - a real tone killer

Saddle Material - can really damp tone

Flat Frets - cause buzzing or "fuzzy" note

Low Saddle - for that "sitar tone."

Nut Slots - crud in there will dampen tone

Loose Tuner - poor string anchorage results in loss of tone

Deeply Notched Saddle - can be home to small buzzes

Fuzzy String Winding - can "insulate" string from saddle

Don't forget that wound strings get old and sound dead. . .

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