You are here

Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri May 10, 2019 3:29 am

zenguitar wrote:OK, this is a long shot, but the symptoms are reminiscent of a problem that would sometimes appear in early shallow drilled Strat trem blocks.

In the Strat, the length of string inside the trem block could vibrate in sympathy and on occasion would buzz against the sides of the hole. That's why Leo revised the design to drill the trem block so that the ball ends were deeper inside.

Looking at your photos, I see that the tailpiece has a deep section between the front edge and the string retainer. And that leaves a row of 6 deep drilled holes. Looking at the photo taken from the endpin you can see that the ball ends are all in a straight line. It's harder to tell from the other photos, but it appears that the strings exit the tailpiece in a straight line as well. However, the top of the bridge and saddle isn't flat, it has a radius. That means that each string is coming out of the tailpiece at a slightly different angle, and that might be enough to bring one or more of the strings close enough to buzz against the sides of the holes through the tailpiece.

The best way to check is to get 3 wooden cocktail sticks or toothpicks. Cut them in half so you have 6 short sticks with pointed ends. Then push one in each of the exit holes from the tailpiece so you wedge the string against the hole.

If that does fix the buzz, the fix is to remove the tailpiece and re-drill the holes with a slightly larger drill bit.

As I say, it's a long shot. But it is a known cause of hard to trace buzzing.

Andy :beamup:

I tried this. Toothpicks jammed in there. No effect.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri May 10, 2019 3:51 am

John Egan wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:
John Egan wrote:You said that a luthier had made and fitted a new nut for you, so I would turn my attention to the bridge itself. Is there anything unusual about it. When removed does it rattle or is it cracked. Are the adjusters secure.

Well, the bridge is glued to the guitar! I can't get it off. Could that be an issue?

I can't see why it should cause a problem, although I expected the bridge would be a floating one. Anyway, does the top of the bridge look look OK - nothing loose or rattly, as far as you can see ? And the height adjusters ?
Regards, John

OK, some progress.

I got the bridge off. Just some thin white double sticky tape under there.

Nothing vibrating on the bridge. I can move the bridge around now too. No change.


I am now down to just the B string on the guitar. I have the bridge up high to eliminate any possibility of fret buzz. I have toothpick stuck in the hole where the B string goes into the tail per Zen.

When I fret the 12th fret (octave B) and release the way I would like to play I get a buzz UNLESS I fret the note just behind the fret, basically ON the fret. As I move back in the fret in a matter of just a fraction of a centimeter the release turns into a loud body resonant buzz.

I can stick my ear near the F holes and the buzz is very loud INSIDE of the guitar like a resonance.

I see there is a post (like on a violin) in there too. It is right under where the bridge sits and connects the front sound board to the back of the guitar.

My sense is that as the string lifts from the fret there is a moment when I can FEEL the string vibrate and buzz as it makes this sound. The guitar resonates with it. Zingy!

When playing, any time I slide from one fret DOWN to the next I pass through that buzz sound as the same thing happens, namely releasing the string from a fret as my finger is at the rear of the fret. I am not releasing from the string but as I cross down to the lower fret I get the momentary buzz.

BUT sliding up a fret it does not do buzz because you never release at the rear of the fret.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby zenguitar » Fri May 10, 2019 4:54 am

I did say it was a long shot. But at least you've eliminated it as a possibility.

Have just had a listen to your recording. That section at the beginning where you are testing individual notes makes the buzz very clear. As you release slowly it's almost as if your fingertip then acts as the fret and the string is buzzing against the top of the real fret.

Do you have really hard callouses on your fretting hand?

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 9301
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri May 10, 2019 5:10 am

zenguitar wrote:I did say it was a long shot. But at least you've eliminated it as a possibility.

Have just had a listen to your recording. That section at the beginning where you are testing individual notes makes the buzz very clear. As you release slowly it's almost as if your fingertip then acts as the fret and the string is buzzing against the top of the real fret.

Do you have really hard callouses on your fretting hand?

Andy :beamup:

Not at all. I use a soft touch and learned that long ago.

The zingy sound is generated as the string is 'leaving' the fret. Whatever the difference is between being right behind the fret vs being in the middle, in how the string comes off the fret is what makes the difference. That same effect happens on other guitars too, but with this one, that buzz on release wakes up a resonance that vibrates inside the guitar.

This reads through to the amp too.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby zenguitar » Fri May 10, 2019 5:57 am

It is looking like the resonance is emphasising what would normally be a subtle buzz as you lift off the fret. It could be that it is an inherent quality of the guitar due to the materials used and construction.

That sound post really is very unusual. I've just double checked Robert Benedetto's book and there are no references whatsoever to a sound post in any of his guitars or the many he repaired/restored from other great makers. And I've never seen one on a guitar myself.

I can't think of any other possible things to check :(

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 9301
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby John Egan » Fri May 10, 2019 8:39 am

zenguitar wrote:It is looking like the resonance is emphasising what would normally be a subtle buzz as you lift off the fret. It could be that it is an inherent quality of the guitar due to the materials used and construction.

That sound post really is very unusual. I've just double checked Robert Benedetto's book and there are no references whatsoever to a sound post in any of his guitars or the many he repaired/restored from other great makers. And I've never seen one on a guitar myself.

I can't think of any other possible things to check :(

Andy :beamup:


Some old Gretsches certainly had sound posts and I believe the current Electromatic range does as well. I think that the trestle bracing used on the old top end models was developed from sound posts to reduce feedback. Gretsch were going part way to the solid centre block that Chet Atkins wanted.
I've never heard of a sound post causing this problem though.
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 337
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby John Egan » Fri May 10, 2019 9:00 am

DC,
Have you tried raising the action slightly to see if that makes any difference to the buzzing ? The change in string to fret angle might just have an effect.
The sound is a bit like the dreaded piezo "quack".
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 337
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 10, 2019 3:20 pm

Can you use a strap or something (the finger of a willing volunteer?) to apply downward pressure on the string behind the bridge to see if changing the break angle will make a difference?
If only for the purpose of elimination...
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8516
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat May 11, 2019 7:03 pm

John Egan wrote:DC,
Have you tried raising the action slightly to see if that makes any difference to the buzzing ? The change in string to fret angle might just have an effect.
The sound is a bit like the dreaded piezo "quack".
Regards, John

I have tried that No effect.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat May 11, 2019 7:05 pm

blinddrew wrote:Can you use a strap or something (the finger of a willing volunteer?) to apply downward pressure on the string behind the bridge to see if changing the break angle will make a difference?
If only for the purpose of elimination...

We tried that. No effect - The note goes a bit sharp, but no change to the zingy sound as the finger leaves the fretboard.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat May 11, 2019 7:10 pm

zenguitar wrote:It is looking like the resonance is emphasising what would normally be a subtle buzz as you lift off the fret. It could be that it is an inherent quality of the guitar due to the materials used and construction.

Ok, so how do I tame that?
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby zenguitar » Sat May 11, 2019 8:56 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:
zenguitar wrote:It is looking like the resonance is emphasising what would normally be a subtle buzz as you lift off the fret. It could be that it is an inherent quality of the guitar due to the materials used and construction.

Ok, so how do I tame that?

That's the problem, the guitar is just being what it is, which is the sum total of it's parts and construction. It's not a single thing that has cause and effect. You can't unmake it and put it back together without the resonance.

The things you can consider are things that you can change. Like trying different types/makes/guages of string. You might want to see if you can work out a fretting technique that minimises the buzz. You could try a combination of the two.

Alternatively you could decide to live with it, or you could shop around and find a new guitar and fund it by selling this one.

It all comes down to how much time, effort, and expense you are prepared to go to in your efforts. But with no guarantees you will find a suitable compromise.

Sorry I can't offer anything beyond pragmatic advice.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 9301
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 12, 2019 12:55 pm

Some success.

Tried different strings, but no change in the zingies.

But while swapping strings, I accidentally moved the floating bridge to a weird place and the zingies all but ceased.

The weird place is back towards the tail about 1" but tilted 30 degrees so that the low string end is closer to the tail than the high notes.

I only have the B string on. Have not tried the full set yet.

In this position, the guitar sounds different. Sort of more hollow, and a bit like a banjo. But there are no more zingies when removing a finger. It responds like other guitars when muting with the fret finger.

So it is definitely the way the bridge couples vibrations into the body that is changing and making the zingies change.

This is the first thing that has actually made a change!

The 30 deg tilt is the key. Straight across at any position still gives zingies. Tilting it helps in any position. But has the most benefit when the bridge is back towards the tail and tilted. That puts it behind the sound post.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 12, 2019 1:29 pm

But that will bugger the intonation :frown: how about moving (or even removing) the soundpost? They are usually only wedged in place.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10581
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 12, 2019 2:13 pm

View from the inside.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tUK66 ... cdqlX2FTfF

It looks like it is glued in there.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 12, 2019 5:48 pm

Yup, sadly I think you're right. Not really surprising given that archtops don't usually have them anyway :frown: Looks like the thinking is as JohnE suggested and based on the precursors of the solid centre block.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10581
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 12, 2019 6:22 pm

John Egan wrote:DC,
Have you tried raising the action slightly to see if that makes any difference to the buzzing ? The change in string to fret angle might just have an effect.
The sound is a bit like the dreaded piezo "quack".
Regards, John

Changes in action have no effect, even extreme changes that I have tried.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 12, 2019 6:40 pm

I am trading emails with some other folks who have sawed the sound post off of their Peerless Monarch for an improvement in tone. But nobody mentions the zingies. Just that after post removal, it is louder acoustically and has a fuller hollow body tone.

If I was sure that removing the post would eliminate the zingies I would be more willing to take a saw to it.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1241
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby John Egan » Mon May 13, 2019 9:43 am

DC-Choppah wrote:View from the inside.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tUK66 ... cdqlX2FTfF

It looks like it is glued in there.

Are you sure it's glued in ? They usually aren't. As I understand it, the main function of a sound post is to limit the movement of the top and back to decrease the likelihood of feedback. Moving it even slightly can change the tone of a guitar somewhat. Removing it should make the guitar louder in most cases (though apparently not all). Removing it may also decrease treble (tough, again, not in all cases). Even changing the shape of the post can change the sound. If you could move it, you may be able to experiment to find a more satisfactory position.
Regards, John Egan
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 337
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Help taming brightness/buzz of archtop guitar when releasing finger

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 13, 2019 10:00 am

Removing it will definitely increase volume, I modded a cheap acoustic for use in a rock band with two 'sound posts' wedged between the top and back under the bridge, made a huge difference and with a sound hole bung was pretty feedback resistant. Easily reversible too when I sold it later.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10581
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users