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 Sam Spoons » Thu May 09, 2019 2:58 pm

Well, it's very unusual (I've never encountered it) but shouldn't be causing the issue you have......
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11582
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 John Egan » Thu May 09, 2019 3:04 pm

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
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 365
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

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

Postby zenguitar » Thu May 09, 2019 3:26 pm

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:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 9533
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 Sam Spoons » Thu May 09, 2019 3:34 pm

Just a thought WRT the glued on bridge, it may just be double sided tape holding it there? Fairly easy to remove if it is and you ever need to adjust the intonation (like when you put the 12s on it.....)
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11582
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 John Egan » Thu May 09, 2019 6:36 pm

Thanks for that tip. Andy. It's one I haven't heard of, and certainly worth tucking away for future reference. I hope it sorts out the problem for the OP.
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 365
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

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: 1335
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: 1335
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: 9533
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: 1335
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: 9533
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: 365
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: 365
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: 9542
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: 1335
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: 1335
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

PreviousNext