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String buzz trouble shooting

skiski Boston, USANew
Hi All,

I just replaced the bridge on my Dell Arte Homage acoustic (thanks Josh!). The action was too low and I was getting a lot of string buzzing and rattling with the original bridge so I replaced it with one that raised the action. The guitar sounds and plays better now but there is still some string buzz on the low A and E strings, although not nearly as much as before.

Can anyone tell me the various potential sources of string buzz on these guitars so I can check and attempt to repair, if necessary, all the usual suspects?

I also loosened the truss rod less than a quarter turn because the neck was perfectly straight - no relief. I think the next thing I'll try is loosening it a bit more because it still looks pretty straight more than 24 hours since the last adjustment.

Thanks in advance for your input ~ ski


  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    If it's just a little, you might just want to try lighter strings... should raise a little your action.
    - JG
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Get another bridge.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    How high's your action now?
  • skiski Boston, USANew
    Posts: 86
    I already got a replacement bridge. The action is now about 3.2mm at the 12th fret for the low E and roughly 2mm, maybe a little more, for the high E.

    I'm going to loosen the truss rod a little more tonight and see where that gets me. Aside from this slight buzzing issue I'm very happy with the guitar - I hope I can get it all sorted out.
  • I own a Hommage. I had some buzz on my high E string and it was caused by the 1st or 2nd fret not being leveled perfectly. I fixed it easily. In my 6 years of playing I have not had buzz coming from my bridge... your diagnoses must be wrong... Some people (on some guitars) claim their tailpiece buzzes, but any tailpiece with leather under it, such as the Hommages have, wont have this issue. There is just no chance and such claims are ridiculous in my eyes...

    I would guess that you have a fret issue so tell me which one of your frets causes the buzzing? (what I am telling you is assuming that the action and/or neck angle is high enough to naturally clear the frets without buzzing on any particular one of them. naturally the height of the bridge matters but assuming Josh knew what he was doing then the only thing you overlooked was "fret levelling")
    Jon Austen, Portland, OR
    playing since 1997
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Yes I agree, it is not likely that your bridge is the problem and you're action seems to be OK.
    I sugest writing to Josh and asking him to help you diagnose the buzz.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    "get a new bridge" ... gee thanks elliot...

    Have you ever had your frets leveled? If not more then likely you have some high frets giving you that buzz. A fret can be ever to slightly high and give you a buzz and a level will take care of that.

    98% of the time that is where your buzzing will come from.... but just to make sure listen as you play and make sure that the buzz is not coming from inside the box. If it is there are other things that need to be taken care of.

  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Well, at least I didn't say 'get another luthier'.

    I don't doubt your ability, but although I will grant that you fixed one leg, he still doesn't seem to be walking correctly. What good is that? I guess I would prefer a more diagnostic approach aimed towards getting everything right, and a phone call if it involved more than just the bridge.

    That way everybody is happy. :)
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    i think the strings need to have a bouncy , loose feel to get a good range of sounds. maybe low action will do it, maybe tuning the guitar down will do it (django did this..), or maybe certain guitars are just so open that the strings feel springy..

    you have to be able to squash the string to bring out the fundamental tone. i've played guitars that seem to have fret buzz from the players perspective, but they sound great from the listener's POV.

    i've also read an expose on django in which the writer got to try his guitar. apparently The action was very low and easy to play. and, in almost all the images of django playing, he picks very close to the bridge. he wouldn't have been able to do this and a get a wide variety of tones if there had been too much tension.

    so, maybe a fret leveling will work. but, i'd rather have a little fret buzz than a super high bridge with a lot of string tension.
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
  • skiski Boston, USANew
    Posts: 86
    Thanks everyone!

    Like I said, the new bridge from Josh has already vastly improved upon what I was previosuly experiencing. For all I know, what I'm hearing may even be par for the course for GJ guitars. That being said, I'll take a look at the possibilty of fret leveling.

    The neck also still seems really straight even after almost a 180 degree turn counter-clockwise to loosen the truss rod. Should I try loosening it even more or do I risk damaging the neck if I do?

    Lastly, could the string notches that I filed in the bridge be a potential source of buzzing? I left the notches pretty shallow for fear of creating irreversable damage.
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