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What's an acceptable amount of buzz on the low E string?

t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
Just got my Nomade back from the shop and it's playing great. However, the lower strings, especially the low E, have a good deal of buzz especially when fretting open to about the 9th fret with the most buzz being the 5th fret A. I understand that it is the nature of gypsy guitars to have some buzz with hard picking. Is there a standard for the amount of sustain a buzz should have? The action is set at 3.2.


  • NejcNejc Slovenia✭✭ Altamira M01
    edited June 2015 Posts: 98
    Well its kind of hard to tell you in words how much buzz you "need"... just try slowly setting the neck and see what kind of results you get. Or just listen to some players and then decide how much buzz you want. again its a matter of personal taste. there are some people who try to avoid the buzz on their guitars, and there are other who use it for "spicing" up the sound.
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 119
    I guess what I really meant was what's a "normal" amount of buzz. If I fingerpick it, there is no buzz. But, when I rest stroke pick or strum with a pick the buzz is sustained for at least a second. Do I need to change my technique?
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    you said...
    Just got my Nomade back from the shop
    What did you have done?
    Did it buzz before, what is the action at the 12th fret, any relief in the neck?
    I'm not sure with a bolt on neck how to adjust if necessary, hopefully someone more knowledgeable will set you straight.

    If it was better before you took it in I'd be talking with your repair Luither.
  • Posts: 4,181
    Acceptable amount is the one that doesn't drive you nuts. But these guitars can be set up buzz free, with low action even while picking with a rest stroke.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 119
    Thanks, Buco. That answers my question.
  • AppelAppel ✭✭✭
    edited June 2015 Posts: 78
    t-bird, I don't have experience with the Nomade, but you cannot do any harm by putting a shim under the bass side of the bridge - at least until you can get the guitar back to the shop. You could experiment with slips of paper until you get the right balance; loosen off the strings (maybe leave the first and second at pitch to keep the bridge more or less in place), slip one piece of paper under the bass side, tune up again, play, listen for buzz, repeat. If nothing else, it will give you a sense of how high it has to come up. Of course the best shim would be a piece of wood of similar hardness to the bridge, but not everyone has that laying around.

    You've probably seen old pictures of people playing these guitars with all kinds of things stuck under the bridge - I'm trying to remember where I saw a picture of a bridge with a pick under one side of it - likely a fine shim but probably something otherwise uselessly thin, like a Fender Medium - and we've all seen matchsticks stuffed under there.

    There is the question of relief; maybe you need a little more of a curve to the neck to suit that guitar and your style.

    There is also absolutely nothing wrong with taking your action up a little higher than 3.2 mm. Many, many guitars can be set up with actions under 3 ... I had the chance to try a couple of ALD guitars, those things had actions like electric guitars! And sounded very very good! - not really when I played them, but that's another story. I like (and, being a little clumsy, sound better with) what seems these days to be quite a high action. But who cares about me? This is about you. I am sure your guitar can be set up low if you want that. But don't be afraid of going high, either!
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    edited June 2015 Posts: 119
    I went back to the shop and was given some shims to raise the action on the bass strings. The luthier said with these guitars and light gauge strings (Argentine 11's) the buzzing is always going to be there. I added two layers of veneer shims which should mean .5mm altogether. There is less buzzing but it's definitely still there, especially when fretting the 4th, 5th,and 6th.
    I guessing with time I'll get used to it. And if I don't, the search continues!
  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    Posts: 683
    Perhaps you need to find a different luthier. Next, he will probably tell you your frets need to be leveled. I am under the impression that Argentine 10s are light and 11s medium, more or less.
    My story:
    I recently purchased a Dupont MD-100 and it came set up with 11s and played beautifully. I quickly changed to Argentine 10s and it buzzed all over the place. Rather than play with the neck relief adjustment, I installed Argentine 11s and it is playing beautifully again.
  • JehuJehu New Zealand✭✭✭
    edited June 2015 Posts: 77
    Have you measured the relief? Raising the bridge can help with upper fret buzzing, but for the lower frets adjusting the truss rod for a bit more relief is often the way to go.
  • Posts: 4,181
    I can only tell you my experience which is that my guitar had a buzz on high E string, on first 3 frets, very little but bothered me nevertheless. I don't mind some buzz on D and G strings, it's actually nice but I'm very much bothered with it on bass strings and unwound ones. So I took it to my local guy who is a perfectionist when it comes to fretwork and set up in general (Geoff Benge, does Michael Bauer's guitars and Billy Corgan...), but his fretwork is an art form.
    When he returned it me there is not a buzz to be found anywhere.
    It's about 3mm on bass side and little less on treble, probably 2.8 or so.
    It's about the neck relief and leveled frets, if you find a guy that knows how and most importantly cares to spend time to do until it's done right, it can be done.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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