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djangoby Biksy00

Fret buzz or style?

This is a serious question coming from a person with a background in the tradition of guitarists from Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Julian Lage, Kurt Rosenwinkel and beyond. That will contextualize my narrow view of guitar tone.

Am I hearing fret buzz, pick buzz, or what in the acoustic music in the Django tradition? Is it intentional, how the guitars should sound, or what? There are probably other questions about this, but I couldn't find them. I want to get a selmac style guitar, but how do I know if I have a dud with fret buzz or if that is how it is supposed to sound. Here's a case in point. When Bireli starts the melody at about 0:18 my ears are hearing buzz, as if he isn't playing close to the frets. Are my ears bad? Taste in tone bad? Please help.


  • edited January 2017 Posts: 3,707
    If you go to the guitars for sale European and listen to the sound clips of the best of GJ guitars you will hear more of this. Some are more pronounced than others.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 6
    What part of the guitar is producing it if not the frets?
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    @BalkanSoul Yes, there is a much higher tolerance for fret buzz in Gypsy jazz. You'll hear it in the original Django recordings as well as among most of the contemporary pros. There is a point at which it's too much, but most of the pros play very, very buzzy guitars but they have very good technique and know how to make it sound good.

    Probably the cleanest sound on record was Stochelo Rosenberg's early recordings like Caravan or Seresta. He played with very high action then and had very strong hands. Nowadays he seems to play with lower action and bit buzzier sound.
  • edited January 2017 Posts: 3,068
    There is a fine line between the charming character and annoying when it comes to it.
    It can definitely close to nothing though with a good and well set up instrument.
    The guitars themselves wouldn't be buzzy in the hands of say bluegrass picker, I'm kinda guessing this to make a point, but in this genre it comes with the attack of the downstroke.
    And most pros play with the lowest action they can get away with to be able to play those blazing fast runs cleanly.
    But like Michael said, listening to them play you get lost in the music.
    At least I do. When I listen to Angelo, if I paid attention to his guitar buzz it would drive me nuts but just enjoying the music he makes is a pure... well, joy.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited January 2017 Posts: 3,029
    Not a big surprise that there is some fret buzz if you want to have reasonably low action but use GJ picking technique to get max power and volume. Pick ur poison. Ridiculously difficult to play high action and zero fret buzz or low, playable action and some buzzing here and there on strongly picked notes. Very difficult to play those technical runs on a long scale acoustic with high action unless u r some kind of mutant.

    PS- amazing solo BTW!
  • Posts: 6
    Thank you all for your insight.
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    edited January 2017 Posts: 119
    The first time I took my Dupont Nomade to the luthier for a setup, I expected to pick it up buzz free and playing like butter. It didn't. It played fine but was there was definitely fret buzz. The luthier told me it was normal for these guitars. I was annoyed. Then, some people here confirmed it - to an extent, it's normal for these guitars. I learned to live with it and now I don't even notice it.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited January 2017 Posts: 3,029
    Hit any acoustic guitar hard enough and it will buzz unless the action is ridiculously high. It has more to do with strong right hand technique than type of guitar IMHO. I imagine the light gage strings contribute to it as well.
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    Bones wrote: »
    PS- amazing solo BTW!

    Yeah, and he makes it look so easy too.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,029
    Yeah don't that just chap ur hide!
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