Buzzing D-string on acoustic

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by ed84246, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    I am grateful to Tom Anderson for showing me how to properly tweak a truss rod a few years ago and it set me off on my amateur dabblings in setting up my own guitars.

    Recently, with no money available, I purchased a Fender acoustic for $200 at guitar center to have something to play. The tone was a bit thin and the action high so I set about doing what I could. The plastic bridge pin snapped on the low E and GC manager was gracious enough to give me a new set of Ebony pins for free for my troubles. The new pins, a new set of Martin SP 80/20 strings, a truss rod tweak and my first attempt at shaving down a bridge came off pretty well. I was amazed at how much the ebony pins brought some bass and warmth into the tone and the action is amazingly fast now.

    But I think I went a little too far on the bridge shaving as my D string buzzes now, most prominently when fretting the 4th to 8th fret region. I checked the relief and found I overcompensated too much and so loosen the truss rod again. But the buzz is still there.

    I think I have some more play in the relief, but not much. But should it come down to it, my next step I suppose would be to attempt a shim.

    What material is best used for a shim and can anyone tell me the best method for shimming properly so that the saddle still sits evenly in the slot? I understand if it's not even, I could lose tone and that I might lose some anyway just by nature of using any kind of shim as I'll have less direct contact between saddle and the base of the slot.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated -thanks.

    And just a suggestion to those who are scared off by the idea of working on their own instruments - though I would hardly say my skills are up to snuff to a professional luthier/repair tech, it's not as difficult as you might think and it's fun too.
     
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

    Messages:
    1,875
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    If the string sounds clear when played open and you have a normal amount of relief in the neck it could be saddle not following the radius of the finger board ( D AND G string too low ), saddle not rounded well enough on top, or maybe a bad string. It may be just too low of an action, you did say the action is amazingly fast, especially if the fingerboard is kicked up at the body end.
     
  3. parkerguy

    parkerguy Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    it does sound like the action may be to low.. as far as shimming it all depends on how much you want to shim.. i use cardboard about the thickness of baseball cards, aslo heavy stock paper if i don't need to shim much..
     
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,741
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    This might also be the time to treat yourself to a new saddle made of bone or tusq. The sound of bone (or more accurately, the sound transfer of bone) is generally regarded as superior to the typical plastic saddles found in less expensive instruments. It's a very small financial investment, but having a properly cut bone saddle (and nut) really unlocks the potential of acoustic instruments.
     
  5. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    How much on average would it cost for a new Tusq or Bone saddle, and what would be the acoustic properties of one versus the other?
     

Share This Page