D Tonic Diminished Voicing Buzzes Sympathetically!!!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by SteveStevens, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    I don't know if it's the humidity, my action, or what, but when I play this:

    D F Ab C# (voiced from the low E string up)

    ...my low E string buzzes behind my pinky finger. I can move the grip down a fret, two frets, up two frets and no buzz. THIS HAPPENS ON ALL MY GUITARS! WTF is going on? KRosser, I'm looking in your direction! Maybe you have experience with this sort of harmonic anomaly. This is very frustrating. I have to learn some music for a rehearsal tommorrow and i'm pretty hung up on this ugly sound....

    Steve
     
  2. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    To further clarify: I tried capo-ing at the first fret and the buzzing goes away. However if I move the grip up to Eb, the buzz comes back! In terms of physics what is going on here? If I pluck the note behind the fretted note, it is in fact a tritone away (In the case of the D grip: an Ab). I guess it is vibrating i sympathy with the Ab in the chord. But what is it about that division of the string that causes this? It only occurs when fretted a minor seventh away. (ie; D on the E. Eb on the Capo F. Etc...) I would love it if someone else could try this grip and tell me I am not crazy...(it does this with a straight-up tritone at the tenth fret of the low E and the 11th fet of the A). Thanks everyone.

    Steve
     
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Me? Why me? :)

    At first i thought maybe you had an uneven fret, but if it happens on all your guitars...??? I'm playing that chord on my ASAT right now and it's crystal clear
     
  4. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    Cause you actually know what a tonic diminished chord is, Ken! :AOK

    The thing with this grip is that you have to be sure not to allow your index to mute the low E. (Though that's exactly what I am doing now to avoid the sound...) ie: if i play the grip with a big honking barre at the 6th fret then lay the pinky and ring fingers down. You'll get no buzz this way. Now, to see if I'm insane or not, make sure to grip it with just the pinky on the D, middle on the F, and index fretting only the Ab and C#. Does it buzz? Yes, on my end. This is on my ES-175 and my Stevenson Tele. The Stevenson Strat is not as dire, but it's there. If I had big enough hands to play this chord in the 1st postion, I would. Fretting that Db triad down there and then sticking the D in the bass = Carpal Tunnel...


    AGGGHHHG!

    Steve
     
  5. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    You mean this?

    1)
    2)
    3)6
    4)6
    5)8
    6)10

    I'm not getting any buzz (well, no more than usual). You could maybe play this instead:

    1)
    2)6
    3)6
    4)6
    5)5
    6)
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I'm not getting it either.
    I guess you mean this voicing:

    ---
    -2-
    -1-
    -3-
    -5-
    (0)

    or maybe this:

    ----
    -14-
    -13-
    -15-
    -17-
    (0)

    I don't get any vibration of the low E.
    But the chord does look to me like an E13b9 chord.

    Someone care to explain what a "tonic diminished" is? (A contradiction in terms, surely?)
     
  7. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    I actually need to play notes that are written on the page in that particular order and register. It is part of the voice leading for an arrangement of some music by Messaien. I can't play the voicing in first position as suggested by JonR. My hands are small and girly!
    For the record, this chord could be rationalized any number of ways. That's the joy of harmonic synonyms! The bottom three notes do form a diminished triad. Add the C# and you've stuck the leading tone in there for what jazzers like to refer to as a tonic dim. It's like a delayed resolution for either the tonic minor or major. (It's not actually used that way in the music I'm working on.)
    *It could be seen as an E13b9, you're quite right. (Though in the low register, this voicing would need to used in the right context...)
    *It could simply be named as a slash chord ie: Db/D (or Dbmajb9)
    *You could call it Bb7#9
    *etc...you could conceivably justify this or any chord against any bass note.
    Your only limits are your ears and imagination..

    Regardless of what we choose to call it, I just want to know why the #$#
    it is buzzing for me. Weird. I could accept this as a setup/fret issue if it was on just one guitar, but.....

    Steve
     
  8. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I suspect you have too much relief in your neck. The curvature is allowing the part of the string 'behind' your finger to speak. It happens.

    Bryan
     
  9. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    Ok. I'll bite on the relief and assume that the extremely humid weather of late has turned all of my guitars into buzz machines. However, I still ask the question as to why they are all now buzzing in relation to sympathetic tritones in a select register. (Consistent to all of the guitars.) This points to something about the construction of guitars and physics beyond my small brain. ie: when relief hits a certain point, all (Steve's) gutars will buzz HERE. A buddy e-mailed me this morning and said he had the same problem if he dug in to the chord hard enough. SO THERE IS SOMETHING HERE!

    Steve
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    It is just a sympathetic vibration. The length of the string between your finger and the nut is the correct length to vibrate at Ab. When you play the Ab on the D string, then you cause the Ab on the back side of the E string to vibrate.

    Think about it this way: Measure the distance from the Ab at the 16th fret of the low E to the saddle. Now measure the distance from the 9th fret to the nut. (Why the 9th fret and not the 10th? You are fretting the string at both the 9th and 10th frets when you fret the D note on the low E). You'll find that they are roughly the same distance. If you have too much relief (or too high of a nut), then you'll be able to excite the string between the fret and the nut sympathetically.

    A lot of players run into similar issues when using capos up the neck. I've also had the issue with basses.

    Hope that helps,

    Bryan
     
  11. SteveStevens

    SteveStevens Member

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    Thanks Bryan. It's what I surmised, and it's good to hear it confirmed! It's still very annoying and weird. And strange that no one who chimed in here found the same thing! I guess all of my guitars are set up with a lot of relief....sigh...

    Steve
     
  12. swimrunner

    swimrunner Member

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    If you can actually play that first voicing you've probably got hands of Gilbert-esque proportions. I just tried and... I almost can get it, but the gap between "almost can" and "actually can" in this case is probably insurmountable. This is on a PRS too, not a strat or whatever.
     

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