How a string actually moves and why string buzz occurs


I did a quick search to see if this video has been posted before, and didn't see it (since the video was originally posted to YouTube in Dec. of 2014 by Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitar Company).
Anyway, I found this fascinating and I thought I would share.
I always thought that a guitar string would vibrate in a circular or oval configuration, and that string buzz was a direct result of the fret in front of the fretted note being in the path of that vibration.



On my guitars most of the buzzing seems to come from either the saddles or the nut.


Remember though that we're talking the first couple of cycles here - even at the low E, which I think is around 82 Hz, it's still vibrating 80x per second roughly, or each cycle is 1/80th ish of a second. That means these first few cycles are done pretty early.

Once the string "settles in", the overall vibration is in the center of the string.

So maybe we should say that initial buzz happens on the fret in front, but if it's buzzing after that, it's more likely in the middle.

An interesting side bar to the video I posted above - you can see that it goes way down below the fixed center point at the far end - but we don't pull up on guitar strings like that - instead, we pluck parallel to the top mostly, so if we're pressing in any way down toward the top, to directly parallel to the top, that deflection seen above is not going to be DOWN toward the fret - instead, it's going to be opposite - it's going to vibrate side to side or actually go AWAY from the fret.

In fact, the way we pluck a guitar probably evolved because of that.

But in any event, because it's fixed at both ends, resonance eventually causes the fundamental vibration to have the most deviation from center at the middle of the length of the string once it's vibrating (but it also vibrates in subdivisions as well).


Yeah, there's a good video on the internet where a guy put his Iphone in his acoustic guitar and it shows the string movement also. Pretty interesting.


That was a very interesting video. That guy was great at explaining things too.

Edit - Thanks for sharing!

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