Frez buzz - 4th string

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Frez buzz - 4th string

Post by offadinglight » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:57 am

Hello everyone! Long time no seen :)
I'm currently abroad and got a vintage guitar that is great but has some fret buzz. That is especially noticeable with almost all tones on the 4th string. 5th and 6th have just a little bit of buzz. Frets look fine. What can i do to fix this? Any idea what might be causing it? Maybe change the nut? Sorry if this has been posted before. I have very little time on my hands here so decided to post instead of searching. Thanks for your help!



Post by Azalais » Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:49 am

Try slipping one or more small fragments of paper under the string where it crosses the nut... if that stops it, then yes, a new nut would be the solution. The nut could be worn, or the strings that you are using now could be of smaller diameter than the previous type that were used (so the thinner string sits too low in the slot.) You could also try sliding a layer of index card under the nut to raise the whole thing a tiny bit. Often, the nut is not glued in.

Dan Kellaway

Post by Dan Kellaway » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:43 am

You only adjust the nut for the open strings. If it's buzzing on the frets while being fretted you'll have to raise the saddle. This is easy by putting thin strips of cardboard under the saddle or better still slivers of wood veneer.
Take care though, as if you raise the saddle too high it will not sit firmly in the saddle slot and will have a tendency to tilt over towards the neck. This will also put undue pressure on that part of the bridge which is in front of the saddle and in the worst case could cause that part to crack.
Ideally a new well fitting saddle would be preferable but one or two shims should not be a problem.
If this doesn't stop the buzzing you may need to have the frets dressed.
By the way if the nut does need raising it's easy to put shims under it rather than between the nut and the string. I often repair nuts this way and to make the repair permanent I superglue the shim to the underside of the nut so you don't have to worry about losing the shim when changing strings or loosening the strings for any reason.


Post by offadinglight » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:06 pm

i'll see what i can do. the saddle already looks tilted in the direction of the neck. have t look at it once more. i can take some pics as well.
i've put new strings - normal tension and the guitar looks like it hasn't been played much but the fret buzz on the fourth string is just really bad.
thanks! talk to you soon.

by the way how do i remove the saddle and the nut? they are glued on to the guitar.

Nick Payne
Amateur luthier
Posts: 794
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:21 am
Location: Canberra

Post by Nick Payne » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:30 am

I use brass shim if the nut or saddle needs raising slightly. Usually 0.2mm thickness. Cut a piece to size with some shears, tap it lightly on an anvil with a hammer to remove any burring left by the shears, and slacken the strings so that you can insert the shim under the nut or saddle as required.

Dan Kellaway

Post by Dan Kellaway » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:36 am

Neither the nut nor the saddle should be glued in. After slackening the strings you should be able to lift out the saddle. If you put a couple of saddle wide strips of string packet plastic which are only half the length of the saddle in under the bass side this should fix it. Otherwise you'll have to show it to a luthier.
Make sure the 4th string is new as when it wears on the frets it can start to buzz, and all you need to do is replace it.


Post by offadinglight » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:04 pm

string is new. will give it a try when i have time.

Norman Spencer

4th String Buzz

Post by Norman Spencer » Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:13 pm

You say that it looks as though the saddle is tilted toward the strings, severe buzzing on 4th string, mild buzz on 5th and 6th.

Hmm... sounds like the bridge may be lifting. It is also possible that the top of the guitar has "bellied" excessively.

Take a close look from the bottom of the guitar to see if you can spot signs of either of these conditions. If this is your problem, a luthier will provide the solution.

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