S.O.S..for the love of...string rattle!

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by StratSounds, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm sort of at my wits end here and could use some help. I've been playing guitars for a long time, but a wicked gremlin has reared it's ugly head on a couple of my favorite guitars lately and it's driving me a little bit batty. One or more of the unwound strings are, rattling, or buzzing, but I can't physically see the string buzzing off of a fret, string height and clearance looks good. I even raised one saddle dramatically just to see if it would go away and it didn't. I thought maybe it was just an old string, so I changed one, no dice. I wondered if it might be a ball end rattling, but I really don't think that's it either.

    It's happening on a strat with a floating bridge and also on a tele. I can hear it when playing them acoustically or plugged in. The string just doesn't ring true, it sounds like it's rattling off of a fret, sounds like fret buzz, but holding the guitar sideways against a white background so I can clearly see the action while fretting on the 9th fret, I cannot physically see the string hitting a fret higher up the neck. It looks like there's plenty of clearance, but I'm still hearing a buzz. Is it hitting a fret and I just can't see it? That's why I raised one saddle so high just to see, but it made no difference. Any of you gurus got a clue what might be causing this? Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Acosgaya

    Acosgaya New Member!

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    Hello
    Can be a vibration in one of the tuners, while you hear him play one by one to identify him.Also can be a vibration in the pickguard, one pickup.
     
  3. Acosgaya

    Acosgaya New Member!

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    Sorry for my English ;)
     
  4. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    No problem! Thanks for your thoughtful reply, I’ll check it out.
     
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  5. Yinzer

    Yinzer Strat-Talk Member

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    Something is loose and vibrating sympathetically. If your tuners are the kind with a nut and washer on one side, then check for loose nuts first. After that, try playing a note that buzzes and touch various pieces on the guitar while the note is ringing to see if you can damien the vibration.
     
  6. nasticanasta

    nasticanasta Strat-Talk Member

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    Sounds like a nut problem...your strings should be angling down from the nut to the tuner posts. Or maybe a string path is worn and too wide in the nut.
     
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  7. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    First thing is to try to narrow down when it rattles. If it happens only on open notes, suspect the nut. If it happens only on a particular string, pay extra attention to that string and anything it touches.

    The usual suspects are the saddles being out of level or the tuners being loose. If it's a particular note as you play up the fretboard it's probably a high (or low) fret.
     
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  8. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    Only if it’s on open strings or a sympathetic vibration from a note causing an open string to vibrate in the nut.

    Exactly ^, OP we need more info on where the buzz occurs and is it only on certain notes and if so is it those notes all over or one area?
     
  9. White Dog

    White Dog Strat-Talker

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    I would have guessed loose tuner or wide groove nut as well, because any time that has happened to me one or the other was the problem.
    Otherwise, if it turns out to be something else, I have yet to deal with it.
     
  10. nasticanasta

    nasticanasta Strat-Talk Member

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    He didn't say...I assumed open string.
    But a loose screw or tuner or thing like that wouldn't cause as he said "The string just doesn't ring true"
     
  11. nasticanasta

    nasticanasta Strat-Talk Member

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    check the saddle adjusters...those can get loose
     
  12. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks for the replies! I did say, but here goes again:D. On the couple of guitars that I’m getting this on, a strat and a tele, it doesn’t rattle or buzz when the open string is struck, it’s only when fretting a note, really anywhere on the neck, but it looks like there is plenty of clearance on the frets further up the neck. I can’t physically see that the string is buzzing off of a fret, looks like it’s clearing them all, but it does pretty much sound like fret buzz. That’s why I raised one saddle to the max, just to eliminate fret buzz, but it didn’t matter. I still got a buzzy sound when fretting a note up and down the neck, even with a new string. That’s what’s got me baffled and had me thinking maybe a ball end is rattling, but I don’t really think that’s causing it either, but maybe? Strings are D’Addario XL 10s.
     
  13. nasticanasta

    nasticanasta Strat-Talk Member

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    i'd take it in, you may have a fret loose
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Isolate to a few frets and use a fret rocker, or the edge of a credit card, to find which fret is higher (and thus rocks) than the pair to either side.

    You might have had low action on those two guitars and humidity changes in the place you keep them has changed so the neck moved (generally back-bow direction) and where you didn't have a fret problem before now you do. More often the high frets will rattle.

    Can be saddles rattling against each other or a grub screw has backed itself up and now rattles.

    .
     
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  15. BuffaloHound

    BuffaloHound Strat-O-Master

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    If you’re serious about fixing this issue on an online forum you should give us the best information possible since we can’t see the guitar. Take 10 minutes to slowly play every note on every string, then post here with which ones are buzzing when played through your amp.

    Acoustic string buzz is kinda the nature of the beast with electric guitars. You can minimize it later but let’s start with what you heard through the amp to fix the big issues first.

    Also, lots of pictures never hurt. People might see something you’re missing. Or—worst case scenario—we get to look at guitar pics...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  16. T-Rey

    T-Rey StealYourFace Silver Member

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    I had one not long ago that was buzzing that I tried and tried to figure out. Everything seemed good neck relief and setup wise as best I could tell. After a couple of days of trying to figure it out I finally reached down where the string comes off of the saddle and kinda wiggled it from side to side and no more buzz. Don't know how to explain what that changed. It was a bent steel saddle so it's not like it wasn't in a notch or something but it immediately went away so maybe give it a wiggle at the saddle and see. Lol!
     
  17. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Since it happened to two guitars, it's either something about the humidity (it's springtime, so I'm guessing your indoor humidity is way up--so make sure your relief is where you left it) OR, the issue is psychological. Could it be that you're looking for it harder than you ever looked before?

    Fret buzz is a relative thing, if you hit the strings hard enough you'll still get some buzz. Even if you have half-inch action. If you're trying to get rid of every last bit of buzz, you will make yourself crazy. The goal is an acceptable amount of fret buzz with the way you usually play--and of course no notes choking out.
     
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  18. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

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    Could be the guitar moving due to the change in seasons.

    A loose tuner nut can drive you batty. Saddle can raddle if raised too high.

    You haven't told us how your action is and what your relief is set to.

    We're flyin' blind here, captain.
     
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  19. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    And I’m not going to either:D. Seriously though, I really appreciate the replies. I was just looking for some general tips really. Along the lines of what some have said, I’m likely just having a spring moment and need to tweak a rod or two. The buzz was accentuated by an envelope filter I picked up a couple months ago, it really highlights the unwound strings that want to buzz. That got it into my head a little and now I notice it some even when I’m just playing blues. I liked the reply that said you have to live with a little fret buzz on electric guitars or you’ll drive yourself crazy. I’m starting to agree. I can be a little heavy handed at times, which will make me notice any fret buzz even more, so I’m likely just letting it get into my head...errr...ear. Thanks again.
     
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