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Old 03-31-2013, 09:08 AM   #1
craney5
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Join Date: Jan 2013
My acoustic is buzzing

Hi everyone

I bought my 1st acoustic a couple of months ago and i got the action on it lowered before i took it away from the shop. Been learning to play it over the past 2 months and i have noticed than when playing some chords the strings seem to vibrate a lot a times. The strings are now quite low to the fret board, are the strings meant to be the same height from the fret board all the way from the bottom to the top? My strings at the top end of the guitar (Head end) seem a lot lower to the fret board than the ones down the bottom end of the guitar.

It may just be down to me being a new learner and not strumming the strings right i guess. When i do an open strum it sounds fine no vibrating at all.

EDIT

Just been playing a C chord with my nail (normally use a pick) and done about 10-15 down strokes and didnt buzz once. Im guessing that maybe im not using my .50mm pick properly. I'm learning strumming at the moment and i think its the upstrums i try when strumming the pattern DDUUDUDDU that give me the buzzing sound. Could someone give me some advice with regards to upstrumming with a pick or finger? I know its a matter of practice practice practice but my technique appears to be bad. I seem to miss the strings on the upstrum sometimes . Must admit i got a nice sound using my finger nail rather than a pick....

Last edited by craney5 : 03-31-2013 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
Captaincranky
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There's almost no way you can achieve the string / neck geometry you're describing unless the neck is set on the guitar wrong, or the top (soundboard), has sunken.

The latter issue can occur due to very (too) low humidity during heating season, or if you live in a very dry clime. So first read the sticky about humidity: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...ad.php?t=987641

Next, you need to understand the overall setup process. If not so that you can do it yourself, at least so that you can diagnose your issues, and communicate them to others. Here's part two of your reading assignment, a setup guide: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/...up_page_01.html

Why were you expecting no sound difference between a pick, and the flesh of your fingertips?

The pick will always have more "twang" and brilliance. They even sell felt(!) pick for bass to deaden the "attack".

Some picks sound better than others, due to differences in materials. Thickness matters, and very thin picks clatter, and don't energize the bass strings as well. But, thick picks are difficult to hold on to when strumming very fast rhythms.

So, if you like the sound of finger picking more than flat picking, do that! Or at least devote as much practice time to playing finger style, as you do with a pick.

And experiment with pick shape as well: These: >>

sound and play different than these:>>

even in the same gauge, so you have to experiment until you find what works for you.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 03-31-2013 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:16 PM   #3
stepchildusmc
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from what your saying, it's just a simple control issue and you've already hit on the answer....... practice practice practice !!
do check for humidity issues in your house also.... just in case.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
craney5
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Smile

Thanks guys shall do my reading tonight. I have left my guitar on its stand next to my rad which is clearly mot a good idea! Only have a soft bag for it as well so maybe have to go in the wardrobe when not in use

I live in the UK so its been freezing here for the last couple of months!

Thanks for the tips with regards to picks, i have a .50 and a .75 and the thing im having issues with in regards to the picks is the plasticy sound they seem to make when i strum. This is why i thought i would try with my finger which sounded nicer to me as i was used to the horrible plastic sound. I understand its just me being a beginner thats got lots to learn. For some reason i just find my strumming has better timming without a pick. I do want to use a pick tho so maybe i need to try a different material.

With regards to the string height i mentioned, sorry for sounding confusing there my terminology is very basic in guitar terms. What i was trying to say was when looking under the strings to see how high they sit above the fret board the strings at fret 1 are quite low as i had the action lowered as the strings were really high and required more force to push down onto the fret board which from a beginners point of view was hard to play. The strings on the 12th fret seem a lot higher above the fret board than fret 1, i just wanted to know if that is normal? I could provide a picture if i sound confusing which again i am sorry about

Thanks again for your help

Last edited by craney5 : 03-31-2013 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:23 PM   #5
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craney5
Thanks guys shall do my reading tonight. I have left my guitar on its stand next to my rad which is clearly mot a good idea! Only have a soft bag for it as well so maybe have to go in the wardrobe when not in use
Ya think....? If you're getting hit with static electricity, the humidity in the house is too low, period. You can't solve any local issues with your guitar without a hardshell case, and a humidifier

Quote:
Originally Posted by craney5
I live in the UK so its been freezing here for the last couple of months!
Well, if your central heater doesn't have a humidifier, I can virtually guarantee that the humidity in your home is too low.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craney5
Thanks for the tips with regards to picks, i have a .50 and a .75 and the thing im having issues with in regards to the picks is the plasticy sound they seem to make when i strum. This is why i thought i would try with my finger which sounded nicer to me as i was used to the horrible plastic sound. I understand its just me being a beginner thats got lots to learn. For some reason i just find my strumming has better timming without a pick. I do want to use a pick tho so maybe i need to try a different material.
A dry soundboard will sound quite brittle. A small body will be "brassier" than a jumbo. Picks are made of plastic, hence they sound "plastic-ey", I don't see the contradiction. The Fender celluloid picks I linked sound as good as any. The thicker the pick, the less the clatter. That said, I can't deal with heavy picks, and still retain control with fast rhythms. (Ultimately of course, your results may vary).

Quote:
Originally Posted by craney5
With regards to the string height i mentioned, sorry for sounding confusing there my terminology is very basic in guitar terms. What i was trying to say was when looking under the strings to see how high they sit above the fret board the strings at fret 1 are quite low as i had the action lowered as the strings were really high and required more force to push down onto the fret board which from a beginners point of view was hard to play. The strings on the 12th fret seem a lot higher above the fret board than fret 1, i just wanted to know if that is normal?
It has to be that way. The only question becomes, "how high is high" in the "I just measured this and it's XXX millimeters high", concrete sense, and not in any subjective terms. A measurement will separate your failings, from those of the guitar. No offense intended here, we just need you to do a "reality check" on the guitar.

If you like the sound of finger style, do that then. There's no sense in forcing a tonality on yourself you don't enjoy.

I play mostly12 strings which are brassy, annoying and "jangly" by nature. So, I plug in and then EQ the shit I don't want to hear out, and the good stuff in.

Look up "Fletcher Munson Curves", and you'll quickly realize why music sounds like crap at low volumes. The short answer is, because it's harder for human ears to hear bass content at low volumes.. The treble from the pick masks the now perceived reduction in bass at low volumes, and you get "tinny"..

Never mind looking it up, here's part 3 of your homework: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletch...93Munson_curves

Last edited by Captaincranky : 03-31-2013 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
stepchildusmc
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i find Gravity brand guitar picks work best for me. i couldn't get around the "floppy" sound with all of the picks i got at music stores. if you email Chris at Gravity Guitar picks, he's likely to send you a sample or two for free. they aren't the usual plastic picks and are more rigid even though they are thin.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
craney5
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Thanks captain! sorry for sounding kinda silly its just guitar is just a whole new world to me at the mo

I will check to see if my central heater has a humidifier which i dont think it does so i will get myself a hygrometer to check out the humidity in my house so i know where i need to be at. Im guessing this could turn out expensive if i need to buy something to either add humidity to my room or to remove it?

Thanks so much again cranky for your in depth responce i really appreciate your time in helping me understand everything. You must get sick of people like me who ask the most stupid things at times! Thanks to everyone else as well who has given me advice here
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craney5
I will check to see if my central heater has a humidifier which i dont think it does so i will get myself a hygrometer to check out the humidity in my house so i know where i need to be at. Im guessing this could turn out expensive if i need to buy something to either add humidity to my room or to remove it?
I can almost guarantee that you won't need to remove humidity. That is of course, provided you don't wander off to the "emerald isle".

The path of least resistance with respect to funding, would be a hard case and a sound hole humidifier.

You can leave the average set neck solid body electric out on a stand year round with little ill effect (*), not so with acoustics.

Even if if you do get humidity and temperature swings, a hard case delays and mitigates the shocks.

(*) In fact I've done it.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:44 PM   #9
craney5
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Got my hygrometer today and it appears to be showing as 82% in most areas in my house! Don't no if its telling the truth or not really I took it outside and it just stayed the same 82% I hope it's wrong!
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:16 PM   #10
Captaincranky
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That really can't be correct. Especially in this weather. I suppose if you're living 10 feet from a lake, and your central heater has an attached humidifier, who knows. In any event, even using non vented heaters, (which make water as a byproduct of combustion), I still have to put pans of water on the heater to shop from getting static shocks.

Google "Hygrometer salt test", then follow those instructions to calibrate your meter. Then recheck.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #11
craney5
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I'll check that out for sure thanks! Going to book my 1st guitar lesson very soon as I really want to be taught the basics 1 to 1 and hopefully get some strumming guidance as my strums really sound horrible. I can play chords pretty well it's just puting them into play where I stuggle
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:23 PM   #12
Jihad Jesus
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There's a possibility, whoever lowered your guitar's action, took it down too low. The simplest ways to fix this are to shim the nut and bridge, which is a pain. IMO, you should've tried lighter string gauge first. Although I highly suggest getting someone to install one of these kits kits on your acoustic. I guarantee it'll make your guitar sound better.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:13 PM   #13
craney5
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Thanks for that mate, you may be right with regards to the action being a little to low but it really was quite high before hand. I take it you can get a new action fitted and have the guitar strings back to how they were?
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