So my guitar has an extremely strong symathetic vibration of E that occurs on the bass low E strong when open. It's not buzzing, but a clear E.

Apology first:
This is a long post, I know. Professionally, I'm an engineer, so I'm probably going overboard with the details. But I'm sick of this problem. I've posted at other places and taken the guitar into shops for quick looks, and I always get the below two responses, which I just don't believe are true anymore. I recently found this website(which is awesome), and after months of use, I believe the users are mature, knowledgable people.

Let me give you my setup, experience, and what I have done before you reply with "all guitars do this" or "you need to learn to mute".

I have an Epiphone G-400, stock everything, setup with 10's, standard tuning, normal (recommended) action. It's going through a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt. That's it. I've been playing for about a year now, with lessons, and I didn't notice the issue until about 1.5 months after I got the guitar (too late to return). But it's always been there.

In more detail, the strong E vibration only happens on the bass E string, and only when I play E on another sting. The lower the E note played, and the thicker the sting used to play that E, the stonger the open bass E vibration. On the A string, playing E at the 7th fret, the sympathetic E is just as loud as the E just played. This symp. vib. gets weaker as I play smaller strings / closer to the brigde, until I play E at the 12th fret of the high E string, where it will not longer occur.

I have other sympathetic vibrations (B, G, etc.), but none of them are close to this strong.

I have been told I'm just a beginner and I'll learn to mute that out. A year ago, that might have been true, but now I'm not so sure. When palm muting just to decrease the vibrations at higher gain (not to produce the "chug") I have to put my palm an inch from the bridge to kill it. Any closer to the bridge and it still rings out like a "chug", or as a normal note. Other symp. vib. I can easily kill with my palm at or just off the bridge.

It is not the amp or pickup height. I can hear it unplugged, and I've almost dropped the pickups throught the body, and it has no affect.

Other things I've done / noticed:
- adjusting the action did nothing
- the stopbar tailpiece height has no affect
- the bridge saddles were loose in all directions, so I used clear nail polish to secure them to the screws and secure the retaining wire (making sure it was intoned properly first); didn't affect it
- the bridge posts were also loose, so I Teflon-taped the threads; they are good and tight now; still no affect
- I've cut out pieces of foam to jam under the strings, both behind the nut, and between the bridge / stop bar; still nothing
- The guitar orginially came with 9's and I set it up. After noticing the problem, i had it professionally setup with 10's (as it is now); no affect
- Each time I change strings, I'm using different brands to find what I like. Normally, the problem doesn't change with strings, but right now I'm trying Ernie Ball super slinkys, and the problem got worse; of course that could be due to wear, or variation in how I string (I'm getting better with each set)
- The guitar stays in tune just fine, even with bending (once the strings are worn in)
- If I play an E while muting the base E string, keep the original E going, and un-mute the bass string, the vibriation still occurs
- If I detune the bass E enough, this vibration doesn't occur
- While the vibration is occuring, if I put my hand behind the headstock and pull back, while pressing forward behind the nut with my palm (so just bending the headstock, not the entire neck) the vibration will stop while barely even detuning the strings

I'm left with 5 options to "fix" this:
1) The guitar body resonates in E / all guitars do this. I hope not, because I would either need to change the body shape / mass of the guitar, or use excessive muting with both hands.
2) Its a problem with the bridge saddles or how the bridge sits on the post (it sits loosly on the posts, without string on, but appears secure when strung / tuned); I could secure the bridge to the posts with nail polish, which I'm trying to avoid, or just get new bridge hardware.
3) Its a problem with the nut; get a new nut installed.
4) Its a problem with the truss rod. I really hope not. I would have no idea how to fix that.
5) Use a tuning that has no open E's. I would really like to avoid this so I can keep learning / playing in standard.

If anyone has any advice / experience with this issue, I would be eternally grateful. I'd much rather figure out the problem first, then spend money to fix it, than spend hundrends on new parts / labor and have no idea if it will fix it.

Again, sorry for the absurdly long post.
forget my entire post i get what your saying!

Thats just how a guitar works. Actually if its really loud thats good because it means your guitar is really resonant!

But when you play a note and the body vibrates to that note it may play it on other strings.

Most people stop this by just resting their palm on the base strings. You'll learn how to do it, its not anything you can fix but with learning how.
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Last edited by Ninja Penguin77 at Mar 7, 2009,
some guitars just do this. annoying as hell.

so mute, (doesnt seem to be practical)
try another gauge heavier, (might not work but is easiest to try, provided you want to try 11s.)
swap out the nut, maybe a different material will help.
or a new height at the nut cut for the E. trying a new angle on that E, slipping a bit of paper under the string in the cut of the nut.

also, because you know you can detune to make it stop,
so you might want to try messing with the intonation a little.

or you can tie a scarf around the nut area when doing a solo.

you might just have to fool the guitar until you upgrade.

also, try the guitar with a different amp, see if it's less noticable.

good luck

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You could always just learn everything in open E.

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Well, it just happens. Try raising the stopbar. I know your problem. Unless you're holding a note you won't notice, tbh.
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The pickup pole under the E string may be too close. Have you tried adjusting the pickup?
Swap nuts. hehe Seriously. They are relatively cheap for a luthier to make ($20). You can also try lowering the string in the nut, probably won't help, or you could glue a shim under the nut (probably would fix it, but the nut is glued on, I'd leave that to a pro). You could try placing a tiny piece of paper under the string in the groove of the nut. If all that fails and you have to have a new nut made, try a new material, such as bone instead of plastic (its still cheap). Failing all that, you can place a string tree between the nut and the tuner. Does the problem stop if you just barely touch the E about halfway between the tuner and the nut? If all of that fails, I'm out of ideas. There are some builders/luthiers in the gear building thread that might know...good luck
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Thanks for the replys everyone.

Pickup height, stopbar height, different amp, small intonation/tuning changes have all been tried to no avail.

I am trying to mute more, and it definitly does help. But I'm having a real problem muting the low open E sting when I play the A string, and not also muting the A string. I probably just need to play around with hand positions to get it working. I still think the vibration is abnormally strong, but I guess its good practice to learn muting that out.

Nut / bridge replacement
I may do this anyway. It's not terribly expensive. And I have read alot online that Epiphone stock bridge / nuts are awful, and that Epi guitars got much better with those upgrades (I swear that half the musicianfriend reviews on TOM bridges are from Epi owners).

Scarf / string tree
I never thought of the scarf trick, or heard of what a string tree was, but it sounds promising. I'll definitly give the scarf a try, then install a string tree if that works. Or I might just like the look of the scarf.

Open E
Well, don't know if this was a joke or serious, or a bit of both. But I would one day like to begin learning slide. I plan on getting a new guitar and amp in the next year. After that, I plan to setup the Epi for slide. Which I guess I really should start learning to mute more anyway.
Last edited by lagduf at Mar 8, 2009,
Sorry it has taken so long to chime in here.

You stated
"- While the vibration is occuring, if I put my hand behind the headstock and pull back, while pressing forward behind the nut with my palm (so just bending the headstock, not the entire neck) the vibration will stop while barely even detuning the strings"

If you have completely ruled out a bad nut or fret, your problem most likely is in one or two places:

1. Tuners - Your Epi probably has vintage style Gotoh or Schaller tuners with press-in ferrules. These could be loose, OR the gears are loose, or both. Check for the vibration by holding the tuning keys. You can hold three at a time, then two, then one and try to narrow it down. Do not push or pull on the headstock! If this stops the buzz, you can:
a. Glue in the loose ferrules with white glue (this can be removed later if needed)
b. Remove the tuner backs and coat the gears with a heavy lithium grease.
c. Replacing the tuners with sealed units and screw down ferrules (I recommend).

2. Truss rod - Even though you turned the truss rod nut, that may not stop a buzz from happening on a loose truss rod. Try tapping up and down the back of the neck with your knuckle to try and isolate the rattle. If it is the rod, it is a trickier fix. I have stopped this before by injecting grease into the rod cavity from the peg-head. Heard of people drilling a small hole in the fret board and injecting silicone. Might want a pro look at it if you are not ready.

Good luck,