#1
Hi to everyone, i have got a problem with my new prs guitar..i noticed it while doing the 4th string 7 freet armonic, that it does too much natural vibrato (hope it's called like this, sorry for my bad english)..it doesn't keep the note at all, the varation of the frequency is really too much! After that i tried to do some powerchords, and after some seconds, it does the same vibrato, it's like you have got a tremolo effect on it..
I had got a squier, tried it and well, it's natural that the frequency changes a little bit while the string are still in moving, but the variation is really low..I telephoned to my guitarist friend too (he has got a stratocaster 50 and a traditiona gibson les paul), and he noticed that the problem is real, it's really un-natural..Here it's 10 pm and you people on ultimate guitar are the only one that can help me!!
(i tuned the guitar, it isn't cause of that)

What is it?!? please help me!!
#2
Are you talking about when you play the harmonic ALONE by itself?
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#3
Quote by David Collins

In most cases, this problem should be small enough to go unnoticed. It is strongly affected by the type and quality of the string though. Cheaper strings, or even some brands like DR strings will exhibit problems like this quite often, though even respected brands like D'addario, GHS, etc, will occasionally come with a bad string which will show problems like this. If you haven't done so already, first thing to do is change the problem string. Often times the problem will go away, though not always. Other variables, such as the fit and breakover angle at the nut and saddle can influence how harmonics vibrate as well.


So, lower your pickups, make sure it's in tune, put on new strings (and turn down the overdrive a bit if you're running heavy distortion), and see if it goes away. If it doesn't, then it's probably time to take it in to a good professional for diagnosis.



very well put and agree with this
Last edited by xx2gunsxx at Dec 13, 2009,
#4
Quote by David Collins
There are lots of things that can cause beats and pulsing in strings. The first is simply the equal temperament we are dealing with in modern instruments - if you play a harmonic against pretty much any other note, you're going to get beats, and there's nothing you're going to be able to do to fix this (unless you can change the rules of math and physics).

If it's happening when the note is being played with all other strings muted, there are still a number of other possible causes. First is that though few realize it, stiff metal strings rarely vibrate in tune with themselves. Even if the string is made perfectly, it's natural stiffness will accelerate many overtones to frequencies slightly above their natural harmony. Even if you are playing a single note or harmonic, there are a number of frequencies vibrating in that string at the same time, and if they are far enough out of natural harmony you will hear pulsing. Even though the disharmony may exist when playing other notes, it is possible that playing this single harmonic simply isolates the most prominent errors, making them more obvious.

In most cases, this problem should be small enough to go unnoticed. It is strongly affected by the type and quality of the string though. Cheaper strings, or even some brands like DR strings will exhibit problems like this quite often, though even respected brands like D'addario, GHS, etc, will occasionally come with a bad string which will show problems like this. If you haven't done so already, first thing to do is change the problem string. Often times the problem will go away, though not always. Other variables, such as the fit and breakover angle at the nut and saddle can influence how harmonics vibrate as well.

Magnetic pull from pickups too close to the strings can cause this problem very often as well. When there is too strong a magnetic pull on a string, all bets are off, and strange warbling and pulsing will happen quite often. You don't usually find this on humbuckers however, because their magnets are oriented so that the bulk of the field is draw straight from the top of one set of poles to the other, and the string does not see nearly as strong a magnetic pull as with single coils. It's actually so common with single coils, that it's often dubbed as "Strat-itis", and is why the neck pickup on Strats often has to be adjusted so low. Even then though, the problem is more typically found on plain strings than wound ones, and usually on the high E where the radius of the strings puts it closest to the poles. Finding it on a D string, which aside from being wound is also the furthest from the pickups, would be less common. It would be even less likely to happen at the 7th fret harmonic, as the neck pickup is pretty much directly under a node. Still a possibility though, so you can also lower your pickups to see if it goes away.

There are still other possibilities as well. If the neck or body has a very prominent resonant mode very near a certain frequency, it can cause overtones in that range to go wild, sharpening or flattening easily by 20 cents or more. This is rare in solid body electrics though, and more often found in lightly built flat top acoustics.

There is also string beyond the nut and saddle, and if they are of a length that delivers a pitch very close to that harmonic (or an upper harmonic of that harmonic) it can cause problems like this as well. The nut and saddle do not create an infinite boundary point to stop the wave, and if they are not fit well, or the breakover angle is low, these pitches can interfere with the vibrating speaking length in a very real way (this is one of several reasons I strongly dislike Fenders which try to go without at least the upper string tree). This again though, is probably unlikely in your case. It's more common on guitars like Jazzmasters, or others with a shallow breakover angle at the bridge and a decent length of open string between the bridge and tailpiece. Though there may be enough length between the nut and tuner on a 3x3 PRS headstock, their nuts are usually wide enough and well enough cut to avoid this problem. Plus, their headstock angle is usually sufficient to set an effective boundary point at the nut.

And that's just the beginning. This is all just talking about your 7th fret harmonic on the D string. Once we get in to pulsing and beating in chords and harmonies, there are all sorts of other variables. If there is a problem with the guitar, a good tech should be able to identify it. As you can see from the very briefly summarized list of common causes here though, diagnosis of odd issues is a learned art, and not always easy to advise on in a forum post.

So, lower your pickups, make sure it's in tune, put on new strings (and turn down the overdrive a bit if you're running heavy distortion), and see if it goes away. If it doesn't, then it's probably time to take it in to a good professional for diagnosis.


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#5
Excellent post by David. I'd only add that even though the guitar is new, it may have been strung months ago. Also I'd agree that magnetic pull from pickups is a likely cause of all kinds of strange effects. Its little effort to wind them down a bit to check,
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