G String buzz


#1

Dang, i’m learning the basic black mountain mandolin song, but my G-string is buzzing unless I push down on it EXACTLY right. I have no access to a professional mandolin setup guy. should I just raise the bridge until i stop hearing it? could it be a different problem? I can’t figure out why its buzzing.


#2

That’s the first thing I would do, just on that side. Both of my mandolins’ bridges are adjusted a little higher on the G string side.


#3

Hi Stark,

Ditto what Bulldog said, mine is a bit higher on the G side as well. Without looking at it or getting more details it’s hard to say what exactly is going on. The G string is going to generally be the “buzziest” string (all other things being equal). In my experience, it is the most critical string regarding finger placement.

If your action is fairly low, then raising the bass side of the bridge would be worth trying. It would help the issue as long as there aren’t problems with the frets.


#4

thanks for the comments. after raising the bridge more and noticing the same problem (maybe getting worse?) i’m starting to wonder if my string height was too HIGH instead.

Is this possible? I already has a slanted bridge like you guys mentioned. i might try and lower it down and see if that helps.


#5

Yeah, it could certainly be too high and that would make fretting difficult (and cause weak tone). It would typically get worse the higher up the neck you get. To give some idea of string height on other mandos, I checked mine. On mine, when I slide a penny between the G strings and the twelve fret, it doesn’t fit without moving the strings a bit. I don’t have a dime handy, but I would guess mine is probably about a dime’s height. So if you have more height than a quarter, I’d say it’s probably too high. Try lowering that puppy!

The exact “right” height will change depending on the instrument and the player. I generally get my mando action as low as I can without it sounding too jangly. When I got my most recent mando, I had to actually raise it a bit (I was ecstatic, as I usually have to go the other way with instruments). Presumably, I play harder than the guy that built it.


#6

That’s helpful. thanks again. yes…it is worse as you get further up the neck. I’ll check the string height at the 12th fret like you suggested. the only problem is that I live in Thailand and I don’t have any pennies or quarters here. :confused:


#7

I was thinking the same thing you were Mike, maybe be the G string was too high making it difficult to fret but Stark said he was fretting it exactly right. Could be it’s coming from somewhere other than the frets? Doesn’t add up raising the action and it getting worse.


#8

— Begin quote from “Stark”

the only problem is that I live in Thailand and I don’t have any pennies or quarters here. :confused:

— End quote

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: I was all proud of myself for using a common item so “anyone” could find something similar to use… and you are in Thailand. That’s pretty funny. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the dimensions of Thai money. I guess we could ship you a penny. :laughing: Maybe I’d be better off just going with the measurements route.

In a nutshell, a penny isn’t very thick. It is 0.55" which is 1.4 mm or less than 1/16" if you think in terms of fractions. My G string at the 12th fret measures about 3/64" which is about .0469" or 1.2 mm. I have a guitar pick that is is 1.14mm and it slides between the string and the fret and the string and lightly drags. Do you know what size picks you have? If you have something similar you could use them as a feeler.

In a way, the measurement doesn’t really doesn’t matter… I was just trying to convey the height on another instrument (it’s pretty low). I’d try dropping the bridge and if it gets better, keep going until it gets worse, then back it up a little. That’s the nice thing about an adjustable bridge… trial and error is a valid option because you can always reverse what you previously did.


#9

— Begin quote from “Bulldog”

I was thinking the same thing you were Mike, maybe be the G string was too high making it difficult to fret but Stark said he was fretting it exactly right. Could be it’s coming from somewhere other than the frets? Doesn’t add up raising the action and it getting worse.

— End quote

I think we had the exact same reaction when we originally read “buzz.” That was, something further up the neck was interfering. If it got worse by raising the action, instead I think what may have been happening was that the action was already high enough to make fretting a note difficult, so it wasn’t a traditional buzz, but rather just a difficult to play action. That was why I asked if it was more difficult further up the neck (which is what you get with high action).


#10

You’re probably right, Mike. It’s definately harder to get a clean fret on the G string than the others.


#11

Bulldog. Mike.

Thanks for all your help. The problem was that my bridge was too high. I have adjusted the bridge lower and it has fixed my problem! It is also much easier to play. I have set the G-string height at the 12th fret to the thickness of 1 Thai baht coin. :smiley: