There can be many reasons why a guitar would make noise. Typically players want to mitigate this so that their playing and sound are at their best. Most of this applies to both electric and acoustic guitar. Today we will talk about type of buzzing and how to fix them on an acoustic guitar.
Types of Guitar Buzzing Problems
This happens when a string comes in contact with a fret and a buzzing sound occurs. This is the most frequent cause of annoying buzzes. See chart for diagnostics.
Parts can also cause buzzing. The most common items which buzz on acoustic guitars are the loose input jacks and loose tuning machine bushings. Pre-amps and pickup components that are not seated well can also rattle. Solution is simple: tighten your hardware and the rattle should stop.
Luckily this is not too common. Certain frequencies can set off strange rattling and vibrations. These types of buzzes differ in that they occur only when certain frequencies are played. This sounds like feedback in most instances.
Loose Brace Rattle
Braces that split or come loose in an acoustic guitar can sometimes be heard rattling against the top or back when playing or tapping. This often means a repair is needed.
Causes of Fret Buzz
|Open String Buzz-Buzzes when played open, stops when string is fretted.||Nut-Worn or poorly cut nut slot is placing the strings too close to the frets near the nut.||-Replace nut or shim to add height. Set up instrument properly.|
|One Spot Buzz-Buzzes on one note, or one area but stops when moving away from that spot.||Frets-Frets are not level, one or more is too high/low. Loose or sprung fret is rising out of the fingerboard. Hump in fingerboard. Wear or deep grooves in frets.||-Secure all loose frets, level and dress. Fret leveling and/or replacement of worn frets.|
|Upper Fret Buzz-Buzzes where the neck attaches to the body. Notes seem to fret out when playing near the body.||Fingerboard-On acoustics, section of fingerboard that is glued to the top may rise/fall with temperature/moisture extremes due to changes in the top.-Fingerboard is warped in a way to render the end too high (most common on archtop’s).||-Evaluate for dryness, humidify if necessary.-Frets near f/b extension may need leveling.-In rare cases the board must be planed to remove hump.|
|Buzzes When I Strum Hard- Buzzing occurs when strumming or picking aggressively but can be silenced when playing lightly.||Set Up-Insufficient relief in the neck.-Poor set up.-String gauge too light.||-Adjust truss rod.-Set up instrument properly.-Use heavier strings.|
|Buzzes Everywhere-Buzzes nearly everywhere even though it is set up properly, will often disappear if string is fretted hard or closer to the fret and plucked softly.||Frets-Frets may be worn out or too low.Very small fret wire used.||-Replace frets.|
|Frets Out- Buzzes nearly everywhere all the time, strings are literally touching the frets in the center or other area of the fingerboard.||Neck-Truss rod may be way too tight back bowing the neck.-Neck could be a warped, or have excess back bow even after truss rod is loosened.||-Set up instrument properly.-Adjust truss rod for more relief.-Use heavier strings if relief can not be created thru truss rod adjustment.|
Chart courtesy of http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com
As with any repair, research should be done extensively to prevent further damage to your priceless axe. If you are unable to perform a repair, seek an experienced luthier who can do this for you.