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Gibson J-45 with Odd Buzzing


gustophersmob

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Howdy!

 

1st post here. Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the purchase of my J-45. It was made at the end of 1996, and I purchased it new 2/18/98.

 

Starting back in November, I had a bunch of work done to it. In the last month, I've noticed some buzzing. There are many notes on the wound strings, but primarily the E and A strings that have a slight buzzing sound when they are plucked after the note starts to decay. At first I thought it was fret buzz so I started checking relief and action (all of which was recently set up), but then realized it does it on the last fret (20th), so there are no reminding frets to buzz against. I also thought it could be the new bone saddle, but I replaced it with the old Gibson tusq saddle and it still did it, though to a lesser degree. I think the bone emphasizes it as it really brightens up the guitar in general. It does seem to come from the bridge area, but it's hard to say for sure.

 

In case it helps, here is a list of what has been recently done: new bone nut, 1st 9 frets replaced, frets dressed, relief set to not quite dead flat (about 7 mils if I remember), action is about 2.6mm bass 1.6mm treble, new bone saddle, new buffalo horn pins, removed dead Barcus Berry insider pickup, installed Taylor strap button in end hole, changed out Grover rotomatics for gotohs and repaired bridge plate due to wear from string ball ends.

 

Here is what I've done to try and rule all the changes out:

 

1) New tuners: All the nuts and screws are snug. Unless there is an internal defect, I'm not sure how they could cause it.

2) New bone nut: I do here a slight buzzing when the low E string is plucked open, but since it occurs when fretted, I don't see how it could be the nut.

3) 1st 9 frets replaced: It buzzes when fretted on higher frets, most notably around the 12 fret. I think this rules out the replaced ones.

4) Relief and action adjusted: Since I get the buzz on the very last fret, I think this rules out potential action and relief issues.

5) New bone saddle: I really thought this had to be it, but when I swap in the original saddle, it still does it. Its not as prominent with the original, but I think that may be related to the difference in materials.

6) New buffalo horn bridge pins: swapped in the old ebony ones I was using, still has the issue. I have since swapped the horn ones back in.

7) Removed pickup and installed Taylor strap button: I've checked that the new strap button is tight. Not sure what else could fail with it.

8) Bridge plate repair: I noticed the buzzing before the repair. Still present afterwards.

9) Strings: I started noticing it right before the bridge plate repair. A that time I havd Martin SP PB lights on it, which are the strings I've been using at least 10 years. I had my luthier put Martin retro monel lights on it after the bridge plate repair, and they did it. I did not like the monel tone, so I changed them to try DR Rare PB lights, which also have the buzzing.

 

I'm not sure how long it has been buzzing, but I just noticed it about 4-5weeks ago. I've rapped around on the body and neck and do not hear anything. I asked my lutheir about it when he did the bridge plate repair, and he thought it could be humidity related (at the time, I did not realize it buzzed on the last fret, which would seem to rule out most humidity caused issues). I was a bit lax on humidity control, but the last 4 weeks I've beefed it up and the guitar has been at a constant 50-55% humidity. Still buzzes.

 

I'm not sure what else to try. I'm taking it back to my luthier soon, but I thought I'd see if you guys had any ideas.

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It's been a long time since I posted...but, hey always time to start again. I have a '99 Rosewood J45 that had a some buzzing. On mine, under the two pearl dots on the bridge there were threaded bolts. Look inside the body to see if you also have them. One of the nuts on those bolts became loose and the washer was rattling. I just snugged it up and the buzz was gone. Maybe the same thing?

 

Then again, after reading through your post one more time. I guess you would have noticed them.

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I would let it get a little drier. 55% is enough to swell the neck block and get the lower frets to buzz. Check for high frets on the fretboard extension. There are fret rockers available on ebay takes the guess work right out of it.

Without seeing it I would say humidity. I play once a week (or so) with other guitar players, mandolin, and banjo players. I live in the Midwest. Every instrument I have picked up in the last month has been too dry, all of them. There are a lot of people who automatically start in with humidifiers when the furnace comes on without ever knowing what the humidity of their instrument is when simply returning it to the case would be adequate. It sounds like you are in tune to what the R.H. is. Are you taking the reading in the case or in the room you keep the guitar?

Good luck getting it sorted out.

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Recent threads here have all had humidity issues as the possible culprit, and your luthier has similar suspicions. When you say you've been lax on humidity monitoring, you mean . . . (?!)

 

Aliasphobias brings up something not often mentioned when talking about humidity- that is the expansion and contraction of interior components of the guitar body. How does an otherwise snug hex nut kept secure with a castellated washer mysteriously loosen when a guitar dries out? A guitar neck can also act like a barometer, changing with extremes of weather; twisting a bit, depending on the grain in the wood. When dried out, frets ends can stick out, resembling speed bumps up and down the neck. A hygrometer like the Caliber IV is a cheap preventative to an expensive trip to the guitar doc's.

 

Gearbasher- Welcome back! A veteran from the dark ages. 'Hope you've been able to continue playing since you've been gone. Almost had the dreaded time-for-another-guitar-to-go-away for a lengthy stay at the luthier. Was able to press down on the top in the area of the bridge to isolate a vibration on the ol' LG-2; took a look inside and saw a similar sight that you'd experienced... one of the nuts securing the bridge had backed off. Tightened up & back in business:

 

photo-45_zps7o53dfh2.jpg

 

 

Oh- and welcome to the forum.

 

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Recent threads here have all had humidity issues as the possible culprit, and your luthier has similar suspicions. When you say you've been lax on humidity monitoring, you mean . . . (?!)

 

Aliasphobias brings up something not often mentioned when talking about humidity- that is the expansion and contraction of interior components of the guitar body. How does an otherwise snug hex nut kept secure with a castellated washer mysteriously loosen when a guitar dries out? A guitar neck can also act like a barometer, changing with extremes of weather; twisting a bit, depending on the grain in the wood. When dried out, frets ends can stick out, resembling speed bumps up and down the neck. A hygrometer like the Caliber IV is a cheap preventative to an expensive trip to the guitar doc's.

 

Gearbasher- Welcome back! A veteran from the dark ages. 'Hope you've been able to continue playing since you've been gone. Almost had the dreaded time-for-another-guitar-to-go-away for a lengthy stay at the luthier. Was able to press down on the top in the area of the bridge to isolate a vibration on the ol' LG-2; took a look inside and saw a similar sight that you'd experienced... one of the nuts securing the bridge had backed off. Tightened up & back in business:

 

photo-45_zps7o53dfh2.jpg

 

 

Oh- and welcome to the forum.

 

 

Thanks everyone for the welcome. My guitar does not have bridge bolts. I had the pearl dots added for the aesthetic back when I bought the guitar.

 

I think he humidity is fine. I have always had a clay pot humidifier, but no hygrometer. I now have a music nomad sound hole humidifier, a doing in a Baggie and the clay pot. I also have the caliber IV hygrometer now as well. These have had no effect on the buzz.

 

The fact that it does it on the last fret seems to rule out any humidity related neck issues to me.

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