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Filbert

Buzzing at the bridge

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I know asking for diagnostic help on a guitar forum is a little like asking for a medical diagnosis from the Internet but I would appreciate some pearls of wisdom before I resort to a guitar tech. It seems both my Martins (a D28 and a 000-15m) have developed an irritating buzz. On both guitars, it seems to happen on the same string (d string) and when fretting at the 2nd/3rd frets. The buzz seems to be coming from the bridge though - it's not a fret buzz. I am assuming it is something to do with the saddle? I have read that strings can buzz against the saddle if not notched properly. Or is it something else like a simple truss rod adjustment? For what it's worth, I use slightly lighter than standard gauge strings but the buzz has always been there on my D28 since I bought it, even with the Martin factory strings on so I'm not sure that is a factor. I have only recently noticed the buzz on my 000-15m but that may just be because my ears are actively searching for it now. It's not a hugely loud buzz - just on the cusp of hearing. I would describe at as a plastic-y sounding buzz too; it has that kind of timbre to it, if you take my meaning. I thought changing the bridge pins to bone would help but that made no difference. It is extremely annoying though so I would love to get it sorted; I am just not the type of person that can fiddle confidently with a guitar set-up without worrying that I will break it somehow. Any suggestions before visiting (and paying!) a professional?

 

On the plus side, the J15 I bought a couple of weeks ago is fantastic - no complaints there!

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I'm pretty sure that the Martin acoustics have a bolt and nut set into the neck joint; it's only for manufacturing purposes, used to secure the neck to the body and not designed to be adjusted in any way. The nuts can come loose and rattle, causing a buzz. I believe that the nut is hidden behind the serial number plate. If this is the problem the plate needs to be removed and the nut tightened, preferably locked in place with Loctite. However, if this was the problem, I would expect your buzzing problem to be with all strings and fret positions. Clutching at straws but it is also possible that the string ball ends are not properly settled; try loosening all the strings completely, loosening each bridge pin and pulling the string tight before pushing the pin back in. Your "just on the cusp of hearing" remark makes me doubt that it's a fret issue.

 

Good luck

Edited by rickc

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