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  1. #1

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    When a string is plucked from being still, its wideness increases with the vibration. This picture describes it better.



    My questions is: Is this more severe with brand new strings? Does it get less severe after a while?

    Having been on a while I wonder if string's weight becomes slightly unbalanced, such as with more finger grease where the frets are pushed down on, and cleaner in the area between the fretboard and where they are plucked. Could this unbalance cause a less even string resonance and therefore less sever widening of vibration as above?

    Just bought a new electro-acoustic Yamaha NTC700C Nylon String. The low E string buzzes on the 1st - 4th frets, although only when I hit them hard enough with a thick pick (light pick / fingerstyle no problem). I've made it better with the truss rod, the buzz does not last. I found this video interesting. I can hear a lot of fretbuzz on the lower notes for the Flamenco bit, but it sounds normal, acceptable, good to me.



    I have to wonder if at 1:58 the string buzz he refers to "as bad" is unavoidable if you pluck it that hard?

    So I'm am curious if it will diminish further in time? Perhaps my problem is like driving a new car. Is it supposed to feel like this or is it just me getting used to it? If a guitar I'd had for 10 years sounded like this I suspect I would not bat an eyelid.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I just finished waves in my Physics 3 class. The wideness of the string is called amplitude. The amplitude is how hard you pluck the string.

    However, people say that when strings get older, they get oily, which means they add mass. The period does change with added mass. Period T = 2pi sqrt(m/k). With greater mass, it takes more time to stop the string, then reverse its direction. That still doesn't change the wideness. Also, it MIGHT (I stress MIGHT) oscillate back and forth less with greater mass. In other words, it will decrease in amplitude quicker.


    We only spent a couple of weeks on waves. Next semester I'm taking Modern Physics (among other physics classes) at UC Santa Cruz; I will have a better understanding after that class. We will go over waves again but in more detail. Then, I will take Classical Mechanics... MORE waves!

  4. #3

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    Strings do not get wider when plucked. They move, of course, and a photo made with a relatively slow camera makes the string look thicker, because it's showing the string over time, in multiple positions. A high-speed camera can take a photo fast enough to show the string in only one position, and it will be the same diameter as when it started, or so close to it that the eye cannot see any difference. The vibration pattern, and the amount of excursion depends more on the force imparted by the pluck than on the slight difference in weight from grease, dirt, etc. The amount of buzz is affected mostly by the action and neck relief. Higher action and more relief result in less, or no, buzz, but also affects playability and intonation. It's all a compromise.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by eh6794-2.0 View Post
    I just finished waves in my Physics 3 class. The wideness of the string is called amplitude. The amplitude is how hard you pluck the string.

    However, people say that when strings get older, they get oily, which means they add mass. The period does change with added mass. Period T = 2pi sqrt(m/k). With greater mass, it takes more time to stop the string, then reverse its direction. That still doesn't change the wideness. Also, it MIGHT (I stress MIGHT) oscillate back and forth less with greater mass. In other words, it will decrease in amplitude quicker.

    We only spent a couple of weeks on waves. Next semester I'm taking Modern Physics (among other physics classes) at UC Santa Cruz; I will have a better understanding after that class. We will go over waves again but in more detail. Then, I will take Classical Mechanics... MORE waves!
    Interesting. Amplitude would be the word I'm looking for.

    "With greater mass, it takes more time to stop the string"

    I wonder about the hardness of the mass? If anyone has accidentally got a booger on a string after rubbing a sniffley nose (the mass is increased, but with a soft material), they will know the string will sound muted and not last as long when plucked, in fact it often kills the string. If on the other hand you welded a small piece of solid metal on the string I wouldn't be surprised if it made its vibration more violent / louder / sustained.
    Perhaps what I'm wondering with increasing mass is more about the material itself; accumulation of ones own natural, soft, oils from fingers with use over time. Also the uneven distribution of ones own finger oils across the length of the string, being more prominent in areas that you play.

    If ignoring the effects of mass and assuming the same amplitude, I would have thought that older strings will have less noticeable buzz (whether the good or bad kind) for the same reason brand new strings often sound tinny and metallic at first, then get more natural sounding over time. The little bounces against the frets that make the buzzing noise are with a slightly softer less metallic surface of a more used string.

  6. #5

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    Greater mass means greater inertia, not necessarily greater amplitude. The greater the mass, the more force needed to produce the same amplitude, all else being equal.

  7. #6

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    I think the mass of finger oils, skin detritus, and dirt would be insignificant relative to the mass of the string. It would have no effect on fret buzz, which is mostly a matter of the fretboard geometry, frets, and picking technique.

    The most significant effect of dirt and oil in fret windings is probably due to damping—something like shock absorbers on a car or a series resistor/capacitor in an audio circuit. It will tend to absorb high frequencies more than low frequencies and reduce sustain.

    String wear (grooves) from frets and uneven stretching can cause intonation problems and can screw up the harmonic content in the string making the tone unpleasant, but it won’t have much effect on fret buzz.

    Corrosion can also do bad things, dulling high frequencies, screwing up harmonic content, and causing intonation problems.

  8. #7

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    My experience is that old strings have a bit more tendency to buzz, at least on my guitar (a 1970s ES175). What I assume is happening is that where I have got some fret wear on lower frets, over time the strings start to buzz against the next fret up. But it's really very subtle, not really that noticeable, and only in certain places. It's not really audible through an amp, mainly it's the acoustic sound.

    When it reaches the point where it annoys me too much, I simply put on a new set of strings and the problem goes away for several months. (I use .012 flatwounds).

    My (not very scientific) guess is that the strings get some build up of dirt or maybe they suffer some slight wear especially if they are fretted more frequently in certain areas, and perhaps over time this makes the amplitude of vibration more uneven, maybe enough to just touch the frets.

  9. #8

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    In my experience, fret buzz at the first few frets can be caused by not enough neck bow (too straight or even back-bowed), while fret buzz up around the ninth fret can be caused by too much neck bow. If you can't find a good compromise between the two by adjusting the truss rod, maybe raise the bridge a little.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    My experience is that old strings have a bit more tendency to buzz, at least on my guitar (a 1970s ES175). What I assume is happening is that where I have got some fret wear on lower frets, over time the strings start to buzz against the next fret up. But it's really very subtle, not really that noticeable, and only in certain places. It's not really audible through an amp, mainly it's the acoustic sound.
    If the frets have create a flat spot or groove in the windings, I suspect that would make the string ride a little lower over the neighboring frets up the neck, making them buzz a little easier when fretted at that position. Of course if a fret gets a flat spot or groove that would have a similar effect. In my cowboy chord years my frets near the nut got some serious grooves. In my blues bendy years the upper frets got wide flattened areas. I was too poor or too cheap to get a refret.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    If the frets have create a flat spot or groove in the windings, I suspect that would make the string ride a little lower over the neighboring frets up the neck, making them buzz a little easier when fretted at that position. Of course if a fret gets a flat spot or groove that would have a similar effect. In my cowboy chord years my frets near the nut got some serious grooves. In my blues bendy years the upper frets got wide flattened areas. I was too poor or too cheap to get a refret.
    On my guitar it only happens on the E or B (unwound) strings. It really is very subtle though, I doubt anyone else but me would notice it.

    I could get a refret, but an occasional new set of strings is cheaper!