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Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Steve Killingsworth, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. My A string has a buzz when I play it open. If I play the note lightly it doesn't buzz. However, if I pluck harder, the buzz sounds out. What could be causing this? The bass is a new Engelhardt ES-9 that I have had for about 3 months. I had Dave Harvey of the Violin Shop in Nashville set it up. He did dress the fingerboard among other things. Any opinions or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Rather then being a problem with your bass, it might be a problem with your pizzicato (plucking) technique. Your finger should sweep across the string without pulling the string toward the fingerboard.
  3. If Engelhardt is still stocking their basses with the same crappy endpin that mine came with (early 1970s), then that could be your culprit. Unless fully extended, that endpin would buzz like crazy.

    Also, was the fingerboard properly dressed?
  4. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Could be the string itself.
  5. Definitely not the endpin. I know because I had that problem when I first got the bass. As long as it is TIGHT there are no problems. As to the dressing, I believe it was well done. Dave Harvey (the luthier who planed the board) has an excellent reputation in Nashville. The pizz could be part of my problem. I have noticed that when I get a little carried away, I may pull the string away from the board a little more. The confusing thing is that it only happens on this string.

  6. Steve - Do you get this buzz when you finger Bb on the A string? Is there enough clearance under the A string to slip a business card under it at the nut?
  7. Some buzz on Bb--and no, a card will not slide under the string. I do have an adjustable bridge and the action is set pretty low. Do you think raising the bridge a little might make a difference? I like the low action and do not want to raise it much but if it might help I would be willing to try.

  8. Try putting a piece of a business card under the string on the Nut so that you raise the string height a little at the nut.
  9. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC

    I have a new-ish Engelhardt EM-1 with a buzzing open D string. It is due to the nut being a little too low for the D. It is more pronounced with lower-tension strings. I'm just living with it at this point.
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Your fingerboard does not have enough camber (scoop) for the way you play. The dressing probably needs to be redone.
  11. Steve - If raising the A string at the nut helped, but did not eliminate the buzz, you may need to take your bass back to have it re-dressed too. In your case, I think the problem is probably a high spot on the fingerboard within about 6 inches or so from the nut. If raising the A string eliminated the buzzing, you probably still have a high spot, but just not as bad.
  12. Thanks for all the input. I am going to raise the bridge slightly and see how that works. If I can't live with that, I will probably follow your advice and take it back for some more work.

  13. On closer inspection, the bridge was slightly lower on the AE side. I evened it out and while the buzz did not completely disappear, it is MUCH better. Thanks again for the input.

  14. Mine does the same thing. Raised the bridge, still buzz, shim the nut still buzz. Corelli 370M and only the A string.

    For me it was my plucking. The E can do it also.
    Finger board has been dressed, end pin is long gone.

    I found if I pluck better maybe even proper I get no buzz and the volume I was looking for is there but it swells to the volume. Unlike a BG where the harder you pluck the more volume you get.

    Give it a shot.

  15. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    One of these days I'll make a post of things that cause buzzes. I can easily think of over 20.
    I agree with Arnold, it's probably something in the scoop of the board, or the string is too low at the nut. Jim Ferguson in Nashville might be able to help you. A lot of guys who work on violins have no idea what to do with basses.
  16. Oh - how true!

    And... they will do things to basses that they would never think of doing to a violin.