Buzzing G & Strings
So about a month after my violin returned from being serviced, the G string is buzzing again. My teacher doesn't know if it's the strings or the violin, he's good at figuring oddities out but he's unsure on this one. A month ago they dressed the keyboard, adjusted the notches on the nut, as well as the bridge and sound-post. Thankfully, my teacher tells me that it isn't as noticeable a few feet away as it is under my ear
I guess this is a two-fold question:
1. Are some strings more prone to buzzing than others? I only hear this on the G and in 3rd position, my teacher hears it in all positions (guess I'm just used to hearing it in 1st).
2. If 1 = true, then are some strings less prone, or is this totally dependent on the specific violin?
3. How sensitive are gut strings to changes in weather/humidity?
Based on a previous thread where many of you commented (thanks), and input from my teacher, I think I will try the EP Gold or the PI Reds. Hoping new strings will calm the buzzing/whatever that sound is. I'm am a bit leery of the EP as I keep reading how short lived they are, even though my luthier recommended them and have read the PI Reds may well work for me.
AND Shar has a sale...
Catherine - I have never had a buzzing string, so your post puzzles me. However, you have my sympathy.
They just had it a couple weeks ago for well over a week. I don't use a mute. To me it sounds more like growling than buzzing, that's what my teacher calls it. I don't know what wolf tones sounds like but if it IS a wolf, it's the entire blasted pack of them...
The string might be to low and hitting the fingerboard, if so find a better luthier!!
The tailpiece is also a prime spot for buzzing.
Lyndon, starting to wonder the same thing - but there aren't too many options here and, of course. I've a maintenance agreement. They DID take care of the problem for a few weeks at least, perhaps this is another issue. It IS interesting that new Dominants seemed to take 3 weeks to settle in, and whatever it was didn't return until after my strings settled in (tuning became stable). I don't think Dominants are supposed to take that long to settle in?
Cotton - did it actually sound like buzzing or like growling?
I know you just got your violin back from the luthier and not eager to go back there. But things can change especially in the summer with the humidity. Your best bet is to go back and get a proper diagnosis.
Loose purfling, peg ornaments, or open seams can cause buzzing. Also if your bridge is not straight, that could be a reason it buzzes. Take it to your luthier and have him/her check for those things.
To test Lyndon's hypothesis-- slide a business card under the string and move it towards the nut. Typically you should be able to slide it all the way to the nut without it binding.
Thanks for the tips, I will hold off on ordering new strings until this is figured out. Earlier this evening I looked at the distance between the G and fingerboard - it looked clear to me but I'm no expert. Obviously I can't both look at it and play at the same time - but it was fine for 3 weeks...
Measure how many mm the G string is above the fingerboard at the bridge end of the fingerboard, should not be less than 4.7mm from the fingerboard to the bottom of the string.
Do you have tailpiece fine tuners for all the strings, or just the e-string? In any case, check to be sure that all the tuner parts are screwed down snug. You or your teacher probably already thought of this, so forgive me if I'm just pointing out the obvious.
Thanks Lyndon and Mark - will do. More news as there is some - thanks to all!
Play scales up the G string to see exactly where the buzz starts and where it stops. I think it is possible that if the luthier did not scoop the fingerboard correctly when "dressing" it there might be a local irregularity interfering with your string. At least that is the first thing I would suspect.
Thanks Andrew - according to my teacher it happens at every note on the string. Apparently I've become so accustomed to it in 1st position that I don't "hear" it - until C# (G3). As I heard no difference in 1st position when I brought it home (though G3 and higher was fine for 3 weeks), and he hears it at all notes, that makes me suspect both Lyndon and you have hit on it.
If paying loudly makes the buzz worse and playing quietly makes the buzz go away, that would probably be your fingerboard too close.
A string height issue would only show up when playing loudly; a fingerboard dressing issue would only show up on a specific note, and both of these would be an unmistakable buzz and not a "growl". So I would look elsewhere for the source of this mystery.
It is consistent regardless of how loud, or softly I play. It did go away for a few weeks after my recent service - but they also did change my strings to a new set of Dominants at that time. To me it really does sound like a growl that almost echos. However, words on a forum post pale when attempting to describe it.
I've an appointment with the luthier who did the last work on my violin tomorrow afternoon, so we will see how it goes. They are being quite responsive, and thanks for your comments on this.
The verdict is in - from the same lutheir who did the work last month. The fingerboard "scoop" is the culprit. Apparently it's impacting all of the strings, but the G is the one really noticeable. He said that he would make this a priority. There was nothing else wrong with it that he could find, just the fingerboard itself.
I hope hes not charging you as you said he already planed the fingerboard once. Should have got it right the first time.
Agreed Lyndon - I was careful not to point the finger in our discussion as I didn't think that a productive approach but I also have a service agreement - so there was no charge last time or this time. I suspect over-work the culprit - he has a great reputation.
Reporting on the end of this story. My violin returned from the shop today, and it sounds much better than before (and it sounded pretty good before - outside of the buzzing G string). The Luthier told me that he hadn't addressed the scoop last month - he had done more general polishing and some light dressing at that time that he thought would be enough, but of course it wasn't. This was a full planing and scoop reconfiguration along with the other things associated with that work.
Are you sure your Pirastro Gold E string wasn't whistling before? Any plain steel string or coated steel string will whistle due to the density of only steel reducing the string diameter to the bare minimum, and the smaller the diameter, the more whistle prone. I don't know the exact science but I'm sure someone here can explain. Anyway, if the whistling is enough of a problem for you to want to sacrifice the brilliance and penetration of steel, then you will need to choose an aluminium wound, Warchal Amber, or gut E string in order to increase the diameter and thus eliminate whistling.
James I've had the least amount of whistling with the plain Goldbrokat E, and the most with the PI platinum. I think it's just violin-and-player-dependent.
I'm unsure if it's actually whistling or something else, hopefully the former. It's not very loud at all, and only in 3rd position. Perhaps I just didn't notice it before. I've not been in 3rd for very long and possibly I'm doing something odd with my bow. Surely after 2 luthier visits in 4 weeks it isn't anything else!
As it turns out, the problem was with my bow, not my violin. No whistling at all. The Luthier reconfigured the scoop of my fingerboard, and now I'm hearing some things that I wasn't able to hear before - such was the good news from my teacher this evening. It sounds much better now as can be imagined. Next step is to put my new set of Vision Solos on this violin and see what I, and the violin, think about them.
Glad it all worked out. Good luck with the new strings.
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