Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

robithinker
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Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by robithinker » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:41 pm

I am looking to replace my existing guitar with one with lower action. I went to the a guitar shop today and played every cheap classical they had that didn‘t have a cutaway or pickups (about 6 models). I play a Yamaha CG142S, CG162S and C, a CG192S, an Alhambra 5P and some other Spanish named guitar that I had never heard of, but which was the most expensive, at about 600 bucks. Every one of them, literally everyone, buzzed when I fretted at the 2nd fret on the D string. When I had to fret with just one finger, up close to the fret itself, it was fine, but as soon as I had to move my second finger over to make room for my third finger to fret the G string on the second fret as well, it buzzed. Didn‘t matter what I did, I could press the D string all the way down to the fingerboard and it would still buzz. My 3rd finger was not interfering with the D string, so it’s kind of a mystery to me. I enjoyed the sound of most of the guitars, and the action on many was lower than my current guitar, so they felt nicer to play. But i was shocked to find that all of them buzzed like that. They also buzzed on the fourth fret with similar fingerings. Is it just that common that guitars below 500 bucks will have buzzing? It just doesn‘t seem possible. I‘m going to go to a different guitar shop Friday and try all the guitars they have for under 700 bucks and see if it‘s any different. All I want is a cheap guitar, with low action and good build quality and no buzzing. For this I am willing to sacrifice tone/sound. I will be buying a nice guitar once I have been playing long enough to be sure CTS doesn‘t come back. Any thoughts?

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dta721
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by dta721 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:14 pm

robithinker wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:41 pm
I am looking to replace my existing guitar with one with lower action. ...(snip)....
All I want is a cheap guitar, with low action and good build quality and no buzzing. For this I am willing to sacrifice tone/sound. I will be buying a nice guitar once I have been playing long enough to be sure CTS doesn‘t come back. Any thoughts?
How low is low in your requirement of "low action"?

By design, AFAIK a classical guitar requires an action of 4/3 mm, 4mm on the bass E, 3mm treble at 12th fret, measured from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. Anything lower than this will make a classical guitar prone to buzzing. And then, there can be a problem of un-even frets, that can also cause buzzing.

In fairness to "cheap" guitars, even more expensive guitars can still have buzzing if the action is too low, or problems with frets deterioration over the years of use or abuse.

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prawnheed
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by prawnheed » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:20 pm

If they don't buzz when fretted properly, but do when not, then I don't think it is a problem with the guitars.

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dta721
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by dta721 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:30 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:20 pm
If they don't buzz when fretted properly, but do when not, then I don't think it is a problem with the guitars.
You meant player's "finger problem"? Touché :)

Bax Burgess
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by Bax Burgess » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:32 pm

robithinker, I guess you use a firm hand, paired with a fret that is slightly higher than the others. A higher saddle could/would be the quickest cure.

robithinker
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by robithinker » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:33 pm

The action was somewhere between 4 and 4.5 on the low E side for nearly all of them.

Regarding technique, yes of course I was thinking the entire time that it could/must be me. But while my CG technique is only now being learned, I have been playing the 4-5 chords that I know for over 30 years. I also tested the 4th string by playing it independently with my finger in multiple positions. Right next the fret was fine, but when I moved it just slightly away from the fret it would buzz. As far as I am aware, if the string buzzes when you fret it it away from the metal, then you can compensate some by adjusting the pressure (although I am aware that heavy pressure is not good technique). By adjusting the pressure slightly, or a lot as the case may be, the buzzing should stop. Not so with these guitars.

robithinker
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by robithinker » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:38 pm

Bax Burgess wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:32 pm
robithinker, I guess you use a firm hand, paired with a fret that is slightly higher than the others. A higher saddle could/would be the quickest cure.
My current action is about 6mm on the 6th string at the 12th fret, due to the age of the guitar, which may indeed have caused me to use more pressure than would normally be necessary. I am actually trying to get lower action so I can reduce the pressure and prevent CTS.

Bax Burgess
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by Bax Burgess » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:43 pm

Aim for no higher than 3mm action on the #1 string. I use 2.5, but then I level the frets on just about every guitar that passes through my hands.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:57 am

It sounds to me, at least since you were playing lower end guitars, that there may have been some uneven frets on all of them, assuming you weren't playing too far away from the frets. I have a guitar which I paid $ 180 dollars for new, that came with an action of 3.6mm on the bass side, and 3.2mm on the treble side. And, all the frets were even. I checked it with a small straight edge when I was at the store.

I have noticed though, even on my Ramirez, that if I don't put my fingers close enough to the fret that buzzing will occur. You should go to Guitar Center and check out the Lucero LC200S. They go for around $299.00 new. I happened to get mine on sale. The fit and finish puts Cordoba to shame. Especially at that price. Low action and no buzzing.

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Beowulf
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by Beowulf » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:05 pm

It may also have to do with your technique/playing style. With the 6mm action at the 12th fret that you are used to playing, you may be using a fairly heavy right hand stroke and have adjusted your playing style to suit. The D string has the greatest travel and thus many saddles are slightly higher at that point. If you are "digging in" on the D when playing a chord, that may account for the buzzing. Just about every guitar can be made to buzz if you play too heavily...and particularly the D. When you drop the action, you may need to adjust your touch.
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beanctr
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by beanctr » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:25 pm

I don't consider the Yamaha CG192 a "cheap" guitar. I have one and it is excellent. I lowered the action a little when I got it and its never buzzed. R
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BethFR
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by BethFR » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:11 pm

I have been very frustrated by the same problem of buzzing D string on guitars ranging from $300-$600. Changing string gauge does not help. I've been playing for 11 years and do not have this problem on either my Yamaha guitars or my Darren Hippner, so I wouldn't necessarily blame the player's technique. I do think it is a combination of high frets and too-low action. I have experience this across several different brands of factory guitar.

My advice is to stick with Yamaha if you are looking for an inexpensive guitar that will intonate properly and not buzz. Or insist that the store level the frets and set it up properly to remove the buzz. I think they set the action really low to appeal to crossover players who take it in their heads that they might like to try classical.

BellyDoc
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by BellyDoc » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:44 am

Why not just lower the action on the guitar that you have?
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BethFR
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by BethFR » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:16 am

I believe the problem in these guitars is that the action is already set too low. I have been trying to find a relatively inexpensive 630 scale guitar to take with me to work as a music therapist, as I do not want to bring my luthier guitar to sessions, and am not satisfied with the tone and projection of the 3/4 size Yamaha I bought for my son several years ago. The problem in my particular case is that there are no short scale guitars to be found locally. I order guitars on the internet, they have problems that I don't want to spend more money fixing, so I end up sending them back. That's been 4 so far. I'm giving up for now.

I was curious to see if the D buzz was a universal problem on lower-end guitars, or just short scale. Turns out it seems to be the vast majority of them, based on my unscientific sample.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Buzzing on Cheap Guitars

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:05 am

robithinker wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:41 pm
I am looking to replace my existing guitar with one with lower action. I went to the a guitar shop today and played every cheap classical they had that didn‘t have a cutaway or pickups (about 6 models). I play a Yamaha CG142S, CG162S and C, a CG192S, an Alhambra 5P and some other Spanish named guitar that I had never heard of, but which was the most expensive, at about 600 bucks. Every one of them, literally everyone, buzzed when I fretted at the 2nd fret on the D string. When I had to fret with just one finger, up close to the fret itself, it was fine, but as soon as I had to move my second finger over to make room for my third finger to fret the G string on the second fret as well, it buzzed. Didn‘t matter what I did, I could press the D string all the way down to the fingerboard and it would still buzz. My 3rd finger was not interfering with the D string, so it’s kind of a mystery to me. I enjoyed the sound of most of the guitars, and the action on many was lower than my current guitar, so they felt nicer to play. But i was shocked to find that all of them buzzed like that. They also buzzed on the fourth fret with similar fingerings. Is it just that common that guitars below 500 bucks will have buzzing? It just doesn‘t seem possible. I‘m going to go to a different guitar shop Friday and try all the guitars they have for under 700 bucks and see if it‘s any different. All I want is a cheap guitar, with low action and good build quality and no buzzing. For this I am willing to sacrifice tone/sound. I will be buying a nice guitar once I have been playing long enough to be sure CTS doesn‘t come back. Any thoughts?
Robi, I know this thread is old, but what happened? Did you figure out what was causing the buzz? Did you get a new guitar? Did you have your guitar adjusted? By the way, I just acquired a new to me Yamaha CG192S that was perfect. All the frets were level. The tuners work great. Action was high at 5.5 mm/4mm, lowered it to 4mm/3.2mm, and had to lower the G nut slot so the first fret note wouldn't be sharp. Cost $300. And that guitar sounds better, and plays better than a Luthier made guitar that my wife just bought me. Maybe I lucked out. Have you been keeping the CTS at bay?
Scott

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