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Buzzing on a Guitar String When I Tune Down

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by rbf738, Feb 10, 2010.

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  1. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    I have a Epiphone Les Paul Standard and have to tune down a full step for one song and noticed that the B string buzzes when I bring it down to the A. The D string did as well but quickly and inexplicably corrected itself so I figured maybe I could make that happen to the B, as well. Any suggestions besides "don't tune down a full step"? Thanks guys.
     
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    No, I'm not going to tell you to tune the guitar back up. Hellsbells, Jimmy Page used to drop-tune the low 'E' back before you were born. But when you lower the pitch ofthe strings, you are also lessening the tension on the neck. As a result, what slight bow the neck needs to have to yield correct fret relief to minimize buzzing is gone, and the neck may twist ever so slightly when you tune down a string (s). What to do? How about replacing the offensive string(s) with a slightly heavier gauge, raising the bridge on that side a hair,or have a competent guitar tech re-torque the trussrod to give you the proper fret relief...
     
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The only thing I would add to moonbaby's good advice is, if your epiphone LP has a bolt on neck it can be shimmed to raise the action a bit too. And that any of these suggestions will affect the action in a way you may not like when you go back up to standard tuning for all the other songs. The least destructive thing would be the bridge adjustment, try it just a whisker higher on the one end - and see if you can find a happy medium.
     
  4. musicmantest

    musicmantest Guest

    When you tune down, use heavier strings. SRV did it on his Strats and so does Tony Iommi (on his SG's). That's help bring back some of the neck tension needed.
     
  5. moles

    moles Active Member

    Or, if it's something you only need to do for that one song, just raise the bridge saddles when you down-tune. Much simpler than mucking about with your trussrod, new strings, or shimming the neck.
     
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    All the advice above might or might not be good. The first thing you have to do is determine where the string is buzzing. Do you have a problem at the nut? Middle of the neck? Bridge?

    Basically, any or all of the suggestions above might be necessary. The point is that your guitar needs to be set up correctly to play in alternate tunings with the strings you desire. The frets have to be level, the nut has to be cut properly for the string gauges, the neck angle has to be right, the bridge has to be adjusted correctly, and the truss rod has to have the right amount of relief. It takes the right tools and some practice. It's not rocket surgery. Or you can pay someone who knows what they are doing. Most people who bill themselves as guitar techs do not know what they are doing. If you have someone good in your area, paying them is cheaper than buying the tools.
     
  7. musicmantest

    musicmantest Guest

    If you want to save some money in the long run, and really learn what's going on with your guitar, go to the stewmac.com website. They have all the tools, supplies, books & dvd's to help you do practically anything needed to get a guitar in excellent playing shape.
     
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I agree with this, but depending on how crazy you are about buying tools it will be several setups before you start saving money.
     
  9. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Smartest post I've ever seen on this board. Poof...you're done. Especially if this is just a temp thing for 1 or 2 tunes. maybe take a look at the custom set with Dave Gilmours name on it from GHS strings. They start with a 10.5 guage...it's a nice set. All the other steps for setup and neck tension adjustments, etc. are great if you're going to be playing all your stuff tuned down a whole step.
     

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