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May 16, 2022 - 11:03:20 AM
283 posts since 12/6/2021

I have been playing the banjo and have been tinkering with banjos that have come into my possession for several years now. I have even gotten pretty good at set up and I have done some successful fret replacements. But this one has me stumped. It is a 2006 Korean made Fender FB58 that I have recently acquired. It plays great and sounds great except for a tinny sizzling (slight buzzing) sound from the 2nd string. I haven't noticed it until recently and I haven't played it much so I don't know if this a new thing or if it has always been there.

I have tightened up every possible thing on it that could ever loosen up. New strings, new bridge (of varying heights), leveled the frets, head tension at 90, adjusted the truss rod to put just a slight bow in the neck, and the string does not seem to be touching or rattling on any fret. Could it be the tailpiece? It is a clamshell and it seems kind of cheaply made to me. I'm going to get a new better made tailpiece (I was thinking of a heavier Price type). Can anyone think of something else I may have missed?

Robert

May 16, 2022 - 11:14:04 AM
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1609 posts since 4/13/2009

nut slot - try a thin piece of paper

May 16, 2022 - 11:52:14 AM
Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

quote:
Originally posted by deestexas

nut slot - try a thin piece of paper


I did fill in the nut slot with a Min-Wax Blend-A-Fil wax pencil. That did not stop the sizzle. I will try the paper shim next and report on my results.

Robert

May 16, 2022 - 12:00:32 PM
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13319 posts since 6/2/2008

Easy way to check if it's a clamshell tailpiece buzzing is to stick something under the cover that both raises it slightly and dampens vibrations.  Piece of weatherstripping works. Slice of rubber foam. Swatch of flannel or towel cloth. Or any fabric thick enough. Piece of cotton ball. Folded piece of business card. Thin corrugated cardboard. Short length of leather lace. Endless possibilities.

But the suggested buzzing in the nut slot is a strong possibility.

May 16, 2022 - 12:31:50 PM
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Blackjaxe47

Canada

1645 posts since 6/20/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

Easy way to check if it's a clamshell tailpiece buzzing is to stick something under the cover that both raises it slightly and dampens vibrations.  Piece of weatherstripping works. Slice of rubber foam. Swatch of flannel or towel cloth. Or any fabric thick enough. Piece of cotton ball. Folded piece of business card. Thin corrugated cardboard. Short length of leather lace. Endless possibilities.

But the suggested buzzing in the nut slot is a strong possibility.


Ken may have nailed it, although those clamshell and 2 hump tailpieces look great they can be problematic. As ken has already mentioned put a piece of thin cork or weatherstripping under the top.....I use double sided tape. So many times that annoying tinny vibration instantly goes away, in my case it can be the 1st 2nd and 3rd string when doing set-up. I have also found that the heavier Prucha tailpieces work and sound much better.

May 16, 2022 - 12:51:15 PM
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Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I tried the paper in the nut slot and the weatherstripping under the clamshell cover. The vibration is still there. I'm going to order a heavier tailpiece (with no cover or other moving parts that can possibly cause an unwanted vibration). I can't think of any other remedy. Maybe you all can think of something else I may have missed.
Robert

May 16, 2022 - 2:28:25 PM
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9651 posts since 8/28/2013

The easiest way to check if buzzing is due to the nut slot is to fret the string. That takes the nut out of the equation.

Have you checked to make sure the string clears the tension hoop enough?

May 16, 2022 - 2:57:44 PM
Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

It does.

Robert

May 16, 2022 - 3:43:25 PM
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13319 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TN Time

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I tried the paper in the nut slot and the weatherstripping under the clamshell cover. The vibration is still there. I'm going to order a heavier tailpiece (with no cover or other moving parts that can possibly cause an unwanted vibration). 


Kershner style tailpiece is good for that.

Only problem I've had with Kershners is the left and right set screws can vibrate and eventually back out on their own. Then they fall on the floor and are lost.  Fortunately, metric stainless steel replacements are available at the hardware store.  Don't look the same, but they work.

May 16, 2022 - 5:29 PM
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34 posts since 7/20/2017

Long shot, but check the truss rod to make sure it has adequate tension in it. Loose truss rods have been known to buzz or rattle.

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May 16, 2022 - 5:35:32 PM
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banjonz

New Zealand

11447 posts since 6/29/2003

You say that the sizzing sound occurs on the 2nd string.? I assume that the string is not fretted when this happens? If so, fret the first string and pluck it to see if the sound is there. Do this for each fret. If the sound goes away when fretted at the first fret, it would point to the nut slot. Asian made nut slots tend to be cut straight. I have worked on a lot of Asian banjos and when I have an issue like your, I recut the slot on an angle at the front of the nut (where the string enters). I have tried adding a bit of paper to the slot to raise it up but I find it does not always work. I use a proper Stewmac R12 &/16 slot file. This alters the angle at which the string sits in the slot. Just my 2c worth

May 16, 2022 - 7:38:47 PM
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18 posts since 9/1/2020

Check that your bridge isn't leaning a tad forward
It could be the slot in the bridge too

May 16, 2022 - 8:17:32 PM
Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

Thanks forth additional responses. The truss rod is tight. The second string will sizzle some even when fretted. The bridge is straight up and the bridge slot is snug. I'm still betting on the tailpiece, but I won't know until I change it.
Robert

May 16, 2022 - 8:20:22 PM
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13319 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TN Time
quote:
Originally posted by deestexas

nut slot - try a thin piece of paper


I did fill in the nut slot with a Min-Wax Blend-A-Fil wax pencil. That did not stop the sizzle. I will try the paper shim next and report on my results.


I don't think that puts enough substance into the slot.

May 16, 2022 - 8:34:15 PM
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416 posts since 6/15/2021

I had a Presto style tailpiece minus the cover. I had a metallic ringing in sympathy with the first string open. If I tuned it slightly sharp or flat, the ringing stopped. So, different symptoms for yours. Nevertheless, I changed to a no-knot tailpiece and the problem went away. On a reso banjo, you probably want a tailpiece with some downbearing, though. But a $10 no-knot could be the key to diagnosis.

Also, some people weave a strip of felt or a pipe cleaner through the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece. Might not be the thing, but cheap and easy to try.

May 16, 2022 - 9:56:27 PM
Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

Thanks juggler. The felt didn't work either.

Robert

May 16, 2022 - 10:02:25 PM
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Bart Veerman

Canada

5205 posts since 1/5/2005

quote:
Originally posted by TN Time

the bridge slot is snug


Bridge slots should not  be snug, they need to be at least 3 ~6 thou wider/deeper than the string's gauge. Welding tip cleaners come in handy to fix that: use the next thicker size than the current slot to smoothen things out. You can get a set of those in most hardware stores/departments, they're about $5 or so and are a great thing to keep in your banjo case.

Sometimes a piece of whatever foreign material (potato chip pieces, that tiny little screw you once found) gets stuck in between the top edge of the tone ring and head so take off the rez and check that little "ledge" area for crud.

Call Ghostbusters?

Ken: yeah, them darn screws on the Kershners sure know how to rattle/buzz, don't they...

Good luck!

Oh, please do let us know how, once you solved this puzzle, what/how you did because there's always a solution that us banjoeys forgot, or didn't know, about.

Edited by - Bart Veerman on 05/16/2022 22:06:23

May 16, 2022 - 11:03:17 PM
Players Union Member

TN Time

USA

283 posts since 12/6/2021

Thanks for your comments, Bart. I will check the string slots and the "ledge" under the resonator. I will definitely let everyone know how I progress. Hey Bart, you stay up late like I do. Why not? When you are retired you can stay up and wake up anytime you want. To me, that is a luxury benefit part of retirement.
Robert

May 17, 2022 - 5:37:28 AM

heavy5

USA

2287 posts since 11/3/2016

Ck the armrest & tap it to see if it rattles against any pot parts .
I've stuck thin weather strip foam to the underside to eliminate any buzzing , rattles , etc ..

Also , just because the truss rod is tight doesn't insure against unwanted vibes . Try adjusting it slightly either way & u may discover good results w/o radically altering string height or intonation .

Edited by - heavy5 on 05/17/2022 05:47:14

May 17, 2022 - 5:52:24 AM

351 posts since 11/9/2021

A sizzle that persists from open string to fretted notes means that is something besides the nut and frets is involved. Me, I would that the whole thing apart and reassemble it making sure there is no foreign material stuck anywhere and that all hardware are correctly tightened and not touching things they are not supposed to. Maddening to say the least. Had a fiddle that would buzz on certain notes, turned out to be the makers label inside the fiddle was coming unglued on one side and would buzz on certain notes. Took me awhile to figure out that one.

May 17, 2022 - 5:59:16 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1500 posts since 10/15/2019

Sympathetic vibrations from something else? Capo up a few frets and see if it's still there. Could be something, somewhere set off by a B note. Any problem with 3rd string, 4th fret? I'm fishing in the dark here, but obviously this is a tough nut to crack.

May 17, 2022 - 6:04:06 AM

kd8tzc

USA

319 posts since 4/11/2022

I know you said it was the 2nd string, but could the 1st string be hitting the tension ring? I know from changing the head on my banjo that I didn't have the tension ring exactly aligned and my 5th string was just hitting the tension ring and causing a sound like you describe. The fix was rotating the tension ring just slightly.

May 17, 2022 - 7:23:05 AM
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4398 posts since 10/13/2005

The oddest, craziest buzz I ever dealt with was....after I eliminated all other possibilities...I determined that it must be a loose neck rod nut, and so it was. banjered

May 17, 2022 - 8:43:12 AM

416 posts since 6/15/2021

Might I assume this happens in different rooms and maybe with different people playing?

I went half nuts diagnosing a buzz in a piano once. Turned out to be a ceramic figurine on a shelf a few feet away.

At least banjos are more portable than pianos.


Airplanes are a lot of fun to troubleshoot because there are two, three, or four of most things. You can swap the left and right inboard auxiliary frambulators to see if the problem moves. Same with the ignition system on an airhead BMW motorcycle: two coils, two plug wires, two plugs.

Can you swap the head or maybe the bridge, tailpiece, etc with another banjo to see if the problem moves or goes away?

May 17, 2022 - 8:44:52 AM

416 posts since 6/15/2021

Most of the discussion has been on the bottom end. Have you checked the tuners for loose bits?

May 17, 2022 - 9:21:18 AM

thor363

USA

28 posts since 12/12/2021

These guys probably have you covered. I just got done adjusting the action on an old Ventura so my son-in-law can pick on it a bit. I'd also gone through the bridge adjustment, and tail peice also. When I was done it was far better, but still had a little something I couldn't put my finger on. So, I took off the resonator and the tiny screws that hold the 90* brackets to the resonator were all able to move around quite a bit. Tightened them up carefully, and that 'something' I couldn't identify really cleared up. Seems that was all it was. This one is as clean as it will play now, which is quite nice for what it is.

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