Buzzes & Rattles

     First, a note on buzzes, rattles and the like.  Resonator guitars are relatively complex machines, with many parts coming together in harmony to make beautiful sounds.  The smallest thing can make a big noise.  When trying to diagnose and fix a problem, it is important to be patient and careful so as not to create further issues.  Beginning (especially squareneck) players should remember that it takes patience and practice to develop a clean barring and picking technique.   Below are a few of the most common problems.  Note: nearly all of these potential issues are addressed in a Genuine Beard Set-up.  If you are not comfortable or confident in any of these fixes, contact us

*Trouble shooting?

Does the buzz or rattle occur on all strings?

Does it occur when the string(s) are played open or barred/ fretted, or both?

Common causes and fixes

-Debris in Cone- Occurs on all strings, open or barred/fretted.  Fix:  Gently shake guitar so the debris escapes through holes in coverplate.  Additionally, see our FAQ on Cone maintenance.

-Loose tension screw-  Occurs on all strings, open or barred/fretted.  Fix: Properly adjust tension screw. See Notes on tension screws in FAQ.

-Spider/ cone assembly unseated or misaligned. Typically occurs on all strings, open or barred/fretted. Occasionally the Spider/ cone assembly can shift in the guitar causing a buzz or rattle.   Fix:  Using a small screw driver reach through cover plate(BE CAREFUL NOT TO TOUCH CONE!) and press onthe sides of spider leg and gently rotate spider approx 1/8 " back and forth in each direction(IMPORTANT, it should take little pressure to move the spider/cone assembly and both the spider and cone should move freely within the soundwell.  If there is alot of resistance or if only the spider moves, STOP! and see notes on *pinched cones below) Repeat a few times.  Then return spider to proper position with the neck facing leg centered between the 4th and 3rd string.

-Pinched or affixed cones:  Older resonator guitars sometimes develop an oval shaped soundwell (due to string tension) that will eventually pinch the cone, rendering it useless. Additionally in some older resonators the cone has been affixed to the soundwell itself. For the best toneand playability, the spider/cone assembly should be free floating in the soundwell. Being one of the issues commonly addressed in a Beard Set-up,  fixing this condition requires a professional.  Please contact us.

-Loose Coverplate Screws, tuners or other hardware-Usually occurs on all strings open or barred/ fretted.  Fix: Check that cover plate screws are tight, being careful not to over tighten and strip out holes or snap screws.  Check that endpin screw is tight.  Check tuners, strum the guitar while holding tuner knobs. Does the buzz disappear?  If so tighten tuner knobs and or bushings.

-Loose neck bolts or screws-Occurs on all strings open or barred/fretted.  This problem is very rare and it often requires complete disassembly, if you suspect this is your rattle or buzz, please contact us.

-Worn or incorrect string slots at bridge- Usually isolated to a certain string or strings, open or barred/fretted.  Resonator bridges take alot of wear and tear.  Eventually the bridge either will need replacing or need to be redressed and leveled. Correct slots in the bridge are essential to get the most from your resonator.   Fix: Contact us.

-Worn or incorrect string slots at nut-  Usually isolated to a certain string or strings, open.  Nuts, like bridges, take a beating over time.  Correct angling of these slots is very important to the sound of your instrument.  Fix:  Contact us. 

-Bad string or strings- Occasionally the source of the offending sound can be in the strings themselves.  If a buzz appears after a string change this is a possible cause.  The third string can be particularly problematic.  At times, due to higher string tension, the wind becomes disconnected from the core, causing a "zinging" sound when played.  See more info on strings here.

-Unlevel Spider bridge- This is a fairly common problem on older and import resonators.  In order to function properly, a spider-bridge must be perfectly flat where the spiders legs contact the cone.  Contact us.

-Worn Bar or Steel-  Occasionally, the source of the buzz can be found not in the guitar itself, but in the bar or steel.  Imperfections, or divots, in the playing surface can be problematic.  Ready for a brand new Bar/ steel?  Check em' out at Resophonic Outfitters!

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