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HeadCheese
Plano, Texas
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June 27, 2012 - 8:47 am
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While playing around with my wife's violin the other day*, I noticed that the E string sounded a little choked and had a slight buzz to it. All the other strings ring when plucked, but the E string has a rapid, buzzy decay as though it's making contact somewhere along the length of its run. It's not noticeable when bowed, only when plucked pizzicato.

Where should I look to find the culprit, and what do you suggest by way of rectifying the situation?

 

*Yes, I do this from time to time, just to see if I can play the same tunes I know on the Viola. Results are ... mixed. LOL

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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June 27, 2012 - 9:01 am
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With plucking the string the movement in the string is much greater than when bowed. Keeping this in mind I would check up along the fingrboard to see if the string is hitting it.  A trick, put a little powder on the fingerboard and pluck the string. If it is hitting you will see it in the powder. Next Check the fine tuners. If they become loose they can buzz. If nothing there try moving the tailpiece. Changing the distance from the bridge to the tailpiece will change the freguency of the string from the bridge to the tailpiece. If none of that works the best fix is don't pluck it.

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HeadCheese
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June 27, 2012 - 9:56 am
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Kevin M. said
<snip> If none of that works the best fix is don't pluck it.

"Hey Doc, it hurts when I move my arm"

"Don't move your arm, then."

roflol

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ftufc
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June 27, 2012 - 10:23 am
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Doesn't it sound like the core of the E may be broken???  I had this problem on the G when I had a viola,,, sort of a buzzing noise when "excited" too much.  My teacher and FM both said it was probably the core; so I replaced the string,,, problem gone.

It's a thought,,, before you remodel parts of the house.

OOPS!  Just looked at my old viola E and it's solid steel, no core, sorry.  Obviously my G had a core, and it was broken, but you are talking about the E,,,, no core.

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DanielB
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June 27, 2012 - 12:51 pm
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Is it only doing it with the open E string, or also with fingered notes on  the E?

If it is only the open string, I would also take a close look at the nut to make sure the E hasn't started to cut too deep into the nut.  Also check to make sure strings in the pegbox haven't found some way to touch each other or buzz against the side.

Otherwise, try plucking the note while using a finger of the free hand to press lightly on the bridge, tailpiece, endpin, chinrest, and anything else you can think of to try and figure out what is vibrating.  Oh, and check the tailpiece to make sure the free ends of the tailgut haven't found a way to touch the surface of the belly and that the chinrest hasn't gotten shifted a little to touch the tailpiece.  Though for those two things, I'd also kind of expect it to buzz when bowed.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 27, 2012 - 1:23 pm
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Do you have a little piece of plastic around the string by the bridge? If so see to it that it doesn't stick out too much over the bridge on the playing side.
Also, besides what was said above there is a possibility that you have a tired, fatigued (dead) string. That is exactly what happens when a string is dead.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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HeadCheese
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June 27, 2012 - 7:11 pm
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Based on Daniel's description of playing on the open E, I believe that the nut is cut too deeply. There's no buzz when fingering any note.

Do I have to replace the nut, or can it be fixed somehow?

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Late bloomer
Dallas Texas
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June 27, 2012 - 7:58 pm
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HeadCheese said
While playing around with my wife's violin the other day*,

 

 

Careful HC

thats how it starts,  just playing around !

Next thing you know your speaking an octave higher. amuse

No matter where you go, there you are!

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Kevin M.
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June 27, 2012 - 8:29 pm
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I had a simipar problem with my Cecileo electric. I fixed it with the little sleeve for the E string on top of the nut.  If that fixes it, you can glue a small sliver into the nut.

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DanielB
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Replacing the nut would probably be the absolute best fix.  Or you can glue a small sliver of ebony into it, as Kevin mentioned. 

Or you can sometimes fix where a string has dug into the nut with super glue.  Put on a very small drop (you don't want any to run out) and let it dry for 24 hours, and then add another drop and let it dry another 24 hrs.  Then try putting the string back in the nut and see if that solved the problem.  You may have gotten it right, or it may need another drop or two, or you may actually have to re-slot the nut for that string if it filled it a bit too much.  Not too likely on that last one, since the slot for the E string only needs to be a few thousandths of an inch deep to work.  

But a new nut and some time with files to shape it and etc would usually be the absolute best fix, and in some cases might even be "better than brand new" depending on how good the original one was.  But a trip to the local dollar store for a tube or two of your basic cheap "crazy glue" sort of stuff (the thin kind works a bit better for this, not the gel) can be worth a try first.  At the worst it doesn't work and you can still try repairing it with a sliver or getting a new nut blank and carving it to fit.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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HeadCheese
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June 29, 2012 - 7:23 am
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I doubt my wife would feel comfortable with my disassembly of her new violin to replace the nut (just yet), so I'll try the super-glue method first. I have plenty of that stuff around the house (two sons in the house, don't you know - stuff gets broken).

 

Thanks!hats_off

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Fiddlestix
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The best fix I have found for repairing the nut is to fill the old groove with, "JB Weld", sand it smooth and re-groove it.  Simple fix.

 

dancing

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DanielB
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Well, there's the "Holy 5" of repair in general.

Duct tape, super glue and JB Weld for things that are moving when they shouldn't be.

WD40 and white lithium grease for things that should be moving and aren't.

cow-fingerscrossed

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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