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My Takamine acoustic has a tendency to buzz when I play the high e string fretted around frets 2 and 3. I figure it's something to do with the neck and tension rod. Are there any other parts of a standard acoustic guitar that can be adjusted to fix string buzz? What's a safe procedure for adjusting the tension rod? Is there anything else that could be causing the buzzing?

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    I lean toward your frets needing to be checked and maybe leveled and recrowned. If the saddle was too low you'd tend to hear the buzzing up and down the neck. The nut can't affect a fretted note because the finger pressing down negates the nut's effect. It's also possible the neck is a bit warped or twisted but that's pretty rare in comparison to frets that aren't seated right or not leveled.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 14, 2011 at 9:19

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Buzzing is almost always caused by a string vibrating against a fret. This could be due to a worn spot on the fret you are pressing on, which results in the string being lower at the point of fretting and higher, unworn frets being in the path of vibration. Finding out which fret is the culprit can be done with a straight edge, but I recommend that you take your guitar to a luthier for a look see. Those guys are professionally trained to spot issues like this, and nearly all consultations are free (at least with the one's I know).

Considering the truss rod, I wouldn't monkey with that. There's a lot of information on the web about how to adjust those, but there's a really good chance you could warp the neck if you don't know what you are doing.

Also, a mis-cut nut, action that is set too low, or playing with a heavy hand can cause these types of buzzing. If you are a hard strummer, consider dealing with the pain of higher action for less buzz. It's a trade off we all have to manage.

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    A mis-cut nut won't cause buzzing on a fretted note, only open notes. The saddle could cause the problem on fretted notes though.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 14, 2011 at 9:13
  • "Buzzing is always caused by a string vibrating against a fret." No. There can be loose parts inside, or, like I had, a string buzzing against the bridge.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 17, 2011 at 12:14
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I had exactly this problem a while back, which I suspect was caused by the nut bedding down a bit. I sort of fixed it by changing my string gauge so I now have slightly heavier at the bottom end (56 instead of 53 if I remember rightly). The higher tension has pulled the neck up just enough to clear the buzz.

I should say that I did this to get more bass out of my acoustic (it's a narrow body) rather than to fix the buzz, but it sorted both.

Obviously, this is not a proper fix but an interesting little anecdote. (Maybe?)

Jduv is right, go and see a luthier or experienced guitar tech. Don't go fiddling with the truss rod!

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Regarding the truss rod, lots of people say not to mess with it. However, if you read up on what it does and have a minor adjustment to make to correct high action or fret buzz by low action then a making a couple of half turns the correct way followed by tuning and checking the action is simple enough. Though i must admit the first couple of times i needed an adjustment i went to a guitar tech and watched what they did to build the confidence to tackle it on my own later on.

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Like the above said, take it to a luthier if you can. But if you want to mess with it, I’d suggest first checking where the string rests in the slot of the nut (usually made of bone). If it’s just that high E on the first couple of frets, try slipping a thin piece of paper, or something between the string and the slot, then tune it back up. If the buzzing goes away, here’s another trick. Instead of replacing the nut, get a tiny bit of baking soda and super glue. Mix it up, and fill in the slot on the nut, for the high E. Then you will need a tiny file (just the width of the string, and slowly file the hardened baking soda/glue mix a little bit. Reset the string, tune it, and if you like it, leave it. If not, file in small increments, until the string is where you like it, and the buzz is gone. The dude at the music store said the baking soda/crazy glue is harder than the bone. Good luck!

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On my vintage Goya acoustic, the high e string was buzzing like the drone string on a sitar; open and in all fretted positions. The fix was easy. I loosened the string, bent it some more before putting it down the bridge hole and made sure the knob at the end of the string was making good contact with the bridge plate. I held the bridge pin down while I tightened it and Voila! no more buzzing. The better the contact the knob at the end of the string makes with the bridge plate, the better the sound...period.

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