I can hear a strange high pitched noise when playing the high E open string on my standard Mexican telecaster.

The sound is present only when playing the string open. It sounds like something around E7 (or E8 maybe), it is quite high pitched. It also seems to affect the sustain on that open string. The sound get more noticeable when tuning down the string and sustain is even worse.

What could cause this to happen? How can I fix that noise and get the precious sustain back?

  • E7 and E8 are indeed overtones of the E string, so it would actually be weird if you didn't hear them. They should not stand out, granted, but well – the Tele is a bright-sounding guitar. Twangy, not sustainy, so... — For us to say anything specific we'd need to actually hear the sound you mean; you could add a recording, post it via SoundCloud. But if it really annoys you you should probably consult a luthier rather than the internet. – leftaroundabout Aug 27 '17 at 23:17

Seems like the problem is in the nut. If it doesn't occur anywhere else, even on the first fret, there's nowhere else. It could be that the string is loose in the slot. Try pushing the string to one side behind the nut, if that works, pack something - a strip of paper may do - under the string in the nut slot.

Another cause can be sympathetic vibration of something loose - a screw, a machine head, etc.

  • It seems like it's a combination of both problem. I first tried putting a piece of paper in the nut slot, the sound was slightly better but something was definitely still here. Then I notice the E string saddle was moving a bit. I pressed it against the B string saddle and the noise was gone. It seems like playing the E string made the E string saddle vibrate against the B string saddle and created that sound. Maybe the piece of paper is not needed after all but I will keep it here for good measure. – Joulin Nicolas Aug 30 '17 at 9:37

Try lying a nail under the string, near the nut, to lift the string. If the noise disappears and sustain returns that would suggest you have a high fret. The cure could be as simple as adjusting the neck relief, but you might need to see a luthier about some fret work.

  • It should be pointed out that the only possible fret that could be high, and not cause buzzing when the string is fingered, is the first fret. Any higher fret buzz would get worse as you finger up the neck. – Scott Wallace May 14 '18 at 9:07

Third possibility - it could be the length of string between the nut and the tuning machine is vibrating. You can damp that area of the string with your fingers and then play the open string and see if it doesn't make the sound. If damping that piece of string helps, then you may have something wrong with your string tree or how the string was wound around the tuning machine, or as Tim mentions there might be a problem with your nut.

  • Indeed. In fact, there are lots of possibilities, some of which are very difficult to locate. The ball of a ball end string can rattle; there can be a crack or open joint that buzzes, the winding of the string can be loose, the groove in the nut can be too wide.... – Scott Wallace May 14 '18 at 14:45

protected by Community May 14 '18 at 13:39

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