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I have an LTD H-1001 which I bought, used, about a month ago. Everything was close to perfect with it, until I tuned it back down from E standard to its usual Drop C tuning it's set up for. The guitar was set up for 12-54 gauge string, but I switched to a 10-52 set, but even after I did that, this problem only occurred after de-tuning from E standard, and it still persists after I placed a 14 gauge string in there, so I don't think it's the string gauge. After that, whenever I play the open high E string, and only when it's open, it buzzes unusually.

After some research and inspecting the guitar, I think the problem is that the nut slot for the string is slightly deeper than it should be, resulting in the open string almost touching the first fret.

Is there any way to raise that one specific nut slot without replacing the nut? I would like to avoid replacing the current nut with a new one, as it would mean that I would have to file the slots, and I don't have any experience with that sort of thing, nor do I have any repair shops close to me as far as I know. Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Before doing anything you can test it by putting a thin piece of paper or something similar between the E string and the nut to temporarily raise it slightly. If this eliminates the buzz then you can be pretty sure the problem is the nut slot has worn down. The superglue suggestion sounds like it could work.

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    I've used the paper trick as a temporary fix, which became permanent over a few years. By the time the string has squashed the paper in the slot, it becomes pretty hard, and in my case(s) didn't damp or mute the string. +1, you beat me to it. – Tim Apr 23 at 7:01
  • @Tim You’re right, if you get the right thickness and seat it well it can actually work well and last a long time. – John Belzaguy Apr 23 at 7:14
  • Thank you very much! This method is working for me right now, so as I suspected it is the nut slot that is the problem. – Ken Apr 23 at 15:28
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    @Ken, Im glad this is working for you, you’ve gotten a lot of useful info on the various answers and comments. I just wanted to also point out that the paper trick solves 2 issues simultaneously, it raises the string of course but it also narrows the slot. The width can also possibly be the cause of the buzz so when you get around to repairing it make sure you use a file with the correct width for the gauge string you plan on using. – John Belzaguy Apr 23 at 18:56
  • It's situations like this that I ask - why don't all manufacturers use a zero fret? I have several guitars which are happy possessors, and this problem could never occur on them. And that apart, isn't a zero fret even better than a brass nut? – Tim Apr 24 at 7:53
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Mainly, it's going to be string height and/or the angle at which the string vibrates. If you change string gauges, you will most definitely get string buzz. That's strictly based on the fact that a heavier gauge string (or set of strings) adds more tension on the whole construction of the guitar. To a certain extent, the neck of the guitar is flexible. The same thing happens when you detune a string, as the neck will be "pulling" itself back, thus slightly reducing string height.

On electric and acoustic guitars the neck will almost always contain 1-2 truss rods. The way these work is that they internally tighten the neck so as to compensate (and almost match) the tensions with which the strings are pulling.

You need to slowly and slightly adjust the truss rod, retune the whole guitar, allow to sit for a bit of time, and test again. You need to allow the wood to settle before adjusting again. Your best bet is to only adjust by turning it no more than a quarter of a turn at a time. Keep in mind that the neck is supposed to have a slight bow.

Moving on, there are other factors which will contribute to fret buzz, too. On your particular type of guitar, the bridge has two height screws for each string. Technically, you want to adjust them so that the strings are level. Adjusting those two screws independently will also permit the string to vibrate at an angle, too. Keep in mind that strings don't only vibrate on a single axis.

The odds of having issues with the depth of the slot for the E string are rather low, I would say. Be aware of the fact that nut slots have different depths and widths, based on the string gauge. The slot for a low E will be wider than the one for the high E - and that's perfectly normal. More depth is needed so that the string doesn't simply fall off the nut when you're playing.

Of course, what I've mentioned here is just theory. I suggest, like many others have, to search for tutorials on how to properly adjust your type of guitar. By "type", I don't necessarily mean the specific model of guitar, but the type of truss rod configuration (I presume yours only has one, with adjustment access on the headstock, behind the little plastic triangle with "H-1001" written on it) and bridge type.

Whilst you're at it, I'd also recommend adjusting intonation, too. That involves adjusting string length in order for notes to be perfectly in tune regardless of the fret.

A few things you might want to know before proceeding: - Adjusting your truss rod is somewhat dangerous. If you overtighten it, you can snap the neck. - Adjusting the truss rod with the wrong tool is going to be bad, too. Make sure you're using the appropriate metric/imperial allen keys. The small difference between very similar metric/imperial key sizes will wear out the bolt, and you'll almost never going to be able to adjust it again. - Make sure to not adjust the rod more than it can go. On certain guitars, it's hard to feel. - Be prepared for this to take a full day if it's the first time you attempt it.

Good luck!

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  • Thank you for your detailed response! In my instance, it was the nut slot that was the issue as inserting a piece of paper between the high e string and the nut fixed the issue temporarily, but I absolutely appreciate the detail in your answer, thank you again! – Ken Apr 23 at 15:32
  • A pleasure, don't worry. It's hard to say as I'm not literally holding your guitar, but it's very possible to fix fret buzz by raising the string with something like a piece a paper. Physically, the result will be identical. If the nut is, indeed, broken, you might want to lift it with something like a piece of plastic film, as it will reduce friction. Friction points are very undesirable, as they'll get your strings out of tune quickly after bends. – Vlad Dumitrache Apr 24 at 12:19
  • Because the issue happened only after drop-tuning, I think this is the best answer, as the reduced string tension would cause the neck to unbow, bringing strings closer to the frets. Raising the string at the nut might fix the buzz, but isn’t solving the underlying problem. – wabisabied Apr 25 at 0:34
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Like in the video BUT cover the nearby fretboard with tape first! You don't want glue on the fretboard!

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  • Thank you very much for the video response! If I ever get some files I will certainly try this. – Ken Apr 23 at 15:29
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    @Ken and in a pinch, you can try this harmless hack: pull the string out of its saddle, place a small piece of paper over the saddle, and put back the string over the paper. Then somehow remove all the paper that remains outside, until the only paper remaining is the portion pinched between the string and the nut.That little paper may be just enough to lift the string and stop the buzzing. Of course it's not a permanent solution, but it's nice if it works, and one always learn something while tinkering with things... --- and I just realized that someone else already wrote the same thing! :) – MMazzon Apr 23 at 21:09
  • A luthier friend of mine inserts the superglue with the end of an old E string. – Eric O Apr 28 at 22:52
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You can use superglue to add material to the nut slot. Add a drip or two and wait for it to completely dry. I've also heard that you can mix baking soda with the superglue for extra hardness but I haven't tried that myself. It may need a little filing to get the right shape.

You might also try raising the action slightly at the bridge. This would move the string away from the fret.

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  • Thank you for your response! I will try this as soon as I get the chance to buy some super glue, haha! – Ken Apr 23 at 15:27
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The nut is the problem, but it might not be the height of the slot but the shape of it. If you look closely you should be able to see if the string is touching the fret during vibration. If you are sure that it is not touching but you still hear something weird (more like a hizz than a buzz), it is gonna be the shape of the slot that is creating the trouble.
If the slot is not cut properly, it creates an imperfect point of contact with the string. Most of the time it is due to a contact point not sitting on the edge of the nut that is closest to the fingerboard. If the contact point sit just a little into the middle of the nut, the vibrating string might touch the nut and create that annoying hiss.

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First off, I don't play guitar, I play electric bass.

As you mentioned, the string could be touching the fret. That is very likely. However, depending on the bridge that you have, the connector for the high E string could be wobbling, causing the buzzing sound. I'm guessing that because this only happens when the string is played open, that the string is rubbing against the first fret like you said. This can usually be fixed by adjusting the truss rod inside the neck, and it's probably not necessary to adjust the nut. Usually this is done by a professional, but giving your circumstances, the best you can do is to watch a video on ow to safely adjust the truss rod.

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  • Thank you for your response! I do not believe it has anything to do with the truss rod as that would mean the other strings would be buzzing as well, but it is only the high e string, and I have also adjusted it before, but thank you for your detailed response! – Ken Apr 23 at 15:31
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Everyone says it is the nut. However, trust me it could also be a loose fret that is vibrating. And yes, they do vibrate at a particular frequency.

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