Guitar buzzes/rings when string is plucked on highest fret?

turbo butterfly

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Hey Techs and Slingers,

I have a PRS S2 Standard 24 with a stock trem system that has a resonance/ringing/quiet-damped rattling noise coming from somewhere, even when the strings are struck on the highest 24th fret. More info:

  • The noise is not very loud, but does affect most/all notes played on the guitar, and this noise enters the amp, causing a fizzy/buzzy sound to ride over and in the amp's distortion.
  • I installed dense padding into each of the trem springs when I first bought the guitar. Now, to eliminate further variables, I packed nitrile gloves between the springs while testing, so that they wouldn't move.
  • The strings have no play time on them, they were installed this week. I always check the tuning hardware for tightness during every string change.
  • I have a "Tremol-no" bar installed, which means I can lock the saddle block to the claw, disabling the trem/floating setup.
  • I have placed a small square of fabric under the strings near the headstock, to help isolate the strings vibration.
ANY IDEAS? I've never had a loose truss rod before, and the neck does have some normal relief. With the weather finally changing hard in my area, I am prepared to adjust the neck a little if needed. I have always done the setups on my guitar. Let me know how I can help to give the right info. Thanks.
 

turbo butterfly

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"I have placed a small square of fabric under the strings near the headstock, to help isolate the strings vibration."

With my finger on the 24th fret and the fabric between the strings and fretboard, there isn't much vibration left to reach the nut. I think the truss rod is suspect, but I need someone to explain the scenario where this could happen. The guitar sounds like crap right now. It used to sound awesome and tight!
 

Roy

Still warming up
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Maybe hitting neck pickup? Just something to eliminate...
 

12manD

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Does the sound still happen when the guitar is played acoustically, using a different amp, using a different cable? If you remove all the dampening material is the problem still there?

Could be something going on with the saddles? Does it look like bridge plate is sitting properly in the cut outs for the knife edges?
 

turbo butterfly

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Things that are not possible:

Strings buzzing on other frets
buzzing in nut slots
buzzing on Pickups
Pickguard and all hardware has been removed, so no loose parts
buzzing from vibrato springs
buzzing caused by strings being too old and damaged
anything amp related, because the guitar does this acoustically!

Things that ARE possible:

Truss rod vibration
Bridge plate or saddle issue... This guitar is only 3 years old, I'm the original owner. I highly doubt this is a problem, but I appreciate the mention. The bridge plate does look centered across all 6 bridge knife-edge pins. They all appear to have the same height.

So, today I took the pickguard out completely, retensioned the strings and went about testing. I put my ear to the body, and can still hear it. I put my ear to the middle of the neck, I could hear it very well! As a player, I can especially feel it. I grabbed my truss rod adjustment tool, and gave a little less than 1/4 turn each way, then tested for the noise before turning the truss rod adjuster in the opposite direction. I did this to make sure that the truss rod had some tension on it, and was not "loose" (loose meaning in any way that I could possibly fix or be responsible for on my own). I didn't notice the "buzz" get louder, but the "edgyness" of the resonance may have changed a little. Overall, I really think that the truss rod has too much room to vibrate inside the neck, or something along these lines. I don't actually know enough about guitar building to qualify an answer.

Has anyone ever encountered this? Care to check their own guitars for this resonance? Stick a bandana under your strings, place a finger on the highest fret of the E, A, or D strings, and play acoustically while holding your left ear (for standard guitars, not lefty's) to the body and neck.

Thanks.
 

turbo butterfly

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Thanks to everyone who's chimed in so far. About the bridge plate - it isn't the problem. With the guitar laying down on a table, strings up, I used my left hand to fret the 24th, while I could both pluck the string and mute/push on the saddles and bridge. No change.

I am absolutely sure now that the vibration is loudest in the neck.
 

turbo butterfly

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Trem springs are actually Vibrato springs. Fender got it wrong back in the day by calling amps with Tremolo and Reverb, "Vibrolux Reverbs". Tremolo modulates the volume without changing the pitch. Fender amps do this by changing the amount of Cathode current in a particular stage which essentially changes the amount of gain (volume).

From a Sweetwater weblink, here is a basic explanation.
What is the Difference Between Vibrato and Tremolo?
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-the-difference-between-vibrato-and-tremolo/
The tremolo arm on your favorite guitar, for example, is actually a vibrato arm. As modulation effects, both produce a similar sense of movement and rhythm, but the way in which they do it is completely different. Vibrato is a modulation effect that varies pitch.
 

elvis

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Trem springs are actually Vibrato springs. Fender got it wrong back in the day by calling amps with Tremolo and Reverb, "Vibrolux Reverbs". Tremolo modulates the volume without changing the pitch. Fender amps do this by changing the amount of Cathode current in a particular stage which essentially changes the amount of gain (volume).

From a Sweetwater weblink, here is a basic explanation.
What is the Difference Between Vibrato and Tremolo?
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-the-difference-between-vibrato-and-tremolo/
The tremolo arm on your favorite guitar, for example, is actually a vibrato arm. As modulation effects, both produce a similar sense of movement and rhythm, but the way in which they do it is completely different. Vibrato is a modulation effect that varies pitch.

Yes, Leo got it wrong from a function point of view. But by marketing a vibrato mechanism as a tremolo, he essentially created a trade name for the device. The trade name is valid by its nature and is more widely recognizable for the purpose of discussion.

I’d rather it were named properly, but that ship has sailed.
 

turbo butterfly

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Elvis,
I agree with the logic of sticking with simplicity - in keeping a name that has comfortable usage - but I do not agree with calling something what it is not. You will get into trouble by doing this. Too many people have their heads up their butts, getting all defensive about calling things what they want, and not what they are. Today's gender pronoun issues trying to control the facts and deny that the chromosome is different, political Institutional-ism as a control mechanism hoping to make the public believe that they have a choice of different parties when they all do the same thing, and GMO and crap food being called "All Natural" - that should never be allowed, first because the plant's genes have been molested by a gene gun, not nature, and second because the plants aren't even grown, fertilized, ecologically sustained by biology nor processed cleanly. So let's do it right.
 

turbo butterfly

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I feel that it's important for me to make sure I'm not offending anyone on gender identity. I completely agree that internally, a person is who and whatever they know themselves to be. My point is that in the physical universe, we must adhere to certain "tangible, observable proofs" in order to keep the structure of communication clear and understood between parties.

...And, we're off topic. I'm going to ask a luthier about the issue. Thanks to all the contributors. Elvis, I love Alex Lifeson. Take Care Man!
 

elvis

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Turbo, I agree with you in principal and made the same argument as you in my youth. You’d be surprised at how pedantic I can be. But I have also learned that things are rarely so black and white, language and usage change, often for the worse (subtle meanings lost, meanings become the opposite of the original, etc.). But ultimately language is not math. It serves a purpose of communication. So if an idiom overtakes literal meaning and has use, I’m willing to roll with it.

Though if we can strike “stick to-it-iveness” from the English language (the appropriate word is perseverance), I’ll back you on vibrato. Or at least stick to whammy and wang-bar
 

Ovibos

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I feel that it's important for me to make sure I'm not offending anyone on gender identity.

It clearly isn't important to you to not offend on gender identity - or you would take the tiny step of using the pronouns a person asks you to.

People who ask for different pronouns often have come to that point by experiencing much anguish and pain, and the small kindness of calling them who they say they are does us no harm and helps them feel accepted.
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
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Elvis,
I agree with the logic of sticking with simplicity - in keeping a name that has comfortable usage - but I do not agree with calling something what it is not. You will get into trouble by doing this. Too many people have their heads up their butts, getting all defensive about calling things what they want, and not what they are. Today's gender pronoun issues trying to control the facts and deny that the chromosome is different, political Institutional-ism as a control mechanism hoping to make the public believe that they have a choice of different parties when they all do the same thing, and GMO and crap food being called "All Natural" - that should never be allowed, first because the plant's genes have been molested by a gene gun, not nature, and second because the plants aren't even grown, fertilized, ecologically sustained by biology nor processed cleanly. So let's do it right.

Turbo, I agree with you in principal and made the same argument as you in my youth. You’d be surprised at how pedantic I can be. But I have also learned that things are rarely so black and white, language and usage change, often for the worse (subtle meanings lost, meanings become the opposite of the original, etc.). But ultimately language is not math. It serves a purpose of communication. So if an idiom overtakes literal meaning and has use, I’m willing to roll with it.

Though if we can strike “stick to-it-iveness” from the English language (the appropriate word is perseverance), I’ll back you on vibrato. Or at least stick to whammy and wang-bar

Is this what it looks like when two engineers disagree???? :D:p:D
 

turbo butterfly

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I may be a Pedant... offering guidance and correction and also feeling good about myself? Sure! Being a bit picky about a term? When I have listed both "Trem springs" in my first post and "Vibrato springs" in a latter post, you will see that I am clearly the first to show and admit error. The difference that was made? I looked the terms up and informed the greater majority. When you asked if "Trem springs" could be the issue, it shows that you did not read my post.

It really doesn't matter what people call the modulation effect, we're all guitarists and understand. And nobody likes a Debbie Downer. But "Vibrato" is not a social construct or a colloquial term; it defines something real and different from other things.

"Stick to-it-iveness" sounds exactly like "Perseverance". They are aligned in their meanings. A change in pitch and a change in volume are two different things.

Ovibos, help me feel accepted and offer something related to the instrument. I dunno, maybe a truss rod experience? Maybe I'll take baby steps and pretend that everyone hasn't noticed how much more fun it is to join the circle of drama. Then, if I should be characterized as highly focused and high brow when compared to the crowd for pointing out something that requires a small adjustment, I won't be surprised when the crowd attempts to belittle and discriminate. Hippocrites and Followers. As far as the gender thing, treat everyone well. Compassion towards others has not been left out in my posts. Accepting a bent truth about "vibrato" and "tremolo" just so someone else can feel better has! Elvis didn't even read my post.

Bodia, love it!! I'm only arguing for pink slips, hoping to go home tonight with another whiteboard. :)
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
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When did this start? After a recent string change, or any kind of adjustment? It’s not going to be the truss rod being loose in the channel. Any chance you could post a sound sample?
 

Ovibos

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I may be a Pedant... offering guidance and correction and also feeling good about myself? Sure! Being a bit picky about a term? When I have listed both "Trem springs" in my first post and "Vibrato springs" in a latter post, you will see that I am clearly the first to show and admit error. The difference that was made? I looked the terms up and informed the greater majority. When you asked if "Trem springs" could be the issue, it shows that you did not read my post.

It really doesn't matter what people call the modulation effect, we're all guitarists and understand. And nobody likes a Debbie Downer. But "Vibrato" is not a social construct or a colloquial term; it defines something real and different from other things.

"Stick to-it-iveness" sounds exactly like "Perseverance". They are aligned in their meanings. A change in pitch and a change in volume are two different things.

Ovibos, help me feel accepted and offer something related to the instrument. I dunno, maybe a truss rod experience? Maybe I'll take baby steps and pretend that everyone hasn't noticed how much more fun it is to join the circle of drama. Then, if I should be characterized as highly focused and high brow when compared to the crowd for pointing out something that requires a small adjustment, I won't be surprised when the crowd attempts to belittle and discriminate. Hippocrites and Followers. As far as the gender thing, treat everyone well. Compassion towards others has not been left out in my posts. Accepting a bent truth about "vibrato" and "tremolo" just so someone else can feel better has! Elvis didn't even read my post.

Bodia, love it!! I'm only arguing for pink slips, hoping to go home tonight with another whiteboard. :)
You quite unnecessarily introduced “drama” as you call it by going on about your cisgender bias with no prompting. It was ignorant and unrelated to vibrato springs, and you got called on it. “Help me feel accepted” is a gross both-sidesism. I’m a cishet white male, and I choose to use my privilege to extend the inclusion I get for free to my trans and non-binary co-workers and the assistant teacher in my kid’s 2nd grade class.
 

elvis

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I may be a Pedant... offering guidance and correction and also feeling good about myself? Sure! Being a bit picky about a term? When I have listed both "Trem springs" in my first post and "Vibrato springs" in a latter post, you will see that I am clearly the first to show and admit error. The difference that was made? I looked the terms up and informed the greater majority. When you asked if "Trem springs" could be the issue, it shows that you did not read my post.

You educated nobody. This has been a widely understood issue since it was introduced.

Your sanctimonious response beautifully illustrates pedantry. Thank you.

You may find less drama if you don’t presume a high degree of ignorance in others.
 
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