“Sympathetic Resonance” is a term we use when certain frequencies make other frequencies activate and vibrate.
Ever heard a guitar rattle a snare, in a snare drum ?
Or the term “a wolf note” in a violin ?
These are the extreme and most noticeable cases of sympathetic resonance.
Some instruments like sitars, actually use this resonance to their advantage, in the Chikari drone strings.
These strings vibrate in sympathy with the other fretted strings, creating glorious harmonic layers.
Though normally in acoustics, this phenomenon is unwanted and creates buzzing or burring sounds, when the strings are played.
It can sound like a dissonant(out of tune) overtone or a fizzing sound.
Too often, the unwanted vibration will decrease sustain of the initial “Protagonist” note and can actually become much louder than the original note, which will be unbearable to the player.
The problem area is often extremely difficult to locate and even harder to fix!
It can come from loose hardware, loose bracing, unglued strutting, nuts/saddles, and even the wood or strings can have unwanted overtones working within them.
This fender bass buzzed a lot, and not from the frets!
All kinds of unwanted ringing and buzzing came from the guitar box itself. It was very unpleasant and distracting for the owner.
Such a shame too, because the bass plays and looks great!
I managed to locate all of the buzzes and unwanted frequencies in the box and managed to eliminate them all.
This is not always possible, so I’m very very happy with the results 😊
Do you have something similar afflicting your instruments?
If so, do feel free to email us.
We are guitar techs and offer guitar repairs and servicing in East Sussex 👇
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