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How to Fix Ukulele Buzzing

How To Fix A Buzzing Ukulele

The process of correcting a buzzing ukulele is simply identify what’s causing the buzzing and then fix it.  Easy right?

Warning: The following instructions give suggestions on how to fix buzzing.  Some of the fixes involve permanently modifying the ukulele so do so at your own risk.  If you are worried about damaging your ukulele, please take it to a luthier to be fixed.

There, with the disclaimer out of the way, I’ll let you know that I’ve fixed a number of buzzes relatively easily with great success.    Let’s get started!

First, determine where the buzzing sound is is originating from.  Consistantly replicate the buzzing sound and then have a friend help identify the general location where the buzzing is coming from.  Use the guide below to fix buzzing for each general area.

 

Head

Part Investigate Fix
Tuners Shake the uke and see if you can hear the tuners rattling around Take it to a shop.  Probably need to replace the tuners
Nut Test by playing with open strings and seeing if it buzzes.  Then bar across the first fret and see if it no longer buzzes.  If this is the case, then the nut might be the problem
Is the nut loose and vibrating in its socket? Play some buzzing notes and then have someone touch the nut and see if buzzing stops Remove the nut and add a small strip of paper to wedge it more tightly in its socket
When played with open strings, are the strings are hitting the fretboard? (see fretboard section below)
Strings vibrating in the nut grooves? Play with open strings but bar across all the strings with a finger between the net and the tuners.  Put a lot of pressure and see if the buzzing stops.  The grooves are probably too flat.  You need to bring the part where the string comes in contact with the nut to a single point.  Do this by filing the groove at an angle as shown in the picture below.
Multiple points of contact along the string and the nut cause buzzingAfter filing, the main point of contact with the most force is at a single point on the nut

 

Fretboard

Are the strings hitting the frets?  If you look very closely, you can see the strings hitting the frets.  Also, you can hear the buzzing originating from the fretboard.

 

  • Is the neck warped?
  • Is the saddle too high?
  • Is there a single fret that is too high?
  • Is the nut too low?

 

This one is really tricky and needs to be debugged in sequential order

Part Investigate Fix
Neck Is the neck is bent? Take it to a shop and have them replace the neck
Saddle Do you get fretboard buzzing at several different frets?  Does the buzzing get more prominent as you play frets near the head?  If so, your action is probably too low Shim up the saddle by putting a small piece of paper under the saddle
Individual frets Try playing in a variety of positions.  Is there only one fret position where buzzing occurs?  Might be a high fret *File down the fret OR*If your action is not too high, you can just shim up the saddle and not worry about permanently modifying your uke.  The section above describes shimming
Nut Does playing with open strings give buzzing on the fretboard but when the first fret is barred there is no buzzing? Your nut is too low.  Shim it up by putting a strip of paper under the nut.

Bridge and Saddle

Part Investigate Fix
String ends Are the ends of the strings touching something?  They might be buzzing Cut long ends
Bridge Is the bridge tightly fastened to the body? Play some buzzing notes and then have someone touch various positions on the bridge/saddle and see if buzzing stops If there is a gap between the bridge and the body, you may need to wedge in some small pieces of wood and glue them in place.  You could also try with paper.
Saddle Is the saddle loose and vibrating in its socket - Play some buzzing notes and then have someone touch various positions on the bridge/saddle and see if buzzing stops Wedge it in with a strip of paper
Is the saddle too flat?  Are strings vibrating against and sliding around on the saddle? File the saddle to bring it to a single point of contact with the string.  See the graphic belowMultiple points of contact along the saddle cause buzzing
After filing, a single point of contact corrected the buzzing

Body

Part Investigate Fix
Body Is there a small crack that is buzzing – Feel around for a crack.  If you find one, make it buzz and then have someone lightly hold their finger over the crack.  If the buzzing stops, than the crack is probably an issue Might be easiest to take it to a shop.  If the crack is buzzing, it might be extra hard to fix.
Is there something loose inside?  Shake the ukulele and see if you can hear anything bouncing around Get that loose stuff out of there
Is something partially loose?  You might not be able to hear it when shaking it but if you might be able to see a sticker, a wire (electric uke) or something half detached in the sound hole.  You will need a mirror and flashlight to look inside Get that loose stuff out of there
Still buzzing?  You’re on your own but if you fix it, let me know and I will update this post.  You can contact me here.