Author Topic: High e string sounds like a sitar  (Read 767 times)

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Offline LeHorla

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High e string sounds like a sitar
« on: July 21, 2017, 04:36:44 pm »
I have a Squire Standard Stratocaster where the high e string makes this loud annoying ringing sound (similar to a sitar) when played open. It's been sounding like this for a long time. I recently changed the strings but it didn't help. It only happens when I play the open note. Fretted notes are fine.

Any idea what is causing this, how I might diagnose the issue further, or how to fix?

Thanks!

Offline Majik

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 04:54:14 pm »
That's usually something to do with the bridge.

Sitar bridges are usually very wide and slightly curved so the strings graze the surface of the bridge and cause a slight "buzz" which is transmitted to the sound board of the guitar. Obviously this is deliberate in a sitar. If you are getting the same effect on a guitar it means that something in contact with the string (usually the bridge) is causing the buzz. This could either be the bridge itself not being loose, part of the bridge touching the string, the string not going over the bridge properly, etc.

So have a look at the bridge and make sure it all looks OK. If you can't see anything wrong with it, you may need to take it to a guitar tech to have checked.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
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Offline DarrellW

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 05:08:06 pm »
Could be a loose string tree, I would expect it to be the same with every note if it were the bridge.
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Offline Fox Cunning

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2017, 06:11:03 pm »
Could also be a problem with the nut, which would explain why it doesn't happen on fretted notes.
Nut slots being too wide or too deep, basically just too worn, may cause the "sitar sound" on open strings.

Offline Majik

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 12:22:57 am »
Could be a loose string tree, I would expect it to be the same with every note if it were the bridge.

Nah, with a typical Strat bridge, every string has its own bridge mechanism. It's entirely possible a single string could be affected

I should point out I've experienced this with a single-piece fixed bridge on my old PRS SE, and it only ever affected the high E. Strat bridges are far more complex.

Cheers,

Keith

Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline LeHorla

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 03:29:03 pm »
Thanks for all the replies! Still haven't fixed the issue, but yesterday when I tried to play "Cinnamon Girl" with Drop D tuning, the sound was atrocious, so I'm determined to get this fixed soon.

I'm pretty sure the issue is the nut. Everything else looked fine. As a test, I pulled the high E string out of the nut slot, placed a bit of tissue in the slot, put the string back in over the tissue, and the sitar sound was gone. Of course, not a permanent solution, since the sound is a bit muffled.

Now I need to look into replacing the nut. Hopefully it's not too complicated.

Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 04:14:01 pm »
Are you a fan of de Maupassant by any chance?
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 06:55:35 pm »
put the string back in over the tissue, and the sitar sound was gone.

Yes, that's a classic nut issue. Don't put a new nut in. It's very easy to fix.

Do you live in USA? If so LOWES sells a little file set that is used to clean the nozzles of welders. You can get the set for $4... or you can $8 to $15 where they have been renamed to guitar nut files or even airbrush cleaners.

They look like this at most any hardware store...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tip-Cleaner-Needle-File-Set-Welding-Nozzle-Set-Stainless-Steel-Welder-Soldering-/282303525979?hash=item41ba99f45b:g:OiMAAOSwnHZYgBRH

Then watch this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slCMkvEfK_U

There must be 20 videos that are a variation on this theme. Use the one you like. All you need to do is get some more stuff back in the slot so you can re-file it

Very easy fix to de-sitar your gitar. You might want to check your other slots as well. Espec. the g string as it gets bent back and forth a lot. It's a very popular issue. It can also come from using heavy gauge strings for a long time then going to light strings. If yours has gone heavy to light, you might want to check them all closely. You know, it's easy to just fill them all in a bit then reshape them.

Also don't file horizontal. File with the file angled back towards headstock. You want the string to break over an edge. That's another reason you get the sitar sound. The string ends up laying in and vibrating around in a trough rather than breaking over a ledge.

You might want to watch this too..
 The pencil is flat on two frets and so it draws a line equal to the fret height. You don;t want to file below that line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjCT0hZRnDk

Several others more informative... just look up "mark nut for slotting" or some such.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0-iSdIpbgY

here or those files I mentioned above
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVHUih1uZOw
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 07:12:07 pm by TB-AV »
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Offline ranjanty

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Re: High e string sounds like a sitar
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 02:20:41 am »
Check the angle of the string from the nut toward the tuning post. You may need to file the nut slot downwards a bit.

 

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