Fret buzz issues

Hi all
I’ve got the fret buzz blues… :slight_smile:

My beloved acoustic Martin DCX1RE is adding its own cheeky bit of distortion at 3rd, 4th fret on high and B strings. D, Dsus4 and G with two 5ths(D) sound a bit rough at the moment! It’s been developing around a few months and is, not surprisingly, worse when playing more loudly.

I’m pretty sure its not my technique as I try to play close to the fret… also I can put my finger right against the frets in question and its still buzzing a bit compared to other postions. My little travel guitar doesn’t buzz and has a higher action.

I’ve had the guitar about 12 years and love it. I want to play it! For me it sounds great, bright with a bit of Martin boom when strumming. It’s had one complete refret when I had a similar problem in the same place about three years a go - but then the frets were severely worn in this area, and this is not the case now. After the refret all was good until now.

I do play it a lot, everyday, and this is a well used part of the fretboard for me… maybe it just needs a fret dress and a bit of lutherian love. I’ve found myself looking up luthier equipment on amazon (fret rocker, files etc)but not keen on this… don’t want to make it worse and the adjustments required are likely to be fine.

Has anyone had similar problems and how did you deal with them?

Thanks guys and gals for any advice.

I am no expert, but the first and easiest might be to check the relief. It may just need a small truss rod adjustment. Have you changed the strings or done anything? Relief can change a bit over time.

Relief is measured at the 6th or 7th fret, so just in front of where you get the buzz. If there is no buzz 3rd or lower and no buzz 6 or higher, that is where I would look first. Partly because if that is the problem, it is the easiest fix. Do it before taking material off the fret.

Good luck!

Thanks very much for this Jamolay
I change strings every 3 - 4 months, light gauge, so I don’t think the neck is under greatest tension most of the time.
I’m going to change the strings and have a proper look this weekend.

Right, that is the point. Light gauge puts less tension on the neck so maybe not enough relief. Hence buzz.

Of course it sounds like you haven’t recently changed to the light tension, but maybe small humidity and temperature changes, or just time, has moved things a little.

I slight loosening of the truss rod is simple, cheap, easy and reversible.

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Ah, yes - understand… in the last three years (since the complete refret) I went from lights to medium back to lights about 18 months a go (i’ve got loads of packs that were gifted to me). This caused a change. I’ll loosen the truss rod a bit… if that does not work I’ll take it to a professional.
Thanks for your advice. Have a great weekend.

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Hold down your low E at the 1st and 12th fret. If you can’t slip a business card under it at the 6th fret, it is too little relief, but no more than a business card either. Reasonable rule of thumb if you don’t have feeler gauges.

You can free up a hand by putting a pick under the A string and over the E string at either the 1st or 12th fret.