Fingerpicking a dulcimer - buzzing problem

Ann Wells
Ann Wells
@ann-wells
5 years ago
6 posts

Thank you so much for all the advice, I will try going to DAD and see if the problem still exists, also will order bigger gauge strings, and it probably is my technique that needs attention.  I will keep trying as I so love the sound of this beautiful instrument especially when finger picked.  Thanks to everyone who offered advice, I really appreciate it and surely appreciate the fact that i can go on FOMD and ask these questions knowing that I will get the right answers. 

Ann Wells

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 years ago
2,077 posts

Hi Ann!  Yes, if you are tuned a little low (CGC) then the strings will tend to vibrate in a wider arc when picked or plucked.  This would explain why you get the buzz only when picking the string a second time, while it's still vibrating from the previous note.  Three things can help this- 

1) try tuning up one step to DAd and see if it is improved by having more tension in the strings... or,

2) stay in CGC and put on a set of strings that are slightly bigger gauge (instead of a .010 for example, try a .012 or so- this will also add a little tension and decrease the vibration arc of the strings...  and

3) Ken mentioned something about this- try picking with only the very tip of your fingerpick and not the part nearer your fingerpad. It sounds like the already-vibrating string is prematurely hitting the pick right before you actually pick your note.  Playing closer to the pick tip end would help this.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Skip
Skip
@skip
5 years ago
318 posts

Try without the picks. I fingerpick most of the time. I like the softer sound produced and I don't get any pick noise. :) It may also help pinpoint the problem.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 years ago
1,571 posts

Ann, I have to agree with Ken that if a given string only buzzes sometimes, then the problem is probably not the string gauge. 

You might ask for help with fingerpicking technique in the Fingerpicking Group here at FOTMD.




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Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
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Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
1,926 posts

Here's the Strothers String Gauge calculator:

http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.html

Plug in your VSL and the open notes of your tuning, and your string gauges should be at least the numbers shown there.

Is the buzz only on the second picking of the same string?  Could it be you're digging deeper/harder on the second pick and making the tring vibrate wildly?  If the buzz isn't an "all the time" thing, then the cause pretty much has to be your technique......

Ann Wells
Ann Wells
@ann-wells
5 years ago
6 posts

I started to learn fingerpicking from Sue Carpenter's book and am finding that when I try to pick the string the second time, with finger picks,  I am getting a buzz.  I am tuned to CGC and wonder if my strings are too loose.  Does any one have a chart of the different strings for different tuning. Is there some way to get rid of the buzzing?  Thank you so much for your trouble, I love the dulcimer and would like to get the best sound possible from it.  

Ann Wells