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Author: Subject: Piece of Oud fell off and extreme buzzing after changing strings!
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[*] posted on 2-23-2021 at 11:31 AM
Piece of Oud fell off and extreme buzzing after changing strings!

Hey all, I just changed my strings for the first time (they had been turning brown and I neglected to change for a while) and decided to go ahead and change them all.

I know this is a common topic but now I've got some really bad buzzing going on. Before I had buzzing on my low F but it was tolerable, now the low F has buzzing that is usually louder than the actual note being played and I have some minor buzzing on a couple other courses.

Obviously I must have put the strings on incorrectly. The weird thing is that the F strings aren't touching anything in the pegbox, and the loops at the bridge look normal to me. I'm just confused as to what this might be. Today I'm going to take all the strings off and do it again, and try to make the peg box look exactly as I've seen some players have online.

One final note: I took all the strings off of my oud first. When this happened a piece of the Oud fell off, namely the little wooden bar just before the pegbox, where the strings fit into little slots to hold it. It seems to be kept in place by the tension of the strings and does not appear to have ever been glued. I can't be certain though. Is this piece being held by strings alone normal?

I am using Dadario Arabic set for my Zeryab Oud, by the way. The buzzing seems to be coming from the strings touching and not the pegbox.
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[*] posted on 2-23-2021 at 05:40 PM

The piece that fell off is called a nut (in English) and no need to worry, on most ouds it is held down by string tension. Just be careful when you put it back that you put back in the same orientation. The side with the larger grooves goes under the bigger strings.

Buzzing can be caused by a lot of different things. Are your strings buzzing against the wood of the fingerboard, at the neck joint, or against one another? If they're buzzing against one another it could just be a matter of them needing time to settle in but also double check the tuning to make sure they're truly in unison.

If you can't figure it out you could post some pictures, that's might help.

Good luck!
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 2-24-2021 at 07:04 PM

As a temporary fix (and a test to see if string height is the cause of the buzzing) take a small length of the leftover high c' string and wedge it underneath the strings as close to the nut as you can (creating a secondary "zero" fret). You can use an oud pick to push it into place. This will raise the height of the strings about half a millimeter and should eliminate any buzzing caused by the nut being to low (or the slots being too deep).

Often, there is a small piece of paper wedged under the nut to raise it up if it's a little too low. A business card can work effectively for this purpose. As Jason says, a nut is usually not glued - string tension is enough. Sometimes makers put a single tiny drop of glue just to keep it in place but it's normal not to glue it at all. If there was a small piece of paper raising the nut, might it have fallen off when the nut did without you realizing? I think that may be the likeliest reason you'd notice a big change in buzziness just after changing the strings. Otherwise, new strings are generally slightly buzzier than old ones and they may just take some time to settle.

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