"Common" question but no luck solving: weird ringing when palm muting

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by ColdForged, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. ColdForged

    ColdForged SS.org Regular

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    Hello all, new guy here. A bit of background... been playing off and on for 35 years, more "on" recently. For Christmas I got my first 7-string, a lovely Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid C-7. What an instrument, I already love it. I got it from Sweetwater and had them set it up with NYXL 64-11 strings.

    [​IMG]

    Enter the issue. I have a metallic "ringing" occurring only when I do percussive palm muting on the E string. It does not happen then I do the same thing on a different E (e.g. on the B string). A perfect example: the intro to Pantera's "Walk" (I know, it's in D but imagine it transposed to E). When I play that bendy F to E and mute the strings right and left handed there's a bright, metallic ring that occurs for maybe a tenth of a second. It is acoustic (you can hear it even unplugged, though you have to listen carefully) and is amplified quite awfully.

    Many of you will immediately say "sympathetic vibration behind the nut" and you'd be partially right. There was behind the nut vibration which I've now damped in various ways, from a hair band to a truly drastic and ugly sock under the strings and wrapped twice around the headstock to really damp it all. That got rid of much of the behind-the-nut sound... but there's still a ringing chime left.

    The next common wisdom is tighten everything down which I verified. After that is typically "check your pickups/put foam under pickups". I removed both pickups (separately) and they both already have nice foam underneath and no springs, and the sound persisted with the pickups completely removed.

    Next felt like the Hipshot Hardtail and perhaps resonance of the springs. I damped the springs -- and even removed two of them temporarily -- to no avail.

    At this point I'm not quite at a loss. I feel like the only two remaining possibilities are: changing the strings (which I'm loathe to do given they're brand new strings) and applying some kind of damping to the strings where it goes through the body. That last one is my final best guess. Perhaps that part of the E string where it goes through the body is getting some kind of sympathetic resonance that's transmitted through the body or bridge. I suspect it is the E string because when removing the pups I tried reproducing the sound with the rest of the strings fairly slack.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Strings might not be as snug in the nut. Even if dampened behind the nut, if they have too much room they'll do what you describe. See if it happens with extra high action too, as slapping against a fret higher up the neck is a common culprit too.

    Either way, bite the bullet and change strings. It's better to cross that off the list now.
     
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  3. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    Try changing strings first.

    With hipshot and other string thru bridges you can unfortunately get ringing out from the string going through the body, stick some foam in around the string and if that mutes it then thats your problem.
     
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  4. ColdForged

    ColdForged SS.org Regular

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    Thanks guys, tracked it down. As Lorcan and I suspected, it was the string through the body into the bridge on the low B and E strings. I didn't change strings but I removed those two, wrapped the ball ends of the strings with embroidery floss for about 1.5", and reinstalled them. Now the guitar is almost silent (though still requires damping behind the nut). I wonder if doing the same with the D string would eliminate all the sound, but right now it's almost imperceptible so not quite worth it to me.

    For future string changes I'm wondering if duct tape would work. It would certainly be faster.
     
  5. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    Sorry...and glad for resolving your issue.

    On the bright side, it sounds like you have a very nice resonate guitar. I'm guessing is sustains quite well?
     
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  6. ColdForged

    ColdForged SS.org Regular

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    That it does! Sustain for days. Yeah, I really loved it but was getting admittedly angsty about that ringing sound. Completely relieved that it's sorted.
     
  7. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    I had a similar mystery ringing on my new RGD3127. Only happened when playing stocatto or palm-muted notes on the open low B string.

    I tried everything. Dampened everything. Practically took the guitar completely apart and put it back together. Nothing worked to eliminate the odd, metallic ringing sound.

    The issue turned out to be... Ernie Ball Cobalt strings.

    Just Cobalts.

    As soon as I switched to any other brand or gauge of string (including non-Cobalt Ernie Balls), the ringing disappeared. As soon as I switched back to Cobalts, the ringing would come back.

    There was just something about the specs of that guitar that didn't gel with Cobalts. To this day, I'm baffled.
     
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  8. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Another reason why eliminating the string lengths outside the vibrating length is a good idea. Which would also create very stable tuning.
    Headless guitars partly do this. Floyd-Rose tremolo does this completely, but in a weird way by tuning up then 'locking off' the string sections running to the tuners.
     
  9. Frostbite

    Frostbite Periphery Shill

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    I had a similar problem with a Carvin TL-60. Electrical tape worked well enough for me. You just have to make sure to not wrap too many times or else the string won't sit right in the ferrule.
     

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