“Why is my violin making that sound?” is one of the most common questions we get here in the shop. Sound is produced by vibration and there are many different parts of an instrument that vibrate when it is being played. If something is slightly off, or not properly engaged, it can produce an irregular vibration against another part of the instrument, producing an unpleasant or annoying sound. This sound may often come in the form of a buzzing, ringing or rattling noise.
If you’re hearing one of these sounds on your instrument, here are a few things you may want to check:
- Check the fine tuners. If one or several of the fine tuners are not properly engaged it can produce a buzzing sound.
- Make sure the chinrest isn’t touching the tailpiece, or close enough to it that it can vibrate against it when the instrument is played.
- On violin E strings, there is a tiny plastic or rubber sleeve that protects the bridge from the string cutting into it. Make sure that sleeve is where it is supposed to be and not hanging loosely on the string.
- Irregularities in the nut and fingerboard can cause a buzzing sound.
- Look inside the peg box to make sure there isn’t a loose end of a string sticking out and touching the peg box.
- This doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes the label on the inside of the instrument can come unglued and cause a slight buzzing sound.
- If your instrument has decorative pegs with collars or pips on them, make sure they aren’t coming loose.
- Have your luthier check to see if there are any open seams (a dramatic decrease in sound quality is also usually a sign of an open seam).
If you’ve checked all of these things and you still haven’t figure out what the issue might be, you will definitely want to have a luthier take a look at your instrument. Luthiers are like instrument detectives, Through a thorough process of deduction, they can usually hone in on whatever it is that is causing your instrument to make a strange or unwanted sound.