Funny Harmonic on the A String


Hi guys,

I've built myself my first Warmoth axe from 2nd hand fleabay parts. It's awesome but the A string kind of plays a harmonic when I dampen it, ie if I play a chord and completely stop it by using the side of my hand to stop it, I get this harmonic thing going on. This is now driving me crazy! Please advise........  bing!  ......... oh there it goes again!


change the strings
check for burrs and or funny saddle notch and or funny nut slot
check pickup elevation (not too close to the string please - keep about 2.5-3mm away on the bridge, then lower the neck pickup to balance the  two outputs)
check for loose things or things under weird tension - pickup spring that is not strong enough for instance, or totally too strong too
check for intonation thats way out of spec
That reverse headstock might also bear a bit of examination. The A string has a lot more vibratable length above the nut than a normal headstock would have and I don't see any string trees or locking nut up there. :icon_scratch:
This type of problem is very common on the G string, on guitars with non-reverse headstock, without string tree ot locking nut etc.
It seems to be most problematic on Teles, rather than Strats, but I can't think why...

Very careful nut slotting is required and also more wrap on the tuner, to lower the string and increase the break angle at the nut.
To find out if this is the problem on your A string, try putting something under the A string between the nut and tuner to dampen the vibrations.
I think that you will find that the harmonic goes away.

If it does, then try reshaping the A nut slot, and  put a new A on, with more wraps, to see if this is enough.
If not, then a string tree  should do the trick.

The problem is caused by the length of string behind the nut vibrating at the same frequency as on of the harmonics of the open string.
Another possible cause is the trem springs...if you can hear the ringing on the bridge pickup, nut not the neck pickup, then put some sponge under the trem springs and you're sorted!
I had this exact problem on the G string when I switched to wound thirds.  I installed a second string tree and it went away.  I see you have none, I'd say try one out.
Many thanks guys,

I've put a string tree in the existing hole and it has stopped the harmonic. I just had no idea that this would do it. I thought that the resonant frequency of the A string was the same as some component in the body.

btw, this is a Floyd Rose II, a bit worn, and I'm going to buy a new original FR just to get the action as low as possible. The nut is a Graphtech and they are Sperzel locking tuners, so I don't really need a locking nut (which I dont want). It stays in tune nicely.