Here are a few possible sources of suspicious noises:
  • One of the fine tuners, or the little screw holding it in place is not engaged (is loose) and is vibrating.
  • The chin rest is touching the tail piece.
  • The student is wearing a necklace or something pinned to the shirt which is buzzing against part of the instrument.
  • The student is accidentally touching a string lightly.
  • A finger tape is loose and touching a string.
  • There is an open crack in the instrument which is vibrating.
  • The shoulder rest is touching the back of the instrument.
  • The bow is not tightened and the stick is touching the strings.
  • The grooves in the nut or bridge have become too deep. (Time for a new nut or bridge.)
  • The fingerboard has developed grooves under the strings, and they are vibrating against it when fingered in certain positions. Fingerboards can be planed to correct this problem, or replaced if they’ve worn down too much.
  • The bass bar (which is glued inside the top under the “G” foot of the bridge) has come loose.
  • The tiny “sleeve” (which should be centered on the bridge) is between the bridge and tail piece rather than in its correct place. All E strings have this sleeve. Sometimes other strings do also.
  • Very occasionally a child will vocalize while playing. They don’t even realize they are doing it! It’s as if they are trying to cause the instrument to make the right sound by humming along. This is sometimes a tricky one. Knowing what’s wrong, and getting it fixed are two different things! Only a few children ever try this, and I try to teach, right from the start, to never use the voice while playing (if you’re in playing position, you are not allowed to talk!). If you can’t track an odd noise to any other source, try watching the child’s neck as he plays. If he is vocalizing, you can sometimes see it in the area of the voice box.