Amusing solution to strange overtones on an R8.....

MiniB

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Hey All,

It just started happening tonight, and on the plain strings only for whatever reason. Just these weird added overtones that were like a quarter-step off in frequency and oscillating quickly. Looked at everything, behind the nut, behind the bridge, took off the pick guard, in the control cavity, even tried different ABR bridges...and it was happening through different amps, a Deluxe Reverb and an older Mustang modeling amp. And then strange thing when I went directly from the Mustang into computer over USB and just recorded some lines, it's not there...not a hint. And when I played acoustically only with my ear against the body, also not there. So for whatever reason, it's going through my guitar and amps, but not when I record?! Jesus, am I going nuts?

If it was just one amp, I could see it being some sort of loose connection vibrating sympathetically or such, but through both amps independently? Checked the table, the window, anything that could be vibrating in close proximity. Couldn't stop it. Then I dropped my pick and started cursing out loud as I bent over to pick it up, from being so aggravated.....and then noticed that my cursing sounded weird. Looked over and realized I had a room fan on right next to me. Turned it off and started playing some high-string notes, and the overtones started to slow down and faded away.

So what was happening is what I believe sound engineers refer to as 'fluttering' when higher frequencies from speakers reflect off of nearby surfaces and smear or create audio artifacts. In this case it was three broad propellers spinning, and the effect was the same as when we talk through or even at a fan and get that strange helicopter effect. This is why room treatment is so important for reference sound from monitors, and this was what was happening. Funny because I couldn't sense the direction from the fan, it just sounded like some slightly dissonant overtones from the amps' speakers. Granted, the fan was only about six feet away. And for whatever reason it wasn't affecting playback from my audio monitors, probably because the amps and fan were ground level facing each other, and the monitors were on a desk facing away.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling, but I thought some might find it funny. The guitar is fine. Lesson learned.....maybe it's the room, or something that's going on in the room. Keep fans away from speakers. :p
 
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Slater529

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That was a weird one! Glad you got if figured out. :dude:
 

MiniB

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Seriously was driving me nuts for over an hour!
 

strayedstrater

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As I was reading the first couple of paragraphs, "ceiling fan" popped into my head. Because they generally spin more slowly than portable fans and aren't directly in line with the speakers, their sonic affect is a bit more subtle than what you were describing. So it took me a long time to figure out why my rig with exactly the same settings would sound great most days, but warbley and weird other days.
 

MiniB

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As I was reading the first couple of paragraphs, "ceiling fan" popped into my head. Because they generally spin more slowly than portable fans and aren't directly in line with the speakers, their sonic affect is a bit more subtle than what you were describing. So it took me a long time to figure out why my rig with exactly the same settings would sound great most days, but warbley and weird other days.
Isn't it weird? In this case, it really sounded right on top of the note, like something was buzzing or vibrating in the speaker or in the guitar. And what made it even more confounding was that if I played the same note higher on a wound string, it wouldn't happen. So right away my thought was something in the bridge or guitar or the tuners doing something wacky. Or both a digital and a tube amp on separate occasions somehow had the same microphonic/structural issue with those strings......because a line recording into computer over USB was fine.

And yeah, come to think of it, I was told something about ceiling fans years back by an audio engineer. This sound was as if you had a really fast 'rotating tweeter'! :p
 
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spitfire

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Yep, it's a thing. I first discovered this after moving and having a new music room with a ceiling fan. It was like every note sounded out of tune. And it is exactly what you think. The note sound reflects off the moving fan blades and it alters their pitch.

While I higher speed fan would certainly have a different effect than a much slower turning ceiling fan, it makes sense that it could do something audible.
 

Sneaks

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Hey All,

It just started happening tonight, and on the plain strings only for whatever reason. Just these weird added overtones that were like a quarter-step off in frequency and oscillating quickly. Looked at everything, behind the nut, behind the bridge, took off the pick guard, in the control cavity, even tried different ABR bridges...and it was happening through different amps, a Deluxe Reverb and an older Mustang modeling amp. And then strange thing when I went directly from the Mustang into computer over USB and just recorded some lines, it's not there...not a hint. And when I played acoustically only with my ear against the body, also not there. So for whatever reason, it's going through my guitar and amps, but not when I record?! Jesus, am I going nuts?

If it was just one amp, I could see it being some sort of loose connection vibrating sympathetically or such, but through both amps independently? Checked the table, the window, anything that could be vibrating in close proximity. Couldn't stop it. Then I dropped my pick and started cursing out loud as I bent over to pick it up, from being so aggravated.....and then noticed that my cursing sounded weird. Looked over and realized I had a room fan on right next to me. Turned it off and started playing some high-string notes, and the overtones started to slow down and faded away.

So what was happening is what I believe sound engineers refer to as 'fluttering' when higher frequencies from speakers reflect off of nearby surfaces and smear or create audio artifacts. In this case it was three broad propellers spinning, and the effect was the same as when we talk through or even at a fan and get that strange helicopter effect. This is why room treatment is so important for reference sound from monitors, and this was what was happening. Funny because I couldn't sense the direction from the fan, it just sounded like some slightly dissonant overtones from the amps' speakers. Granted, the fan was only about six feet away. And for whatever reason it wasn't affecting playback from my audio monitors, probably because the amps and fan were ground level facing each other, and the monitors were on a desk facing away.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling, but I thought some might find it funny. The guitar is fine. Lesson learned.....maybe it's the room, or something that's going on in the room. Keep fans away from speakers. :p
Damn those FANS! I went down a similar rabbit hole not long ago. I first assumed I had a string going "dead" but the problem persisted regardless of which guitar or amp I used. Like you, only my unwound strings were affected. Luckily I found out what was happening when my son walked in front of the fan, that was across the room, and the "fluttering" stopped.
There is a poor guy in Greece I have been talking too that was experiencing this same issue and had literally replaced his entire rig trying to get it sorted. He was happy to find the culprit but sick that he had given up and replaced a lot of really nice gear. He also had some interesting conversations/battles with the poor folks at Fractal that were trying to help him.
I wonder how many others have been victimized by those damn oscillating beasts!
 

MiniB

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Damn those FANS! I went down a similar rabbit hole not long ago. I first assumed I had a string going "dead" but the problem persisted regardless of which guitar or amp I used. Like you, only my unwound strings were affected. Luckily I found out what was happening when my son walked in front of the fan, that was across the room, and the "fluttering" stopped.
There is a poor guy in Greece I have been talking too that was experiencing this same issue and had literally replaced his entire rig trying to get it sorted. He was happy to find the culprit but sick that he had given up and replaced a lot of really nice gear. He also had some interesting conversations/battles with the poor folks at Fractal that were trying to help him.
I wonder how many others have been victimized by those damn oscillating beasts!
It was only when I cursed out loud that I figured it out. It was funny because it was like "Oh you mother****er......!" Then I heard the strange but familiar effect and tested it with ".....mooooooooother-***************-errr.....moooooother-***, oh for christ's sake...." Imagine someone walking in at that moment.

Other interesting phenomenon is how hard it was to pinpoint where it was coming from, and so hard to identify it as a reflection. When this happens with lower frequencies with longer waveforms, it's more perceived as a dip or such, posing issues with big long waveforms. Low frequencies tend to be harder to locate in terms of directionality. But the mid to higher frees. tend to be more distinct and easier to identify in directionality. With that higher frequency, the waveforms mess with eachother and create that weird off-tune oscillation, but because of all the phasing stuff it becomes harder to locate and that really throws us off. It only makes sense that it's coming from what we know to be the source because it's kind of everywhere, but nowhere at the same time. It's screwing up our 'radar'.

Also for those who have gigged out a lot in various clubs and rooms, especially when there isn't much of a sound system, your same rig will sound wildly different in different places.
 
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moreles

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I'm going to try an expression pedal wired to my ceiling fan... I've learned (on other forums, of course) that the most bizarre and complex setups naturally produce the best tones.
 

Sneaks

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It was only when I cursed out loud that I figured it out. It was funny because it was like "Oh you mother****er......!" Then I heard the strange but familiar effect and tested it with ".....mooooooooother-***************-errr.....moooooother-***, oh for christ's sake...." Imagine someone walking in at that moment.

Other interesting phenomenon is how hard it was to pinpoint where it was coming from, and so hard to identify it as a reflection. When this happens with lower frequencies with longer waveforms, it's more perceived as a dip or such, posing issues with big long waveforms. Low frequencies tend to be harder to locate in terms of directionality. But the mid to higher frees. tend to be more distinct and easier to identify in directionality. With that higher frequency, the waveforms mess with eachother and create that weird off-tune oscillation, but because of all the phasing stuff it becomes harder to locate and that really throws us off. It only makes sense that it's coming from what we know to be the source because it's kind of everywhere, but nowhere at the same time. It's screwing up our 'radar'.

Also for those who have gigged out a lot in various clubs and rooms, especially when there isn't much of a sound system, your same rig will sound wildly different in different places.
I was lucky to find the issue without losing my mind. My fan was oscillating also, so it could have ended up being a wild rabbit chase. I also play standing up most of the time so that only added to the mystery. That poor guy in Greece sold multiple guitars and changed amps before admitting the culprit was indeed a damn fan. As soon as I saw your original post I was like....ah ha! I bet there's a friggin' fan involved in this scenario!!!!

I feel like someone should put together a PSA/thread "Fan users BEWARE!"
1590944991126.png


Glad you figured it out pretty quick.
 

MiniB

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I'm going to try an expression pedal wired to my ceiling fan... I've learned (on other forums, of course) that the most bizarre and complex setups naturally produce the best tones.
Stop spending all your money on Leslie's, Vibratone cabs, Motion sounds and simulators. $20 bucks will get you a window fan, a variac and sewing machine pedal!

I was lucky to find the issue without losing my mind. My fan was oscillating also, so it could have ended up being a wild rabbit chase. I also play standing up most of the time so that only added to the mystery. That poor guy in Greece sold multiple guitars and changed amps before admitting the culprit was indeed a damn fan. As soon as I saw your original post I was like....ah ha! I bet there's a friggin' fan involved in this scenario!!!!

I feel like someone should put together a PSA/thread "Fan users BEWARE!" View attachment 466166

Glad you figured it out pretty quick.
Yeah would have really sucked if I sold gear because of it, and it still happened with the new stuff.
 


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