Why Do My Guitar Strings Buzz?

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Why Are Your Guitar Strings Buzzing?

People often wonder why do my guitar strings buzz. If you’re faced with the same dilemma, you’ve come to the right place.

Guitar strings can buzz for various reasons. In certain cases, the buzzing is caused by the fact that the strings are spalted. When a string is spalted, it is painted on the cross section, which makes the string appear to be sharper. Spalted strings sound dull, and they are less stable, and the sharper point makes it more pliable. This makes the string vibrate at a higher pitch, which causes it to sound “cheesy.”

A guitar will also make buzz when the strings are old, and many times the strings have been given a short break in between tuning the guitar and when the problem occurs. If the cause is caused by the guitar having been used improperly for an extended period of time, the buzzing can last a long time. It can be potentially hazardous to not get your strings tested at least once every two years. This often includes things such as worn, uneven, or loose frets, or unnatural humps or bumps in your fretboard.

Yet there are other “normal” things that you can change or control that is causing your guitar strings to buzz. These common issues are discussed below.

Why Do My Guitar Strings Buzz?

1. The Incorrect Setup

Guitars have adjustment points that depend on each other in a certain way. The higher the position, the more power the strings get from the pickups. If you not familiar with this process, you will first want to know how to raise action on guitar.

If you have a humbucker guitar and the high-end, midrange and bridge pickups are in tune, they’ll produce a much more pleasing sound. However, if the high-end and low-end pickups are off, the sound will be less than desirable and often strings will buzz. So, its clear tweaking one thing has an effect on another. Tweak something else, and you will have to make adjustments to another thing in order to compensate. If any of these things are out of alignment, your guitar is probably not set up correctly, and buzzing strings is one of these symptoms.

A setup that is performed by an experienced repair person can be compared to obtaining a tuneup for a car by a skilled mechanic. This is the best method to ensure every point is adjusted correctly, and that a guitar is a buzz-free as possible.

It is important at some stage to learn how to perform your own guitar setup. However, learning how to do this does take a bit of time. For this reason, use a professional to start with.

2. Not Pressing the Strings Down Close Enough Behind the Fret

When you press one of your guitars strings down when creating a note, the finger that is pressing down should be as close as possible to the fret. If you are not close enough, you will have to press down even harder to make sure each note rings cleanly and clearly without any buzzing.

3. Not Applying Enough Pressure to The Strings

While learning how to press each note that you are playing in the right position, you also need to ensure that the pressure you are applying to each string is enough. Even when your fingers are in the right position (close to the frets), if you are not pressing hard enough the notes will start to buzz caused by the metal frets.

4. Low Humidity

When it comes to guitars, especially the acoustic models which were invested in early 1930’s, they perform the best in relative humidity which is between 45% and 55%. If you reside in one of the dry climates or you have an air conditioner or heater constantly running in your home, your guitar may become dry if you haven’t taken the necessary precautions to ensure there is enough moisture in the air. One of the more obvious symptoms relating to a “dry guitar”, will include fret ends that are sharp which results in buzzing strings.

I hope this guide on “why do my guitar strings buzz” would have been informative for you.


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Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.