Guitar Buzzing ? Fix Fret & String Buzz

Types of Guitar Buzzing Problems

Fret Out or String Buzz - This happens when a string comes in contact with a fret and a buzzing sound occurs. This is the most frequent cause of annoying buzzes. See chart for diagnostics.

Hardware Buzz - Parts can also cause buzzing. Probably the most common items which buzz on acoustic guitars are loose input jacks and loose tuning machine bushings. Pre-amps and pickup components that are not seated well can also rattle.

Sympathetic Buzz - Thankfully this is not too common. Certain frequencies can set off strange rattling and vibrations. These types of buzzes differ in that they occur only when certain frequencies are played.

Loose Brace Rattle- Braces that split or come loose in an acoustic guitar can sometimes be heard rattling against the top or back when playing or tapping.

Causes of Fret Buzz

Symptom Possible Cause Remedy

Open String Buzz

Buzzes when played open, stops when string is fretted.

Nut

Worn or poorly cut nut slot is placing the strings too close to the frets near the nut.

Replace nut or shim to add height. Set up instrument properly.

One Spot Buzz

Buzzes on one note, or one area but stops when moving away from that spot.

Frets

Frets are not level, one or more is too high/low. Loose or sprung fret is rising out of the fingerboard. Hump in fingerboard. Wear or deep grooves in frets.

Secure all loose frets, level and dress. Fret leveling and/or replacement of worn frets.

Upper Fret Buzz

Buzzes where the neck attaches to the body. Notes seem to fret out when playing near the body.

Fingerboard

On acoustics, section of fingerboard that is glued to the top may rise/fall with temperature/moisture extremes due to changes in the top.

Fingerboard is warped in a way to render the end too high (most common on archtop's).

Evaluate for dryness, humidify if necessary.

Frets near f/b extension may need leveling.

In rare cases the board must be planed to remove hump.

Buzzes When I Strum Hard

Buzzing occurs when strumming or picking aggressively but can be silenced when playing lightly.

Set Up

Insufficient relief in the neck.

Poor set up.

String gauge too light.

Adjust truss rod.

Set up instrument properly.

Use heavier strings.

Buzzes Everywhere

Buzzes nearly everywhere even though it is set up properly, will often disappear if string is fretted hard or closer to the fret and plucked softly.

Frets

Frets may be worn out or too low.

Very small fret wire used.

Replace frets.

Frets Out

Buzzes nearly everywhere all the time, strings are literally touching the frets in the center or other area of the fingerboard.

Neck

Truss rod may be way too tight back bowing the neck.

Neck could be a warped, or have excess back bow even after truss rod is loosened.

Set up instrument properly.

Adjust truss rod for more relief.

Use heavier strings if relief can not be created thru truss rod adjustment.

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