Fret buzzes giving you nightmares? Get a fix right now

January 25, 2019

Fret buzzing is every guitar player’s worst nightmare. Nothing spoils the mood and the fun of playing than a fret buzz. At times they are even audible over the distortion channel of the amp! For the amateur guitarists, this is something you lot suffer more from, because of the lack of guitar maintenance! Get expert advice on how to fix fret buzzing.

What is a fret buzz?

A fret buzz is a buzzing noise you get when the string you play vibrates against the frets of the guitar. It can usually mean a lot of problems including the common ones of truss rod damage or old and worn out frets. Seasonal changes affect the wood in your guitar leading to truss rod damage. 

So, what exactly happens?

If you are leaving your guitar exposed to the various seasonal changes, you are essentially exposing your guitar to the changes in relative humidity and temperature changes. Without any preventive measure, your guitar is bound to suffer from fret buzzing due to bending of the neck and the wood parts which essentially damages the metal truss within the neck of your guitar. To control this guitar warping, you need to take precautions to avoid humidity and temperature changes in your room or your guitar case. Also, loosen the strings when you aren’t playing. It takes only 2 minutes to tune up!

Identifying a fret buzz

It can get challenging to isolate clearly the rogue string and the fret that is causing the buzz. Fret buzzing can occur all over the fingerboard. Our expert advice here is to look for the buzz around the first fret area to make sure it’s a nut problem, around the middle to up the scale on the fretboard for truss rod problems. If the buzz is from the headstock, then it is guitar warping due to seasonal changes.

So what are the various guitar buzz troubles? We have already given you a general idea about what to look for and more importantly where exactly to look for the problems. Since the buzz might or might not originate from precisely one place on the instrument, you could potentially be facing challenges on many fronts. Let’s go over them in detail.

The hardware buzz

The guitar you have comprises of a lot of loose and spare parts either bolted or pasted together with adhesive. With natural wear and tear a screw might come loose, or the adhesive has worn off. It will result in the guitarist hearing an audible buzz during performances and practice runs. Look for rattling sounds when you move the guitar to identify the loose input jacks, tuning heads, pick parts or picks that might have slipped inside the cavity of a hollow body guitar.

A sympathetic buzz

It is not that common but still seen in battle hardy electric guitars where the guitar produces a particular frequency ion a specific note or string that causes other parts to vibrate or rattle due to resonance. The problem of a sympathetic buzz is typical of the instrument, and you should get it checked by a professional guitar maintenance service.

String buzz

The string buzz also called the fretting out is the most common cause of buzzing sounds in a guitar or any fretted string instrument for that matter. Here the string comes in contact with a fret causing the buzz. It might be due to a nut problem, a truss rod problem or a neck hardware problem.

Identifying the source of the problem is important for your guitar before trying to fix it. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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