How to Fix Fret Buzz (Guitar Buzzing) Once and For All

fret buzz and guitar buzzingYou’ve got the fingerings memorized and the transitions smooth as ever – but then, without fail, that dreaded fret buzz comes out.

Extra noises – we’re talking humming, buzzing, scratchy amps, and the like – are often the bane of guitar players, and it’s something that beginners all the way up to advanced players deal with.

There are several factors that contribute to guitar buzzing sounds. Taking good care of your instrument can help, but natural wear and tear may affect the sound quality, especially if you play often.

Here are five steps you can take to determine the cause of fret buzz and prevent it!

5 Steps to Fix Fret Buzz, AKA Guitar Buzzing

1. Check Your Strings

Strings covered with dirt or grime can create a host of problems. Make sure to clean and change your guitar strings regularly to ensure the best sound overall.

If your strings continue to buzz, but only when you’re playing with a lot of pressure,  you may need to switch to heavier strings.

2. Check Your Frets

Hold your guitar out and look down its neck to check that all of the frets are even and the binding is still intact. Examine your guitar for worn or uneven frets, as any grooves or depressions from frequent use can cause fret buzz.

Fret replacements can be pricey, so if you notice any issues, take your guitar into a shop to see if they can simply reset the frets, which can help.

3. Check the Fingerboard

If you notice that the ends of your frets have become sharp and jagged, it may indicate issues with the actual fingerboard. This is a common problem for players in dry environments, especially if you’re not taking proper care of your guitar.

Try using lemon oil on the fretboard to keep the wood moisturized.  If the fingerboard is already warped, take it into a shop to get the frets leveled. In the worst case scenario, you may need to replace the fingerboard.

4. Check the Hardware

Examine the guitar for any other loose parts: the bridge, pegheads, braces, string windings and screws, as well as cracks in the body. A good way to find loose parts it to tap your knuckles against the neck and body and listen for any rattling.

If you’re not familiar with guitar repair, make sure to take your instrument to a professional so you don’t create even more damage.

5. Check Your Technique

Even if your guitar is in great shape, poor (or simply under-developed) technique can be the underlying culprit of guitar buzzing.

If you haven’t developed calluses on your fingers yet, for example, you may not be putting enough pressure on the strings.

Other causes include placing the pick at an unusual angle (keep it at a 90-degree angle perpendicular to the strings), or placing the fingers too far behind the fret. Work on your technique, and you should notice a much better sound as you progress.

Did you find the cause of your fret buzz? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Photo by meddygarnet.

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