You can get a
very good start on guitar repair, care and
maintenance by checking out our web site for the
following book titles.
Guitar Payer Repair Guide
FAQ: Electric Guitar Care and Setup
FAQ Electric Guitar Care and Setup
Electric Guitar Care, Maintenance and
FAQ: Acoustic Guitar Care and Setup
FAQ: Bass Guitar Care and Setup
STRING BUZZ - CAN I FIX IT ??
First, take a look
at the strings. It might be time to replace them
with new ones.
Have they accumulated a film? (You might want to
look on the underside and see if the dirt has
built up there.) There are a number of products
designed to extend the life of strings, but if
you really want to go the economy route, then
simply wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth.
This is better than nothing.
Can you see dirt and grime building up on the
fret board? (This is minor, but if you're
cleaning the grime, you might just as well clean
this surface during the string change.) You might
want to clean this with a slightly damp cloth or
a good guitar cleaner. There are people who
recommend using the finest grade of steel wool
and abrade extra tough dirt off of your fret
board. I haven't had the need to go this far yet,
and would use extreme caution and go easy on the
elbow grease to be sure not to scratch the finish
on the wood.
A long term sweat and dirt buildup can eventually
damage the glue joints and possibly warp your
instrument (this could happen after a long period
of exposure without any maintenance). I'm would
not be considered an avid "guitar polishing
guy" but and occasional cleaning of the fret
board will extend your guitar's life.
If this doesn't help or fix the problem, the
solution might require the expertise of an
experienced guitar technician. There are some
things you probably should do to pinpoint the
exact location of the buzz, however, I would
never recommend that you grab tools and try to
adjust a guitar on their own. Learn from a person
with experience and your guitar won't become a
Check and see if the buzz is consistent along the
length of the neck (check from the open strings
to the small spaced frets toward the bottom or
near the body of the instrument).
Pick each one of the strings open without
fretting any notes.
Begin fretting each string at the first fret then
move down toward the body. You might not need to
successively fret each and every position, of
course if you're compulsive about your
instrument, then go ahead and check each fret.
Make yourself a note as to just where the buzz
appears and where it goes away or stops. If the
buzz continues and remains from the open strings
and doesn't go away even during fretting of the
highest pitched frets, the problem is most likely
in the bridge or the saddle assembly. Are there
any parts that are loose? You might want to have
a guitar technician work on this area.
they'll let you view the repair process. I have
gleaned a lot of maintenance knowledge and ideas
by being present during a repair and asking
simple question while someone was working on my
instruments. (Try not to get in the way, guitar
technicians will tolerate your presence and
questions, if they don't get annoyed by your
If you pin down the buzzing to the section of
your guitar neck closer to the main body:
You might need to have the strings saddles
adjusted upward so they'll be higher and farther
away from the first frets they go over. If you
decide to do this yourself, then make the
adjustments in small increments so you don't
raise the action more than necessary. If the
height of the saddle won't adjust up enough, then
a truss rod adjustment is probably needed (see
There might be a fret or two that needs to be
sanded slightly to eliminate an inconsistent span
of the frets on the neck. Don't try to make this
adjustment yourself. If you happen to go too far,
the damaged and mutilated fret will become
permanently out of pitch.
If the fret buzzing is closer to the middle of
the neck (towards the head or nut):
Inserting a thin shim under the nut might raise
the strings high enough to eliminate the strings'
buzzy contact with the frets. This can be a bit
difficult if the nut is glued, but for those of
you who put up with the locking variety, you can
easily remove the nut and insert a small, thin
piece of paper or some foil under the nut.
Remember though to take it in increments; it can
be very hard to play those neoclassical licks
with an action that is to high.
The neck of your guitar may need to have the
truss rod adjusted. A truss rod is a rod of metal
running the length of a guitar's neck. Using a
tool to turn it to the left or right, you cause
the wood of the neck to bow in or out. Out of all
the adjustments mentioned so far, this is the
most dangerous to your guitar's neck and should
with out a doubt be handled by a guitar repair
technician. Should you turn the rod too far (even
be it a fraction of a turn), you can splinter the
guitar neck. This step is a good one to watch and
learn. A minute adjustment can make a huge
difference in the bow of the your guitar's neck.
Each and every adjustment might necessitate other
adjustments to preserve a proper action. Try
cleaning the neck and getting a new set of
strings, this might solve your problems. If you
are a strummer and are using light strings, you
might want to raise the action and/or move to a
bit heavier gauge of strings. Don't hesitate to
take your instrument to a good guitar technician
of your choice. You might well learn quite a bit
for future care and maintenance of your guitar.
I hope reading this helps. Enjoy your music !!