How To Solve Fret Buzz

Fret Buzz is the noise that you get from the guitar when you strum the strings.

There are several ways to solve the fret buzz problem, but some of them involve a lot of time and possibly some modifications to your guitar.

So, in the end it is frequently easier just to buy a better quality guitar that still fits in your budget. Check here to see these guitars that will not have fret buzz problem, and solve the issue that you might have.

Changing the Guitar Neck

Guitar HeadstockA possible way to solve the fret buzz problem is fixing the guitar neck. Some guitar necks are made of poor quality woods, and with time they bend out of shape. This generates a lot of buzz noise, that make it difficult to play the instrument. It also causes string to ring in an uncomfortable way.

The solution in this case is to buy a guitar neck (that you can find in some online stores). Once you get a new, good quality neck, you can replace it with a screw driver and fix the buzz issue. To check that the fix worked, make sure that you get the guitar in tune and check if has stop with fret buzz.

Hot Tip: Learn more about different guitar parts here.

Leveling the Guitar Frets to Reduce Fret Buzz

Another possible way to solve the buzz problem in your guitar is to re-level the guitar frets. This means that you want to measure the position of the frets, and file the ones that are out of position, so that they will stop generating the buzz noise.

Leveling the guitar is a time consuming operation that requires a lot of attention. If you don’t have skill for this kind of work, there is the possibility of getting a certified person to check your guitar and change the leveling of the frets.

Changing the Truss Rod Tension

Another approach that may well work for fixing the fret buzz issue is to change the tension of the truss rod. This can be a way to solve the issue for most electric guitars and for some acoustic ones.

The Truss Rod is a device that exist in most electric and some acoustic guitars and that allows one to adapt the arch or the guitar neck, which can change the distance  between the strings and the fretboard.

The truss rod is a metal rod that reinforces the neck of most electric and some acoustic guitars. The truss rod can be regulated using an adjustment bolt. Most models have an adjustment bolt visible from a hole in the guitar headstock.

The string ringing is frequently related to a small distance between the strings and the fretboard. By adjusting the truss rod, one can change this distance and make you guitar sound better.

To perform the adjustment, you need to turn the adjustment bolt clockwise or counterclockwise. This will change the tension of the truss rod, and therefore alter the shape of the guitar net, therefore avoid some types of string buzz.

If you decide to adjust the truss rod, however, make sure that you only make small adjustments. A large change in the truss rod may increase the tension and damage or break the guitar neck. This will not solve the fret buzz and ruin your guitar.

Change the Height of the Bridge or Saddle

Accoustic guitar saddle

Guitar Saddle

Another approach to avoid fret buzz is to change the height of the bridge or saddle.

The bridge is the tail piece where the strings are connected. It supports the tension of the strings, and is made of metal in most electric guitars. The saddle is normally responsible for the guitar intonation, and should be adjusted to avoid intonation problems.

The guitar may also have a saddle: a second piece generally of metal that supports the strings between the bridge and the rest of the guitar body.

Hot Tip: to learn more about guitar saddle, take a look at our tips about this topic.

Depending on the model, these pieces will have height adjustment screws. For example, the Fender Stratocaster has a complex bridge with individual adjustment for string height. The Gibson instead has a separate saddle that has the height adjustments.

In any case, you can use a Phillips screw driver to change the height of strings.

The higher the string, there is less chance the strings will have to meet the fretboard and make the buzz sound.

The lower the string, there is more chance that the strings will meet the fretboard, causing noise.

The goal is to find the sweet spot where the strings will have good action (that is, are easy to handle) and still avoid the buzz noise.

File the Guitar Frets

Another possible reason for the buzz sound in your guitar strings is that some frets may be uneven. The solution for this is to use sand paper or a similar tool to file the fret, until it becomes even with the others.

This is an adjustments that requires you to remove the guitar strings first. Then, you need to use some sand paper to file the frets that need to be calibrated.

Check the Guitar Quality

One of the main reasons why you may have been hearing string ringing noises is that you are playing a guitar with poor quality. The main cause is that the distance between strings and the fretboard is not constant, generating noises from the simple vibration of the strings.

This is a common occurrence in cheap guitars that are not build with good quality controls. Basically they are built as quickly as possible, and some quality problems end up in the final product that was sold to you. While not every cheap guitar will have problems, this is unfortunately common in this kind of instruments.

The main solution in this case is to invest some money on a good quality instrument. The market nowadays has a lot of good guitar brands competing and by paying just a few more dollars you can get a much better instrument.

Send Your Guitar to a Specialist

Another option you can use is having someone knowledgeable to check your instrument. This may be easiest way to handle your problems, because a specialist has the necessary knowledge and tools to fix the way your strings are sounding, and make adjustments to the guitar.

Most cities will have someone that has the knowledge to make adjustments or to fix a guitar, if it is electric or acoustic. Normally, you’ll find specialists working for guitar repair shops around the country.

Learning More About Guitars

If you like to learn more about guitars, I recommend our introductory, free guitar course (PDF format). In this course, you’ll learn about proper maintenance of your guitar, and other topics such as:

To get your free course, just visit this page and request it, the file will be sent to the email address you indicate.