7 Little Known Factors that Could Cause Fret Buzz (and How to Fix It)

7 Little Known Factors that Could Cause Fret Buzz (and How to Fix It)

Sometimes having the guitar of your dreams that sounds like it came from heaven is simply not enough. Sometimes, you might find yourself in the situation where the strings are buzzing against the frets.

What is fret buzz, you might ask yourself. Shortly, the sound made by a guitar string that is rattling against a fret wire. Usually, this happens when it is played or plucked. This phenomenon usually occurs on guitars that are nylon-stringed, and especially the ones that are Flamenco style. The explanation is that you will find the action set a bit lower than normal since Flamenco guitarists do enjoy a bit of buzzing and the sound of aggressiveness.

You must also know that the “buzzing” takes place upwards on the guitar neck, around the 9th and 10th fret. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen in other places as well. When the strings vibrate into the fret that is standing next to what you are playing, and not vibrating over it, you can hear the dreaded fret buzz – the sound of metal on metal. Your guitar strap shouldn’t be part of the issue, but being comfortable is always a priority.

Here are seven not so known factors that can cause fret buzz.

  1. The Technique

In many cases, it is not the guitar’s fault, but the guitarist’s. That may happen if you don’t press the strings down hard enough, or you fret too far behind the intended fret. And this shouldn’t be a reason to be sad because it’s the thing that has the cheapest remedy. Also, if you do not place your fingers properly – if you play for example too close to the end of the fret, the strings won’t have enough room to vibrate as they should, causing the next fret to vibrate. To prevent that, you should try and place your fingers somewhere in the middle.

  1. The Propeller Neck

If the neck has begun tilting on itself, then some strings might begin to buzz. You can verify that by looking at the neck of the guitar, towards its bridge, and if you don’t see a flat surface, but a curved one, then you need to have it repaired.

  1. The Bridge Adjustments

One of the most common causes of fret buzz is the fact that the guitar intonation or action is set too low. Since every bridge has its height adjustment part, it shouldn’t be too difficult to set it up with a screwdriver. What you want to achieve is heightening the bridge a bit for the buzzing to stop. Try baby steps and catch the point where the buzzing stops. You can also try looking straight down the fretboard towards the body of the guitar and if the bridge seems to be a bit uneven, then simply adjust it.

  1. Neck Curvature

Another factor that can cause fret buzz is the neck’s curvature. If the neck is not bent properly, it may cause your strings to buzz. If this is the case, it is best to take your guitar to a person that knows how to repair them since it is fairly complicated to spot it and fix it – they already have a bit of a bend that facilitates the optimum tension of the strings.

  1. The Adjustment of the Truss Rod

The truss road stands for the metal pole that goes through the center of the guitar neck and makes the wood keep its curvature. If the tension on your truss rod is not correct, and there is a difference in the neck curvature, then the strings might snap. The ideal solution is to take it to a guitar repair place, and not try to fix it yourself because tightening it too much can cause the neck of the guitar to crack.

  1. The Action or the Intonation Is Too Low

That means that the strings are lying too close to the fretboard, and although this makes the playing much easier, it also causes the annoying fret buzz.

  1. The Fault In Your Tuning Pegs or the Headstock Tightening

That usually happens when the tuning pegs are a tad loose, so that is why you must ensure that the screws and the pegs themselves are tight enough.

Fret buzz can be annoying, especially if you are just learning to play the guitar and don’t know what is causing it. With a bit of help and practice, you can stop the strings from buzzing against the fret.