How to fix a buzz in an acoustic guitar

Written by carl hose
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How to fix a buzz in an acoustic guitar

Regardless of how well you treat your acoustic guitar, it can develop a buzzing sound. Diagnosing the buzz can be a bit tricky. Here are several ways to address the problem.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Metal file
  • Nut
  • Bridge

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  1. 1

    Place your guitar on a flat surface and remove the strings. Run your fingers over the fret board to make sure the frets are even. If any appear to be raised, use your thumbs and strong downward pressure to press the fret back into its slot.

  2. 2

    Run your fingers along the outer edge of the neck and feel for any rough edges on the frets. If you find any, use a metal file to gently smooth the edges.

  3. 3

    Examine the nut. The nut is the plastic piece at the top of the fretboard where the strings rest. This is one of the most frequent causes of acoustic guitar buzz. Are the slots for the strings too wide? If so, replace the nut. You can purchase one at any music store for £1.90 to £3. Replacing the nut can make an immediate difference in the sound quality of your guitar.

    How to fix a buzz in an acoustic guitar
    Nut and truss rod access
  4. 4

    Look at the bridge. Make sure the pegs fit tightly into the holes, firmly holding the strings in place. Sometimes a new set of pegs is all you need to eliminate the buzz. You can purchase a set of string peg holders for about £3 at a music store.

  5. 5

    Install the bridge and the nut, then attach the strings. You are better off putting on new strings than reusing the old ones.

  6. 6

    As a last resort, adjust the truss rod, a metal bar inside the neck. Accessing the rod varies with the model of the guitar. You can raise and lower your action by tightening the truss rod or loosening it. (Tightening the truss rod will tighten your strings, so you should loosen them before starting the procedure.) Tightening the strings will raise them away from the frets, eliminating any buzz that may be caused by the neck tension. For more on adjusting the truss rod, a job often best left to professionals, see Resources (below).

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