How can I stop my guitar strings buzzing?

According to a Guitar String Guide poll, stopping buzzing is the most difficult thing for beginners learning to play the guitar. There are two main causes of string buzzing (commonly known as fret buzz) - player technique and guitar setup.
To check which is causing the problem for you, first check your guitar setup.

Guitar setup problems
First play each string in turn "open" - that is, with no left-hand fingers fretting notes. If some or all of your strings buzz against the frets when played open, then you probably need to adjust your guitar's bridge or neck. Both of these are easy to do on an electric guitar, but a little more tricky on an acoustic guitar. We'll add some detailed guidance on guitar setup soon, but in the meantime try searching for "setup" in our custom search engine at the top right of this page.

Guitar playing problems
Most beginner guitarists have problems fretting chords when they are new to playing the guitar. This is quite usual, so with a little practice and perseverance you can soon cure the dreaded fret buzz.

To get a good idea of what is causing the buzz, first try playing a single note - for example, fret the fifth (A) string at the fifth fret, giving a D note.
- Experiment with picking (plucking) the string both gently and harder... you'll find that the harder you pick the string, the more likely it is to buzz. For beginners at least, gentle is better!
- Experiment fretting closer to, and further back from, the fret. You'll find that if your finger is too far behind the fret it will buzz, but if too close (or on top of) the fret it will sound dull and won't ring or sustain.

Now the tricky bit... holding down chords. Firstly, try to RELAX! Easier said than done, as we all put too much effort in when we are struggling with something new. When playing guitar chords this often results in a 'death grip', where you press far too hard in an effort to hold down the chord. There are no easy answers, except practice, practice, practice, checking the fret position against what you learnt above. But be reassured that all guitarists go through this and it's only a matter of time... you WILL overcome the fret buzz in time.

Don't struggle with left hand position!

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Stop that buzz!!

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