Fret Buzzing and Getting Your Guitar Set Up

…Well maybe not what I learned..more like what was brought back to my attention. As many of you may know, I recently released my 90 Day Guitar Program. The program is really meant to help beginner guitar players get from zero to being able to play guitar and giving them the tools they need to advance in the future once the program is over. So in order to get the word out that this new program is in existence, I created a video to help promote it. This video featured a friend of mine, who wants to learn guitar, trying to play a few thing, then myself playing a couple pieces of nice, “well known” tunes that are fun to play.

Well, one person decided to comment on how unclean and buzzy my guitar playing was. This kind of took me by surprise. After all, “I know my guitar playing isn’t crappy!” Right?? Then I went back and watched the video…low and behold it definitely wasn’t flawless. So I picked up my guitar and played those songs again. It still sounded kinda crappy! Wtf?!? Then I remembered something that I had forgot about and grown used to hearing. Two words: Guitar Setup. Or should that be three words? Guitar Set Up?? Who cares?

A while back I had my guitar re-setup and had the luthier (guitar builder guy) lower the action. Lowering the action means that he adjusts the guitar neck and bridge saddle so that the strings are closer to the fretboard. This makes a guitar much easier to play. I definitely recommend this to all beginners if they find the strings hard to press down to the frets. I was having some extra work done, so I figured I’d let him take care of it. He lowered the action so that it was as low as it could be without buzzing much. It did have a tiny little bit of fret buzzing at times, but I was ok with that.

Well, several months back, playing out 3-4 hr gigs 4-5 nights a week I decided to start using lighter strings. These lighter strings felt fantastic! They were fast, easy to press and easy to bend, which isn’t normally the case for acoustic guitars. However, these lighter strings also put less tension on the neck of the guitar. He had set it up for a heavier string. Now with a lighter string..more buzz. But it was much easier to play!

I liked playing with the light strings, but I hated the buzz. I kept telling myself that I would get it adjusted, but being busy and using it everyday, I didn’t have time to leave it and I kept forgetting. I grew used to the buzzing and it didn’t bother me anymore. So I’ve been playing my buzzy guitar and it hasn’t been bothering me. However, now I’m re-motivated to going ahead and getting the buzz fixed.

So lesson learned…don’t make a video with a buzzy guitar. On the other hand. Any of you beginners out there who may be having a hard time fretting and/or hear some fret buzzing, you may want to look into getting your guitar setup. This can definitely make things easier for you..and sound better. In my opinion, I would rather it buzz a little and play like a champ rather than have no buzz and be super hard to play. Best to have it perfect when possible!

Here’s an example of really low action:
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Notice how the strings are really close to the fretboard. This makes it much easier to play. Just be careful that it’s not too low like mine or you may get a buzz!

Here’s an example of high action:
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This makes the strings very hard to press down, and often times causes it to buzz as well if you are unable to press the strings hard enough.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Get your guitar set up!

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Micah

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