My friends often complain that when playing the guitar, one or more strings make a distinctive rattling sound. This phenomenon occurs not only for old, but also on completely new instruments. New and old guitars have different reasons for rattling, so it is better to consider them separately.
What makes the strings rattle
A distinctive rattling sound occurs when a sounding string touches an adjacent fret when it oscillates.
What to do if the strings on the guitar rattle
Strings can rattle for a variety of reasons. Some of them can be corrected yourself with a small adjustment of the instrument. In other cases, you need a guitar master. Consider the main causes of foreign sounds and how you can eliminate them.
For new guitars:
1. Small distance between strings and neck
In the manufacture of guitars usually do not bother with the fine tuning of each instrument. This defect can be corrected in the store before selling, but this does not always happen. Therefore, the inter-string distance of the new instrument may be lowered, so that the sound of the string will touch the neighboring frets. This is the simplest reason for making extraneous sounds.
It can be fixed by rotating the anchor rod with the appropriate key, which usually comes complete with a new guitar. The basic rule is to set a minimum distance at which the strings do not rattle. The smaller the distance – the easier it is to clamp strings. But there should be no extraneous sounds.
2. Curved neck
In this case, the «propeller» effect is created when the neck bends around its longitudinal axis. If the neck is defective, only replacement or overhaul will help. But such cases are rare, mainly the cheapest guitars.
In order not to buy a defective guitar, you need to look along the neck from the decks to the pins and make sure that the distance between the strings and the neck is the same along the length.
3. Different frets height
In production without proper quality control, tools with different frets height can appear, i.e. the subsequent frets can be higher than the previous. Such an instrument is considered defective, but may well be on the shelves of music stores. To avoid such a defect, you need to carefully check the guitar before buying.
But if you still have a instrument with such a problem, you can fix it only by replacing one or more frets. This operation can be done by a qualified master on special equipment.
4. Loosened pegs
Another reason for the appearance of foreign sounds on the new guitar may be the loosely split pins. The manufacturer of the guitars during assembly does not tighten the fixing elements of the pins. Because of this, the peg can rattle when the string vibration.
To correct, you need to tighten all the screws and nuts on all the pins. There are many videos on the Internet on this topic, and many experts advise to do this procedure first after buying a new guitar.
For old guitars:
All of the listed reasons for string rattling in new guitars may also be relevant to older instruments if the previous owner has not corrected them since the purchase. That’s why we should go through the first list.
The most common reason for string rattling on old guitars is the appearance of a groove on the fret at the point of contact with the string. Such a problem can be found on «age» guitars in places where chords are most often clamped (3-4 strings on 1, 2 and 3 frets).
Independently, you can try to fix it by raising the neck and increasing the distance between the strings and the neck. If the recess is small, then it is possible to remove the rattling without much damage to the sound and fingers. If the furrow is already deep, only a change of fret will help.
If you do not change the strings for a long time, the winding can break down and lag behind the steel rod. Then the diameter of the string conditionally increases due to «rags» winding, and individual fibers or even the whole string can touch the neighboring fret. The only way out of this situation is to change the strings.
As I was saying, rattling occurs when a string of neighboring frets is touched during vibration. If you yank too hard or hit the strings, the oscillation amplitude will be large. This greatly increases the probability of their contact with neighboring frets.
To get rid of excessive rattling try to play less loud and aggressive.