My bass recently started making a very loud buzzing noise when ever I play the G string open. That is the only time I hear it. My band director says that my headphone speaker is blown, but I hear it no matter what output I have my bass set to. Even in recordings the buzz is still there.

Apologies if the question is too vague; I can answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.

  • It would help to put that I only hear the buzzing when I play the string anywhere near a fortissimo (ff) Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 1:51
  • Does the buzz sound when you play the note G on - D sring 5th fret; A string 10th fret; E string 15th fret?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 8:16
  • I haven't heard this particular buzzing, but I'm inclined to say don't obsess over it. When do you even use the open G string? I'm not sure I ever used it in any song; almost always it makes more sense to play that G either on the D string 5th fret, or A string 10th fret. (Checking whether something is loose is certainly a good idea though.) Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 22:47
  • @Tim No I only hear it when I play the open string. Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 17:22
  • Just as a matter of interest, if you tune that string up or down a semitone/tone, is the buzz still there? Process of illumination - throwing light on the problem...
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Can you hear it acoustically? If you can a buzz on an open string can be caused by a nut that is too low, badly cut or damaged. If the string plays normally when fretted the nut can be the culprit. As a test insert a piece of paper between the nut and the G string to raise and pad the string and see if that makes a difference.

  • I can hear it acoustically, but it sounds like the buzzing is closer to the bridge. Although the string is not loose on it or off center. Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 1:49
  • Try the paper trick. If that doesn’t work it could be you have a bad string. Also check for anything loose, especially in the hardware Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 1:54
  • 2
    Absolutely, if it sounds only on the open G, going away when you fret the G#, it has to be the nut. Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 3:25
  • 2
    Outside chance there's something loose on the headstock. Once had a bass that would buzz at a certain frequency; turned out to be a loose ferrule on one machine head.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 7:38
  • Could be that fretwire 1 is too high. Raising the string in the nut will solve the buzzing, but not the problem!
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 8:29

If you hear a buzz on a stringed instrument, it is usually because something is loose. Pluck the string and use your eyes and ears to locate it. You can confirm the issue by pressing the moving object gently. The sound of the buzz will change as you dampen it with your finger, and you don't have to end the sound to confirm where it's at.

If you can't immediately locate the buzz, the first places to closely inspect are near the string - is it hitting the fingerboard or frets? Is the winding on the string all connected to the string? Next, check the string termini - are the bridge/bridge-pegs and nut moving at all? After that, move to the peg box/headstock. A string on the headstock that's managed incorrectly can definitely buzz. If your instrument was hollow (guessing you have a solid-body electric), you would check the seams on the body for gaps. Still, check where the fret-board connects to the body and any other connections between the parts of the guitar's body. If it is an electric and you haven't found it yet, swap cords, amps, pedals, etc... until you isolate what is causing the buzz. Remember that the connector (i.e. the 1/4" plug) can be a problem, but modern electronic components mostly buzz on purpose if at all.

If you do a good job at all of this, you have a good chance at not needing to pay a shop, but if you end up needing to re-glue part of your instrument or can't find the issue, the luthier knows best.

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