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While playing the A chord on my acoustic, I can’t get rid of fret buzz on the D string, no matter how hard I try. I almost wonder if you guys have found a more parallel angle of the wrist so that the middle finger isn’t forced to fret so far back… then I realize we all have to deal with that thing called the neck.

I feel like taller frets is the only way to prevent buzz while the finger is so far behind the fret.(I can only get about 5/8” close to the fret)

Thoughts?

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  • Just to confirm: If you play only that string but fretted as you would when playing the chord, the buzz still occurs?
    – Aaron
    Apr 30 at 0:59
  • Exactly what fingering do you use for your A chord? I assumed 123 bottom to top but you mention the middle finger being far back.. Apr 30 at 6:29
  • @Aaron yes, if not buzz then a really poor tone
    – djangodev
    Apr 30 at 17:35
  • @JohnBelzaguy yeah I do 234 because my index finger would be even further behind the fret and I’m used to playing other chords in A position using the barre
    – djangodev
    Apr 30 at 17:39
  • I generally play an A with the the entire index finger. This prevents the high E so it can be played with in other ways. One of the points of inversions and voicings is to make it easier to play chords and still get the same color. It's always best to learn multiple fingers per chord. You can play A many different ways such as 123, 234, 345, 111, 122, 133, 144, 233, 244, 344, etc and even with some of those you can change the way fingers distribute on each fret(a sort of back to front or front to back. Some can fill twisted up). It's up to you to experiment.
    – Gupta
    Apr 30 at 19:34

2 Answers 2

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Assuming your neck and frets are ok and the E note on the second fret of the D string doesn’t buzz on its own there are a few options you can try. It sounds like you might have pretty wide fingertips that force your fingers into a diagonal angle when stacked.

You mentioned using your middle finger. The most typical way of playing an A chord is with the 1st finger on the D string, 1,2,3 on D,G,B strings respectively. If you are using 2,3,4 try 1,2,3, the conventional way.

The other option is to finger it low to high 2 1 3 as if you were playing an Amaj7 but with all fingers in the second fret. This places the 2nd finger right up against the D string fret.

Taller frets might allow you to put more down force on the string to make contact with the fret but of course they would all have to be taller, which means a re-fret job or a different guitar. Also you shouldn’t have to have to squeeze excessively to get the notes in a chord to speak properly. Lighter gauge strings might be an alternative solution.

I’m pretty sure at least one of these alternate fingerings will work for you.

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  • I think I found my answer fretting low to high. This seems to get me no buzz. Thanks. And my strings are probably thicker than is good for me.
    – djangodev
    Apr 30 at 17:45
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Usually, using pinky on 2nd, ring on 3rd and middle on 4th strings leaves enough space behind fret 2 for all finger tips to get close to said fretwire. (Although the combination of pinky, ring and index actually take up a little less space on one fret). Seems like in your case, those tips are wider than normal.

No problem, let's capitalise on that fact! Use two of them instead of three! It's entirely possible to let the tips overlap, playing all three strings using two fingers. Which two, is up to you. You may even find you can do it using just one finger, and that turns up a little to allow the top string to sound under it. (It's what a lot of us use for an 'A' shaped barre chord).

There are at least nine different fingerings for playing that open A chord. Try each until at least one of them sounds clean. I'm not going to list each, as I'm sure folk can work out those different combinations...

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  • Thanks, Tim- I like the idea of this but I think my fingers aren't quite wide enough for that- or my instrument has wider gaps. I find that I have to flatten my finger to fret an adjacent string, which makes the higher E string get muted. I might as well use one finger and fret the high E string on 5th fret. I can't figure out how people let their finger bend backwards in order to allow the high E to sound under a half barre
    – djangodev
    May 2 at 15:41

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