I've got low E string buzz on both my acoustic guitars (Washburn and small bodied Hohner). I'm using light gauge strings mostly in standard but occasionally open tunings.

The buzz is mostly noticeable when I strum or pick hard. Is it worth getting them both professionally setup or would you just switch string gauge? I do quite like playing with lights, especially for fingerstyle.

1 Answer 1


If both guitars buzz with light strings but not with heavier strings, then there are a couple of options. I'm assuming the buzz is happening when the string touches a fret somewhere near the middle of its vibrating length; if the buzz is at the nut or bridge or somewhere else, then this line of thinking does not apply.

You could switch to a heavier gauge, or a set with light-tops/heavy-bottoms. Or, you may be able to use your desired set if you raise the action on the bass strings. Bridge-adjustments vary with the style of bridge, but on most recent acoustics I've seen the bridge is a removable piece of bone or plastic. (Do not do this yourself with a piezo pickup system, you may affect the balance of the pickup signal.) To raise this type of bridge, you

  • slacken (or remove) all the strings,
  • remove the bridge piece,
  • add 1 or 2 paper shims into the cavity where the bridge piece goes,
  • replace bridge piece,
  • tune-up and evaluate (are we done or does it need another few shims?)
  • If it's an electro-acoustic, with a piezzo bridge, would pieces of paper affect the pick up's propensity to pick up?
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 11:23
  • Indeed, This article suggests this procedure may lead to problems with a piezo system. Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 11:35
  • 1
    It might be worth looking at the truss rod as well. Sometimes it needs adjustment when changing string gauges. Be careful though, this can damage the guitar if done improperly.
    – charlie
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 13:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.