So I just started playing the guitar a few days back and I noticed the sound is off. When I pluck a string indivually it makes a nice clean sound, but even if there's the slightest pressure on one string the sound will completely go and it will sound weird and tinny. Please help me! I really want to learn the guitar but I don't know what's wrong with it! And it's definitely in tune and the strings are fine too I think.

  • 2
    Do you mean string 2 has no sound when you mute string 1?
    – anatolyg
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 15:34
  • Are you talking about plucking a string without touching it with your left hand (or fretting hand), compared to when you're pushing it down?
    – user6164
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 15:48
  • 7
    You're not supposed to simply touch them, you must press them down so they make contact with the fret!
    – Johannes
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:26
  • 4
    If you can afford a teacher, or even find a free first lesson, it seems like that would help. Also a web search for how to play the guitar, and maybe looking for some introductory Youtube videos might help a lot. It's not exactly obvious how it's supposed to work. Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:30
  • Take heart, this is exactly my experience when I first tried to learn 30+ years ago. Lets just say I still play guitar. I recommend a teacher as well, at least to get you started. There are lots of things like this at first.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 16:03

4 Answers 4


Uh, that's normal. Guitar strings are not (apart from very special situations) to be played with "the slightest pressure on one string": if you are touching the string at all, you are supposed to press it all the way down until its playing part does no longer end at your finger but rather at the fret (that's one of the small metal bars in the fingerboard) in direction from your finger to the sound hole. For a fretted string instrument, the vibrating part of any string ends at either the nut (which is where the string ends when your left hand does nothing) or a fret. Never at a finger or other part of your anatomy.

That's the rule. There are exceptions, but for now you don't need to bother with them.


It could be that the action on the guitar is set incorrectly or possibly the neck is warped. Also, the truss rod may need an adjustment. If you are fretting (pushing down all the way on a string) and it is not ringing out properly, it could mean that the string is hitting one or more frets closer to the bridge of the guitar. You may want to take it in to a local guitarsmith and make sure it is set up properly


First of all you have to press each finger firmly right before the frets but don't press harder than needed. On an acoustic guitar you have to press harder than on an electric guitar and if the action of the strings is high (distance to the fretboard) you also have to press harder.

Clip your nails because it's almost impossible to play the guitar (i.e. on the fretboard) when your nails are too long.

Very important: you'll have to grow calluses on your finger tips! You will get this by playing a lot but beware not to overdo it when you're just starting because you don't want any blisters. You will get calluses within a week or so and after that it will get thicker and harder. If you do not have calluses yet, it's very hard to get a nice tone from your guitar so please be patient. You can speed up calluses growth by never washing your hands right after or before playing and by wetting your finger tips a few times a day with rubbing alcohol (this makes them dry which is exactly what you need). There are more tricks but keeping them dry is the most important. Don't wash your hands too often!

At last there's the finer technique of placing the fingers the right way. Only use your finger tips and place each finger precisely so it won't accidentally mute the other strings. Search Youtube for guitar lessons for beginners (only watch video's that get high ratings).


your problem is just that your not pressing hard enough. It hurts, I know, but just keep at it and within a few weeks your fingers will adapt to the strings. The guitar is a great instrument that will accompany you for the rest of your life.Great start! Don't give up! Good luck!

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