How to avoid unwanted string noise when playing solos?


Drop_C
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Joined: 09/04/20
Posts: 7

I am practicing a scale exercise using just the high 3 strings moving up the fretboard and I constantly hear string noise especially the 3rd string. I try to use both hands to mute after I pick but I don't see how it can be possible to completely avoid background noise. Can anyone help me.  


# 1
Drake the Red
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Joined: 10/12/11
Posts: 317

A technical reason for this could be the action (the distance from the fretboard to the underside of the strings) needs to be measured and adjusted. This done via adjusting the trussrod and the bridge. This can be done yourself, but some prefer to be safer than sorry by asking a professional guitar tech to set-up their guitars.


But when you say "background noise," do you mean a type of buzzing? Also, which type of strings and guitar do you have?


Wow, it's 2023 already? Time goes fast.

# 2
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,929

It's difficult to know exactly what you mean by background noise without an example.  Can you post a video?


If you are just starting out, then it takes a while to refine muting.  The first thing to do is to maintain contact with the strings.  Do not ever release contain with the strings.  As soon as you are done playing a note either playing the next note, or at least release enough pressure to stop the note sounding, but maintain contact in order to keep the string from ringing.  When you get ready to move to the next higher string you can mute the lower string with the your fretting hand fingertip.  Also make sure your picking is as minimal & economical as possible to avoid striking strings unnecessarily.


If you are using a high gain tone, then there is likely going to be some level of extra sound.  But usually if you are playing a fast enough line, then the notes happen too quickly to notice.  Sometimes it happens when you move to the next string overcross strings.  Remember to maintain some kind of contact with the strings with your fretting fingers.  That's also when muting with your picking hand becomes useful.  Always keep your palm in contact with the strings.


If you are using a clean tone then it's absolutely possible to reduce unwanted sound with the right muting & picking techniques.  As ever make sure your fretting fingers are always in contact with the strings, even when you aren't playing a note on that string. 


I have a whole tutorial aimed at muting at beginner, intermediate & advanced levels.


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/2281


And these tutorials are aimed at playing fast lines on the top 2 strings with a gain tone. 


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/928


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/929


I focus on muting in the 3rd lesson.


https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson/14295


Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 3
Drake the Red
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Joined: 10/12/11
Posts: 317

I've been maintaining my own guitars for over a year. They eventually need a little TLC after many years and no matter how much I believe I know everything; something falls off and takes me completely by surprise 🤣 So I wouldn't worry about intonation problems, guitars break down all the time and were built to be modified, fixed. Same for strings and other components. Even if you're not a DIYer, reading books by Dan Erlewine will provide some tremendously helpful insight.


In closing, I get to play with tools. Caveman instincts compensated for. Okay, I'll shut up now :D


 


Wow, it's 2023 already? Time goes fast.

# 4
Drake the Red
Full Access (Full Addict)
Joined: 10/12/11
Posts: 317

I've been maintaining my own guitars for over a year. They eventually need a little TLC after many years and no matter how much I believe I know everything; something falls off and takes me completely by surprise 🤣 So I wouldn't worry about intonation problems, guitars break down all the time and were built to be modified, fixed. Same for strings and other components. Even if you're not a DIYer, reading books by Dan Erlewine will provide some tremendously helpful insight.


In closing, I get to play with tools. Caveman instincts compensated for. Okay, I'll shut up now :D


 


Wow, it's 2023 already? Time goes fast.

# 5
Drop_C
Full Access
Joined: 09/04/20
Posts: 7

Thank you for replies. I am going to digest what is suggested. By background noise I meant the unwanted string noise from the strings after I pick them. I have discovered this problem on a clean tone. I will make a video and post in a few days.


 


Drake the Red I appologise for confusion with the background noise. I did not mean fret buzzing. 


# 6