How to Get Rid of Guitar String Squeaks

Article written by: Brian Wesley at

You're practicing a new piece of music.. But just as soon as you start, you hear an odd noise that you haven't heard from your guitar.

For some guitarists, string squeaks are part of playing the instrument. And as such, there is nothing much you need to worry about this seemingly weird sound.

However, other guitarists think that guitar squeaks are too distracting and can dampen a performance, especially in front of a live audience.
It is also possible that you have been making squeaking sounds on your guitar, but the strange sounds were probably negligible that you've grown accustomed to them. But now, the sounds are more pronounced.
If these sounds are bothering you, here are a few different ways to get rid of guitar noise.

Anatomy of Guitar Squeaks

But before you attempt to eliminate guitar squeaks, it is worthwhile to understand the underlying reason behind the noise you hear from your electric or acoustic guitar.
Why does your guitar keep on making these strange noises?
Guitars squeak for a variety of reasons. Your instrument may be making that sound when you slide your finger on the bass or wound strings. Putting pressure on the string can also increase the possibility of string squeaks.

Squeaking can also happen when you move along the fretboard without lifting your fingers completely off the guitar strings.

Finally, your guitar can produce this type of noise when you try to adjust your fingers while playing a noise. When you are tentative about your fingering and try to make the necessary adjustments, your guitar can squeak.

Getting Rid of String Squeaks
There are a few different things that you can try to banish the weird noises that your guitar makes, from refining your playing technique to using a different set of guitar strings.

Refining Your Technique
Modifying your playing technique can do wonders, not only in removing string squeaks but also in improving your overall guitar playing.

To avoid string squeaks, you have to pay special attention to how you move along the fretboard, especially when playing the bass strings.

After playing a note, stop pressing on the string while keeping your finger on top of it. This will help prevent you from inadvertently playing an open string.

Once you have released pressure from the string, you can then lift your finger completely away from it. You do not need to create much distance between your finger and the fretboard. Your goal here is just to cut off contact from the string.

Initially, this adjustment can be awkward and unnatural. This is why it is critical to constantly practice this technique, slowly at first.

Use glissandi
If you hear string squeaks while playing the wound strings, you should strongly consider using big slides and glissandi.

One way to do that is to make slides on the fretboard using the fleshy pad of your fingers instead of their calloused parts. The soft pads of your fingers can mute out unwanted sounds from your instrument.

You can also consider changing the angle of your fingers, especially if you are playing multiple notes at the same time. This small tweak ensures that the softer portion of your fingers comes in contact with the strings. But do take note that this technique can be difficult in certain parts of the neck or if you are playing a fast musical piece.

Lick your fingers
Another way to get rid of unwanted string noise is to lick the finger of your sliding finger. It may seem odd, but getting the tip of your sliding finger moist helps soften the skin and mute unwanted sounds on your instrument. However, make sure that you do this discreetly.
Use different guitar strings
As much as possible, try to use fresh strings. One of the downsides of using old strings is that they do not squeak as much as the new ones.

The problem here is that you might be using the wrong techniques that can produce string noise when you use a fresh set of strings.

One good way of eliminating unwanted noise from your guitar is to use polished guitar strings. There are a few brands that sell these strings.

However, be aware that polished strings can sound a bit different than normal strings. Some say that polished bass strings sound a bit dull. Of course, that depends on the type of tone you want.

Some strings are marketed as recording strings. Compared to normal strings, these do not squeak as much. However, these guitar strings are typically used for recordings and single performances. This is because these strings tend to wear out faster.

See what works for you
Eliminating squeaks can be particularly challenging if you do not know the underlying reasons behind them.
If you don't want your guitar to squeak, find out the underlying reason behind that. And from there, you can try the different tips listed above to see what works best for you and your instrument. Soon, you'll be playing squeak-free.

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