String Buzz
   
One of the biggest concerns raised by guitarists is about string buzz.
For some players string buzz is a minor irritation and for others a massive frustration!
And some players are not bothered at all by it.
Interestingly enough,many flamenco guitarists like a certain amount of fret buzz because it gives their playing a slight aggressiveness- similar to amplifier distortion on an electric Guitar!
String buzzing can be caused by a number of different things.
Sometimes it is easy to identify the cause and sometimes quite difficult.
I will cover some of the most common causes of string buzz  without getting too technical about it.

   


Some Common Causes Of String Buzz

TECHNIQUE

Good technique is extremely important in minimising and even eliminating buzz!
PICKING TECHNIQUE
Picking a note in a downward motion onto the string rather than across the string will cause it to vibrate straight up and down onto the fret and cause a buzz.


FINGERING THE NOTE TOO FAR BACK FROM THE FRET
​​This will increase the chance of buzzing because at that distance it is difficult to get good contact with the fret.

PRESSING DOWN TOO LIGHTLY
A certain amount of pressure needs to be applied to the string for it to ring cleanly. Even with your fingers in the right positions if you don’t press hard enough the note will buzz against the  fret.

BUZZING FROM THE NUT

A string that is not properly seated in the nut slot  can cause buzzing.
A string resting too low in the nut slot can buzz against the 1st fret.
   

LIGHT GAUGE STRINGS - eg .009 to .042

 Light gauge strings  have less tension. A string with less tension will vibrate with a wider  movement and  increase the chance of cliping the frets creating buzzing.   

LOW ACTION

Low action means the strings are sitting very close to the frets.Having the strings  sitting very low to the frets will feel great for many players as it requires less pressure to make contact with the fret.However it can cause buzzing as the vibrating string clips the frets.   
A low action, especially with light gauge strings  requires a player to have a light attack!

HEAVY ATTACK

Heavy attack means hitting the strings hard.
A player that has a heavy attack will increase the chances of buzzing because the string(s) movement will increase and the closer the fret the greater the chance of the string hitting the fret.
   

FLAT, WORN & LOW FRETS

For a note to play cleanly,the string needs to rest on the peak of a rounded fret. This is especially important for acoustic guitars. A fret that is too flat will cause the string to buzz.

HIGH / UNEVEN FRETS

If the fret following the fret being played is higher,the vibrating string can clip it and cause a buzz.

IMPROPER TRUSS ROD ADJUSTMENT, TWISTED NECK, BAD NECK ANGLE

A neck that is poorly adjusted can cause the strings to be too close to the frets and buzz. So can a twisted neck and bad neck angle.
Conclusion
Whilst physical factors definitely play a role in buzzing and often they are able to be fixed, sometimes new frets are required.
At the same time I believe working on a good technique can greatly minimise or eliminate the problem.
Even the greatest car built relies on the drivers  skills and optimum engine tune for a smooth ride.
Have fun & keep playing!