How to Fix a Fret Buzz on a Guitar With a Floyd Rose

By Simon Foden ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 2.5-mm hex key
  • Electronic tuner
  • 1/4-inch jack instrument cable
Joe Satriani using the Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Fret buzz is annoying sound that occurs when there is insufficient clearance between the strings and frets. This lack of clearance causes the strings to rattle against the frets. Fret buzz is more pronounced when you play open strings, as fretting a note with your finger conceals the buzzing sound. Fortunately, a Floyd Rose is double-locking tremolo system designed to banish the buzz. It is distinct from standard tremolo systems, because it's cavity-mounted and sits on a rocking inertia block. This design increases tuning stability. The Floyd Rose allows for easy height adjustment, so you can stop fret buzz without removing the bridge or adjusting the neck.

Unlock, but don’t remove, the three nut locks at the top of the neck. Fit a 2.5-mm hex key into the hex bolt, and turn counterclockwise until you hear the strings resonate. The nut lock applies down-force to the string, holding it in tune. You can’t adjust the tuning of the string with the nut locks in place.

Connect your guitar to a tuner, and tune it in the normal way. Tighten the tuning machines to correct flat notes, and loosen them to correct flat notes. If the tuner display points left, you have a flat note. If it points right, you have a sharp. If points to the center, the string is in tune. String tension influences the intensity of fret buzz. If the strings are loose, the fret buzz will be more pronounced, so it’s important to tune up before adjusting.

Fit the hex key to the hex bolt on the tremolo arm side of the bridge.

Turn the hex bolt clockwise 180 degrees. This raises the bridge.

Play the top E, B and G string, and listen for buzz. If the buzz remains, raise the bridge a little more.

Fit your hex key to the hex bolt on the opposite side of the bridge. Turn it counterclockwise by 180 degrees.

Play the low E, A and B strings to check for buzz. If it's gone, lower the bridge slightly. Naturally, the higher the strings, the more pressure you must apply to fret the note. This can impede your playing, so aim for the lowest possible bridge height that doesn’t result in fret buzz.

Raise the lowest side of the Floyd Rose bridge so the bridge is level.

Fasten the nut locks.

Tip

If fret buzz persists despite bridge height adjustment, your neck may be bowed. Check for a bow by examining the angle of the string relative to the neck. If is sloped in either direction, this is a bow. Correct a bow by adjusting the truss rod. Tighten it to correct a back bow, and loosen it to correct a forward bow.

About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.