Why Does My Electric Guitar Echo?


Echo noise can be heard on some electric guitars. It is often hard to detect the source of that noise.

How to know if your guitar echoes? It goes usually like this. When you pluck a string, there’s also some noise coming along with it. Even when you dampen the string you’ve just played, the noise is still present.

How to stop it? Why does it happen, anyway?

Echoing of your guitar usually comes from two sources. Other strings may ring due to the phenomenon called sympathetic vibration. String can also ring behind the nut, and that can cause echoing, too.

Here, in this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to remove echo noise from guitar. Also, we’re going to explain why does that happen.

Let’s go!

Echo Coming From Other Strings

Most echoing problems are caused by other strings ringing. By other strings I mean strings that you don’t pluck (strings you don’t play).

For example, you play an open A string. Along with the A string ringing, you hear the noise from other strings. Even when you dampen that ring, there’s still noise that can be heard.

What’s going on?

This common phenomenon is called sympathetic vibration, or sympathetic resonance. Let’s look at what Wikipedia says:

Sympathetic resonance or sympathetic vibration is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness.

So, basically, this is what happens. You play one string, and others are making noise. As it’s been explained above, it is because other strings respond to external vibration coming from the string you’ve just played.

When sympathetic resonance happens on a musical instrument, like your electric guitar, it is called string resonance. Again, let’s see what Wikipedia says about it:

String resonance occurs on string instruments. Strings or parts of strings may resonate at their fundamental or overtone frequencies when other strings are sounded. For example, an A string at 440 Hz will cause an E string at 330 Hz to resonate, because they share an overtone of 1320 Hz (3rd harmonic of A and 4th harmonic of E).

So, there it is. If you can detect that the echoing from your guitar is caused by other strings ringing, it is because of this.

Echo Coming From Behind The Nut

Echoing can also be caused by string ringing behind the nut. That’s the part of the string between the nut and the tuning post. Headstock, basically.

When you pluck strings on that position, you’ll hear that specific high frequent sound ringing.

That’s not a problem, usually. Still, in certain situations, those sounds can easily be heard. For example, if you play certain riffs, licks or when you bend the string.

Each time you pluck a string, it moves slightly in its nut slot. Sometimes, for some guitars, those movements can cause ringing on a headstock.

How To Stop Echo On Your Guitar?

Is there a way to stop this irritating sound? There is. You can put a fret wrap on your guitar, which should be more than enough to block any echoing noise.

Gruv Guitar FretWrap (link to Amazon) is probably one of the best you can find.

It fits all guitars, both electric and acoustic, and bass guitars as well. One of the greatest advantage of this fret wrap is that it really helps you when you record something.

Often, when you record your guitar playing, it is crucial to eliminate any excessive noise. As no musical instrument is perfect, there will always be some noise going out of your guitar.

Especially if it’s an electric one, since pickups catch all of those irritating sounds coming out.

Additional Causes Of Echo Noise

There are few more things that can cause an echo noise coming from your guitar.

First of all, check your strings. Are they new? Maybe the string gauge is not right for your guitar. Or maybe you didn’t setup your strings properly.

Check out the article from this page about string gauges effect on tone, fret buzz, action and so on, here.

Take Your Guitar To Professionals

On the other hand, the problem may be somewhere else. It may be that the nut height is not properly adjusted.

Maybe springs from your floyd rose are not in the good shape.

Maybe it is the neck from your guitar that is bent too much. In that case, you’ll need a proper truss rod adjustment.

Whatever the reason is, it is best to take your guitar to the professional examination. There’s no need to risk anything.

Work On Your Technique

This is the thing worth noting. If you’re a beginner, you can interpret the noise coming from your guitar as if something is wrong with the guitar itself.

But maybe that’s not the case. Maybe your guitar is perfectly balanced in every way. It may be that you just need to work on your playing technique.

How exactly?

Well, lot of beginner players make noise when they play. Alternate picking, palm muting, hammer on’s, pull off’s etc. These techniques, and many more, have to be mastered, otherwise you’ll make a lot of noise.

So, before you jump to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with your guitar, ask yourself: Is my technique good enough? If it’s not, you can give your guitar to someone who’s advanced guitar player. If the noise still persists, than there’s definitely something about your guitar.

String resonance, nut, bent neck and so on.

Final Words

I hope this article gave you a valuable information about this issue. If it helped you solve the problem you have with your guitar, I’m more than happy about it. It is always a pleasure to be of help to my fellow guitar brothers.

Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles I wrote on this site!

Cheers, and rock on!

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