Whether you are a pro guitarist or a beginner, it is normal to be sensitive to the sound your guitar produces. A bad guitar sound might occur after tuning the guitar, or after doing fresh guitar settings.

Guitarists are sensitive about the sound the guitar produces. This helps keep track of or identify any malfunction on the guitar.

The sooner one can identify a guitar malfunction or bad sound, the easier it is to research and apply quick fixes for the issue.

If you are curious about the reason why your guitar sounds bad, this article has details on the causes of the issue.

Why Does My Guitar Sound Bad ? (Quick Answer)

While buying a cheap guitar might contribute to the bad sound, it does not always mean that an affordable guitar will automatically sound bad. Your guitar could also sound bad because of your finger pressure, fretting, and strumming style as well as the guitar setup. 

3 Reasons Why Your Guitar Sounds Bad

Before you figure out the solution to the bad-sounding guitar, you need to understand in detail the reason why your guitar makes that bad sound. Below are some reasons:

Fretting and Strumming Technique

Beginners experience a hard time before they can play the guitar well. While being a great guitarist takes time and many guitar lessons, if your fretting is done wrongly, your guitar is bound to sound bad.

When it comes to strumming, knowing when to apply a certain amount of pressure on the strings is everything. Sometimes, you need to go in hard on the pressure while other times, you need to be easy.

While the fretting and strumming technique is a beginner guitarist issue, it can also affect experienced guitarists. This could happen if you just bought a new guitar and are not acquainted with it.

Guitar Type

Although how a guitar sounds is not mainly a matter of how cheap or expensive a guitar is, it is a contributing factor to the sound your guitar produces.

Investing in a good guitar brand, even if it’s an affordable one, for instance, a fender acoustic guitar, can significantly change the sound.

It is undeniable that expensive guitars are better than cheap guitars, though there are other contributing factors to the sound produced like the guitar settings and the skills of the guitarist.

Poor Guitar Setup

If you have an excellent guitar for a great brand, and your guitar skills are exceptional, but you still experience a bad guitar sound, it could be a poor guitar setup.

Poor guitar setup issues include:

  • Strings being too high or too low at the nut
  • The nut slot height is faulty
  • Having an excess back bow
  • The nut slot is too deep
  • Protruding sharp frets from the neck side

Guitar Set-Up Tips

As we mentioned before, your guitar setup is capable of delivering an amazing sound or a terrible sound.

Here are a few guitar tips set up:

  • Ensure the frets are not protruding from the side of your guitar
  • The Guitar neck should be straight
  • You can leave a small relief for the guitar neck
  • All frets should be equal. Ensure that no frets are shorter or taller than the other
  • Frets should have a polished surface
  • Ensure the strings are a lighter gauge

Tip: the perfect gauge for your strings depends on the type of guitar you play. Ensure that you do adequate research to help get the best gauge.

See also: Best beginner acoustic guitars


Why Does My Guitar Sound Bad Even After Tuning?

Worn-out frets cause a guitar to sound bad even when tuned. When frets pop out even just a little, they might throw notes out of pitch which makes the guitar sound bad. If your frets are worn out, it would do the guitar sound good to replace them. If the frets have popped out, you can have them leveled.

How Often Should I Tune My Guitar?

Your guitar should be tuned as often as you play it. Guitars do not always remain in tune after playing. Sometimes, your guitar can go off-tune as you play it.

See also: Best acoustic-electric guitar for small female hands

Why Does My Guitar Sound Raspy?

If your guitar sounds raspy, look out for one of these faults: the neck might be back bowed, the frets could be uneven, or have low string action.


Experiencing bad guitar sound happens often because of poor guitar settings, your fretting and strumming skills, or the type of guitar. The guitar brand does not determine whether or not your guitar produces a bad sound, but it could contribute to it. 

Guitarists need to buy their guitars from a decent brand, regardless of the budget. If you have been experiencing frustration from bad guitar sound, try applying the guitar setup tips and work on your fretting and strumming.

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