What to do about string squeeks when playing?

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
KVRian
1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:41 am

When I'm playing sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Reading using the E shaped barre chord to play up and down the frets I get an awful lot of string squeeking which is rather annoying. I just wondered what I can do to reduce this. Can anyone give me any advice. I know it is normal to get some string squeek when moving up and down the frets, but too much squeeking when I'm playing is annoying.

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KVRAF
2670 posts since 3 Aug, 2003 from Narnia

Post Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:13 pm

For acoustic guitar I recommend Daddario Flat-top strings. They eliminate squeak and sound great.

https://www.daddario.com/products/guita ... or-bronze/

8)

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KVRAF
12657 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 1:31 am

Listen from / put the mike further away.
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KVRian

Topic Starter

1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 1:46 am

Andywanders wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:13 pm
For acoustic guitar I recommend Daddario Flat-top strings. They eliminate squeak and sound great.

https://www.daddario.com/products/guita ... or-bronze/

8)
:tu:

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KVRian
1457 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:16 am

Going from source (your fingers) all the way through the chain:

1) Improve your technique. This is the crux of the problem. You need to very lightly lift your fingers off the strings when you slide to change chords. Not enough to lose contact with them too much, but enough so that you are not pushing them hard when you do the slide. Just do that as an exercise five mins every day, REALLY slowly at first, and slowly build up tempo over days and weeks, it will soon become second nature/muscle memory.

2) Different strings have different sounds, some squeak more than others. New strings squeak more than old ones. Find strings that squeak less. If you like the tone of flatwounds, you'll be in heaven, no squeak at all, but they are not for everyone.

3) If recording, mic type and position will have an effect on high end frequency response. Experiment.

4) In mixing you can try and EQ it out.

5) In post you can use a spectral editor to lasso those pesky squeaks and reduce them 3-6dB very transparently.

KVRian

Topic Starter

1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:34 am

Thanks Hermetech mastering, some good tips there. One question I would like to ask you is, do you think there is more tendency to get string squeek if you are playing a guitar with a slightly high action as opposed to a guitar with a low action.

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KVRian
1457 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:10 pm

I guess so, you may feel the urge to push down harder with a higher action. I mostly play acoustic fingerstyle these days, so can get away with a really low action.

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KVRian
682 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:09 pm

String squeaks are part of the character of acoustic guitar. They convey intimacy.
You can reduce the volume of the squeaks with Melodyne, by selecting them and adjusting the amplitude, if they're annoyingly loud. Or you could just delete them. But I would recommend keeping a tasteful amount.
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KVRian

Topic Starter

1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:28 am

Hermetech Mastering wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:10 pm
I guess so, you may feel the urge to push down harder with a higher action. I mostly play acoustic fingerstyle these days, so can get away with a really low action.
:tu:

KVRian

Topic Starter

1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:32 am

jamcat wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:09 pm
String squeaks are part of the character of acoustic guitar. They convey intimacy.
You can reduce the volume of the squeaks with Melodyne, by selecting them and adjusting the amplitude, if they're annoyingly loud. Or you could just delete them. But I would recommend keeping a tasteful amount.
I don't use software, as at the moment I'm not interested in recording my sessions. I think maybe the squeeks would not be as bad if the action on my guitar was a bit lower.

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KVRAF
5683 posts since 30 Apr, 2019

Post Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:07 am

Henry Jimdrix wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:41 am
When I'm playing sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Reading using the E shaped barre chord to play up and down the frets I get an awful lot of string squeeking which is rather annoying. I just wondered what I can do to reduce this. Can anyone give me any advice. I know it is normal to get some string squeek when moving up and down the frets, but too much squeeking when I'm playing is annoying.
Play it with open chords, Ultimate Guitar says it just contains
G, B7, C, A, E, D, F
easy enough and there are some nice little places for bass walks e.g. C-> (B note) -> A and G -> (F# note) -> E

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KVRAF
5728 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Far From the Twisted Reach of Crazy Sorrow

Post Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:23 am

Elixir strings cuts it way down. But, yeah, technique.
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KVRAF
5911 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Post Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:10 pm

WatchTheGuitar wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:07 am
Henry Jimdrix wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:41 am
When I'm playing sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Reading using the E shaped barre chord to play up and down the frets I get an awful lot of string squeeking which is rather annoying. I just wondered what I can do to reduce this. Can anyone give me any advice. I know it is normal to get some string squeek when moving up and down the frets, but too much squeeking when I'm playing is annoying.
Play it with open chords, Ultimate Guitar says it just contains
G, B7, C, A, E, D, F
easy enough and there are some nice little places for bass walks e.g. C-> (B note) -> A and G -> (F# note) -> E
Not the same thing. Dock of the bay requires Sliding the chords to sound credible.
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KVRAF
3126 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Albion

Post Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:29 pm

Oil them.
Seriously.
Just a tiny bit.
Clean them afterwards.
Strings squeak because your fingers stick to them.
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KVRian

Topic Starter

1173 posts since 16 May, 2020 from a skip somewhere in yorkshire

Post Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:05 am

What do you suggest, bicycle chain oil, or chainsaw oil? :o

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