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2 Simple Tricks to Reduce Guitar String Fingernoise

Updated on June 13, 2011

By Lowell's Notes

If you use round-wound strings for your guitar or bass because you enjoy the bright sound and the sustain that they offer, but the finger noise drives you crazy (especially with new strings), you can:

  1. Use 400 grit (or higher) sandpaper and lightly sand the playing surface of the strings to reduce the finger noise without losing any sustain or brightness.
  2. You can also use an SOS pad and lightly sand the playing surface of the strings for the same effect.

Note: You should only very lightly touch the surface of the strings with very fine sandpaper. I am not advocating sanding the strings flat.

I recommend that you wipe the strings with a soft cloth dampened with vinegar after using the sandpaper to make sure the strings are free of dust and bits of metal that can irritate your fingertips.

Sanding the strings can be helpful to reduce soreness in your fingertips if you are a beginner. Professional players will find that this can be especially useful when you are recording.

Also, to clean your strings and get back that "new" sound, you can simply use vinegar. Some guitar players' fingers sweat and this may cause steel strings to rust, reducing the playing life of the strings. Cleaning the strings with vinegar will also get rid of rust (if you catch it in the early stages) and extend the playing life of your strings. I recommend letting the strings dry completely before you attempt playing the guitar to avoid the smell of vinegar absorbing into your fingertips.

Music speaks when words fail


Submit a Comment

  • dzethmayr profile image


    7 years ago from Mauston, near Dells, Wisconsin, US

    My thanks also, Lowell.

    On my bowed bass I use beeswax for the same purpose. It reduces shift noise and saves some wear-and-tear on the finger pads. As a re-treading 'cellist I was surprised at how rough those strings are, even after I switched from strings that were so cheap I couldn't bow a true note. (Pizzicato-only, and that was brutal until my plucking fingers hardened up.)

    Wax is easy not to overdo. I never tried emery cloth or sandpaper before. Good to know of your experience and others'.

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 

    7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    hey thanks

  • RTalloni profile image


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Looking forward to showing my husband this hub.

  • Lowell's Notes profile imageAUTHOR

    Lowell's Notes 

    8 years ago

    Wow! That's a tough one! There is such limited distribution of his records. What makes it so tough (as you know) is that there is much dispute over what his "real" first name was and where he was born. That generation of musicians is dwindling quickly, so it will be hard to find someone who knew him. Sorry--don't think I helped much. Maybe google will have some thread of a contact???

  • tobey100 profile image


    8 years ago from Whites Creek, Tennessee

    Great advice. Learned the sanding trick from a guy named Pete Carr out of Alabama. Great picker. I've been trying to find info on an old blue pianist, Jabo Williams. Can't find much. any suggestions???


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