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String Squeak: Technique, Hardware or...

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I've been working away, slowly getting some techniques sort-of happening... but I'm up against a wall with this current problem...

Playing some T-Bone Walker -style figures, I'm trying to get the sliding thing happening... and although it works Ok, I have a bit of a time with the sound of 'string squeak'.

Now, I've read around the forum and have noted some of the comments people have made (try replacing the strings, use Elixir branded strings, try flat-wounds, try string lubricant)... so I have some idea of things to try... but I have something of an observation/query...

Have a listen to the attached recording (apologies for the pops and non-string squeaks: my music PC is NOT happy at the moment!)... I am trying to play a G9 - G#9 - G9 sliding figure (see attached diagram) and aside from the fact I'm still juggling the OTHER chord changes, this slide movement is working Ok, except for the squeak.

As the recording proceeds, I go from playing with 4 fingers... (drop the 'D') to 3 fingers... (drop the 'A') to 2 fingers... (drop the 'F') to 1 finger... and with 1 finger, the squeak is almost not there. However, as soon as I re-introduce the 'F', the squeak re-appears.

I've tried playing on a couple of different guitars and the squeak sounds are similar. The attached recording is made with my 2006 Squier Affinity Strat. I've also tried my 2006 Squier Bullet Strat and my 2006 Monterey Vintage Stratocaster and I get the same issues. The Squiers are fitted with D'Addario XL SuperLlight 9-42 Nickel roundwound strings and the Monterey has Dean Markley NickelSteel 2502 LT (9-42) strings.

An observation: I need to really arch my fingers to prevent the finger pad from dampening adjacent strings when playing this chord, so I tend to play with the fingertip on each string. After 3 years of daily practice, the tips of my fingers are still not hard as stone, so the fingertip 'gives' a little... but I still get the squeak. HOWEVER, if I forget about the dampening of adjacent strings and use the pad of my finger, I get almost no squeak... but that means I can't play the complete chord with clear tones.

So how to get around that!?

I also notice that my fingernails are short enough, so the source of the squeak is NOT from my nails raking along the windings when I'm playing 'on tip' :)

As I say, I have a few ideas to try from the other postings.. but I thought I'd just post my observations... and see if THAT adds something to explaining what changes in technique I need to work on to get rid of this silly squeaking.





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I don't know the answer to your question, but I have to say that after listening to music on the radio very carefully, I can hear a lot of string squeak on the softer guitar solos. It amazes me, why, after all the technology that has evolved over the last few years, why studios allow this to happen.

So I wonder....if this happens in recording studios, can you really fix the problem at home????...........dunno?


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...It amazes me, why, after all the technology that has evolved over the last few years, why studios allow this to happen...

Most likely just because it's a "natural" part of the guitar's sound and they're trying to preserve the feel of the track. Too much editing in the studio is like too much Photoshop work on a photograph...the end result is overblown, artificial and not at all like the original.

Ozboomer - the only suggestion I could offer is to try flatwound strings. They'll take some of the squeak out of your playing, but the tone is also different...only you will be able to tell if they do the trick for you. You might also try playing with the EQ in your recording program and seeing if you could cut the frequencies where the squeaks reside (somewhere way up in the highs, I imagine)....it won't get rid of them entirely, but I'm sure you could de-emphasize them somewhat.

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