I feel like I need to change up my strings. I've used pretty much exclusively Martin silk & steel (as I play mostly folk & like a more mellow tone), but I just find that the fret buzz is too much. I'm thinking of changing to a higher gage, la Bella medium gauge silk & string, but really I have no expertise at all.

I REALLY like the sound of the guitar in this vid, so I'd highly prefer strings that'd help me achieve that sound, tho I realize my guitar might not allow that. I have a Yamaha FS720S (solid top) in case that helps. Thank you!!
Last edited by aekjysten at Jan 1, 2017,
aekjysten One common cause of fret buzz would be either lack of relief, (the strings should be slightly further away from the neck at the 6th to 7th fret), OR you could have "back bow", or positive relief, (the strings being closer to the neck between again, the 6th & 7th fret). That's more or less absolutely guaranteed to cause fret buzz.

Other causes would be, the strings to low across the bass strings, or you have a high fret(s), or god forbid, you simply play too hard.

Your guitar can most likely be set up to play with the gauge strings you're using now, but we have to know which one, or how many of these factors, are causing your problem.

Please read the following setup up guide for steel strings. It is indexed, and will tell you how to measure relief, and action height as well as how to correct them


Get back to us after you get a handle on which of these factors you think may be causing your problem.
Captaincranky the relief is fine, my frets have never been too high, nor do I play hard. I'm asking for opinion on change of strings because fret buzz has not always been a problem in the 5+ years I've had this guitar. It's only been a problem with these strings.

I attached the video because that's the sound I want, and I'd like to know what strings could 1) help me achieve that sound and 2) have less fret buzz than the Martins I have now.

Well, assuming the relief is correct, and your touch is what it's always been with other strings on the the guitar, then the action is too low. (For the string set you're using). Low string tension requirement to tune to pitch, and or more excursion due to material construction will give you buzz. This would be obvious if you were to look at recommended action heights for nylon strung classical guitars, which are pretty high by steel string standards.. But there, you have the choice of tensions whereby you could leave the action height alone, and simply put heavier tension string sets on that type of guitar.

As for what I'm hearing in the video, balancing it with your preference for a mellow sound, I'd hang a set of phosphor bronze strings on your guitar, and let them break in well.

If you have buzz after you've changed the strings, keep in mind if the strings on the guitar now are indeed pretty low tension, the neck could have rotated backwards, lowering the action enough to buzz on a fresh set of strings also.

FWIW, seasonal change in top geometry (the top will drop in dry weather, taking the bridge and strings along with t), will also induce buzz. So, a guitar which didn't buzz in July humidity, may buzz in January dryness. Some people use slightly different saddle heights during the course of a year for this reason. This assumes of course, the player is looking to maintain, "LAPWOB" action all year long. (Low As Possible With Out Buzzing).

In your video, the particular sound of that guitar is introducing a lot of the tonality you're hearing. The body is small, and the top is tight.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jan 2, 2017,
if silk and steels are causing fret buzz, it's you may need to add a little neck relief or raise the action a little. these strings are lower tension, so don't pull the neck as hard as regular strings, and that can cause the buzz. i used silk and steels on most of my guitars, and my husband had to do a little setup magic on some of them for me after changing from standard light strings.
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