The Low E String on My Guitar is Too Far From Edge of The Fretboard

The Low E String on My Guitar is Too Far From Edge of The Fretboard: Causes and Troubleshooting

Having an elevated guitar string can be a lot of trouble. Not only do they make it very uncomfortable to play the guitar but they can also hurt your fingers. Thus, having your guitar strings placed in the right place is crucial. 

One of the most common problems with guitar strings is the misalignment of your low E string. So, you might ask, why is the low E string on my guitar too far from the edge of the fretboard? 

The string can misalign if there are any mistakes with tuning and bridge. Furthermore, if the guitar is left outside for too long after tuning, the temperature and humidity could take your strings out of position. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about your guitar’s low E string placement. Let’s begin!

Is Your E String Really Elevated?

Before we get to work, we need to know if our string is really elevated or not. Generally, the string remains a bit above the fretboard. However, if it gets too high, it moves away from the fretboard. And thus it becomes a problem that needs to be dealt with. 

One of the most common signs that your low E string has elevated is the inconvenience it brings. It will make it significantly harder to play the guitar. Also, the low E string will sound out of sync, and there will be a buzzing noise whenever you play it. 

The easiest way to check elevation is by using a coin or a folded card. Put the coin below the fretboard and see if it moves without obstructions. If it moves without struggle, it’s properly elevated. 

Afterward, place your capo on top of the coin and try the same thing again. If there are still no obstructions, you need to reduce its elevation by a bit. Otherwise, you’re pretty good to go! 

However, it’s important to note that for beginners, keeping the elevation high is good. Since it takes some bit of effort to play on a high string, it strengthens one’s fingers. Thus improving their playing. 

Why Do Guitar Strings Get Elevated From the Fretboard?

There could be a few possible reasons for your string to elevate. These include the type of guitar and some other factors, such as-

Guitar Type

When it comes to the elevation of your string, the type of your guitar plays a key role. 

Humidity and Environment

Climate can impact the material of your guitar in many ways. The type of wood used in guitars is subject to change due to humidity. If the weather is too humid, it can cause the guitar fretboard to bend. 

If the fretboard bends too much, it would change the position of the strings. Since the low E is the topmost string, the bent fretboard moves it too far away from its position.  

Fixed Bridge

In a fixed bridge guitar, the strings pass through a saddle and bridge. These two parts act as the endpoints of the string. There are two hex screws in a fixed bridge. For each string, you have to align the screws carefully to make sure the saddle stays level. 

Rotating the hex screws clockwise raises the strings and rotating counterclockwise lowers them down. Any misalignment could cause one end to elevate.

Floating Bridge 

When it comes to a floating bridge guitar, there’s an additional part called the tremolo arm. You can directly change the pitch of the strings by pulling them with the arm. Thus, the strings also pass through the body of the guitar. 

In this case, if the tremolo arm is moved too much, the elevation of the strings will be uneven. 

Regular Playing

Just like any other appliance, guitars also go through regular wear and tear. If you’re playing your guitar for a long time, the strings get weaker and loosen up. Also, the fretboard will also get weaker with time. 

For this reason, it’s a good idea to get your guitar checked every once in a while. If you’re looking for a way to look for problems in your guitar, getting it plekked is a good idea.

Easy Ways to Fix an Elevated String

Now that we’ve discussed the problems, it’s time to get into solutions. Before we get ourselves immersed in the world of guitars, there are a few easy fixes. It’s recommended to try them out first before getting into anything else. 

The easy fixes are- 

Easy Fix 1: Alter your Guitar tuning

Tuning your guitar is key to your performance. Generally, the tuning of your guitar means the tightness of the strings on your guitar. Turning the pegs determines the tightness of the strings, thus changing their pitch. 

If your tuning is too tight, it causes the strings to elevate. Thus, causing them to move away from their actual positions. Thus, a quick fix is to change the tuning into something that’s a bit less tight. 

For example, if your guitar is tuned in E flat, change it to E standard. This could get the job done temporarily. Again, if it’s on E standard, F is the way to go! 

While changing your tuning can fix it temporarily, it’s nowhere near a permanent solution. If your low E string is constantly moving out of place, you need to find a solution soon. 

Also, keep in mind that tuning is a bit risky. Tuning it wrong too many times, or too often could potentially break your fretboard. So, make sure you’re extra careful during the entire process.

Easy Fix 2: Choose the Correct Gauge

The gauge of your guitar strings refers to its actual physical size. It’s generally measured in inches. The range of string gauge’s from high E to low E. However, choosing the right gauge is crucial.

If the gauge is high, the weight of the string will be pretty high as well. Thus, it puts a lot of strain on the fretboard. This causes the fretboard to bend. So, gauges are a lot more important than you think. 

When it comes to the low E string, the optimum gauge range is 0.042 to 0.048 inches. If the gauge is less than that, it’ll get weaker and break easily. In case it’s too high, it could affect the stability of the fretboard.

Not only the gauge, but the quality of the strings are also important. If the strings are not of good quality, they can elevate at the littlest bit of pressure. Strings like D’Addario EXL110 and Ernie Ball 2146 are some of the best out there. 

The Geeky Solution

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance that the easy fixes didn’t work. However, don’t worry, we got you covered! Dealing with a low E string too far from the edge of the fretboard can be a bit of a stretch. But, with the right tools and a bit of effort, it’s pretty easy to deal with.

But, you need to prepare accordingly. Otherwise, it could be very stressful, to begin with!

Phase 1: Preparation Phase

The first step to finish anything properly is preparation. If you aren’t prepared right, you’re only going to struggle to finish on a high note. When it comes to fixing your guitar, the process is pretty similar.

The first things you need here are the tools. The tools you need are; 

Necessary Tools

These are the basic tools you need in order to start working on your guitar. 

Important Things to Know 

However, before we get into the steps, we need to know a few things. Knowing how the different tools work and how to deal with them is important.

Truss Rod (alignment)

The truss rod is easily the most important part of fixing your misaligned string. It helps you compensate for the tension in the string. When the tension gets too much, the fretboard can bend. 

So, by using a truss rod, you address the bend created by the tension. Knowing how to use a truss rod properly is the key to the well-being of your guitar. 

If you’re wondering which Truss rod to look for, check out our recommendations –

Allen Key 

The Allen key is the heart of your truss rod. The Allen key is used to manage the truss rod. You have to move the Allen Key in the right direction to move the truss rod. 

Now that we’ve discussed the preparation phase, let’s get further into it.

Phase 2: Fixing the Guitar Action

Before we discuss how to fix our guitar action, we need to know how it works. Understanding your guitar action gives you an insight into how to fix recurring problems. Fixing the guitar action could address the problem for good. 

Guitar Action

Understanding guitar action can be a bit complicated. The term guitar action refers to the distance between the top of your fretboard and the bottom of your strings. The guitar action determines how smooth your playing experience would be! 

There are two types of actions out there, high and low action. Knowing how it works is very beneficial. But to help you out, we’ve described them. 

High Guitar Action

In high guitar action, the strings are kept as far as possible from the fretboard. Since it’s elevated, it’s very tight and rigid. So, playing the guitar this way is a bit hard. Also, there’s a distance between the two parts. As a result, there’s a risk of the sound buzzing or rattling. 

However, it’s beneficial if you’re learning to play the guitar. Since playing in high action is a bit harder than normal, learning it the hard way makes it easier in the long run. 

Low Guitar Action 

The exact opposite of high guitar action is the low guitar action. It means that the guitar strings are kept as close to the fretboard as possible. The close distance prevents any rattling or buzzing noise from the fretboard. 

However, if the strings get too close to the fretboard, it’s a bit hard to deal with. They can come in contact with the propagation of sound and make it hard to deal with. 

Now that we’ve discussed what guitar action is, let’s discuss how to deal with it. Now, it can be a bit hard for beginners, but with a bit of effort, it can be done. However, the steps are somewhat different for acoustic guitars and electric guitars. The steps include-

For Acoustic Guitars

When it comes to acoustic guitars, fixing the action is actually pretty easy. The steps include-

Step 1 of 4: Loosen Your Guitar Strings

The first step to start lowering your acoustic guitar’s action is to loosen it up. It’s a must-do if your truss rod is only accessible through your soundhole. Even if that’s not the case, loosening the string makes the rest of the processes easier. 

Generally, you can loosen the string from the bridge using a hex wrench. Use the hex wrench to unscrew it and loosen the strings. However, make sure both sides of it are level. Otherwise, it will be uneven when you tighten it up again.

Step 2 of 4: Find the Truss Rod

Now that the strings are loose, it’s time to find the truss rod. It’s a slim, steel rod that’s placed inside your guitar. For most guitar brands, the truss rod is placed on the neck board. Now there are two types of truss rods, one-way or two-way! 

Even though one-way truss rods have become pretty obsolete, they’re still seen in antique models. In a one-way rod, you can only straighten the neck against string tension and upbow. However, in a two-way rod, you can also fix a back bowed neck.

Step 3 of 4:Turn The Truss Rod Screw Leftwards

Now, it’s time to deal with the elephant in the room. You need the Allen key provided with your truss rod to get to work. The first thing you need to do is to move the truss rod screw carefully. Simply place the Allen key in and move it carefully.

If you rotate the screw right, it’ll straighten an upbow. While rotating the left will straighten the back bow. Keep an idea of how much you’re rotating so that you don’t rotate too much. However, if the truss rod feels stuck, you can use oil to get it lubricated as well.

Step 4 of 4: Tighten and Tune Your Strings

Now that the truss rod has been dealt with, it’s time to put everything back together. Put the truss rod in place and keep tightening the strings back. Once it’s back to its old settings, you’re good to go!

For Electric Guitars

With acoustic guitars out of the way, let’s get into the world of electric guitars. Fixing the action on the electric guitar is simpler than its acoustic counterparts. The steps are –

Fix the Truss Rod

The first thing you need to do is to fix the truss rod. In most electric guitars, the truss rod is at the neck. The mechanism here is similar to that of the acoustic guitar. Simply use the Allen key to reposition the rod until it’s in the right place.

Fix the Bridge

The bridge is an important part of your guitar. If the bridge gets loose or damaged, you might need to get it fixed. The steps for fixing the bridge of your guitar are- 

  • Firstly, you have to know if your bridge is loose or not. For that, take a piece of paper and try putting it under the bridge. If the paper gets in without any hassle, it needs to be tightened. 

However, if there are any broken parts in the bridge, you need to get them replaced. Gluing it back together won’t help.

  • If the bridge is loose, take off all the strings first. Remove the strings and pop out the string pins. Then, use a heating pad to loosen up the existing glue. Just place the heating pad on top of the bridge and turn it on, it will automatically heat up and remove the glue. 
  • Now, you have to remove the bridge off the surface. The easiest way to do it is by prying it off with a razor blade. Don’t try to force your way in, gently add pressure around the edges to remove it from its slot.
  • Once you’ve scraped it off, there might be more glue at the bottom. Scrape them off with a scraper or knife. You can also score the bottom of the bridge with a knife. This helps the glue set better. 
  • Now, use a ruler to find the midpoint of the bridge and place it there. Afterward, use a C-clamp to hold the bottom of the bridge in its place. Apply glue to the bottom generously. If there are any extras, you can wipe them away later 
  • Now, press the bridge on top of the guitar and let it stay overnight. Make sure it’s placed properly and it lines up well while the glue is still. Wipe off the excesses and let it stay overnight. 

If your bridge has loosened, follow these steps and you’re good to go!

How Can You Prevent This?

Prevention is always better than cure. With a little bit of effort, you can save your fretboard from a lot of problems.

Loosen The Strings 

The first thing you should do is loosen the strings when you’re not using them. If the strings are kept too tight, they put too much pressure on the fretboard causing it to bend. So, loosen them up when you’re not using them. 

Keep Your Guitar Away From Moisture 

Moisture, high temperature, humidity are some of the most common enemies you have to deal with. The material of your guitar can be affected by these factors so keep it free from them. So, it’s always better to store your guitar in its casing in a safe and dry place.

Still Stuck? Why not Go for an Upgrade?

If you’re still stuck about your guitar, maybe it’s time to get a new one! More often than not, your fretboard could be damaged beyond repair. In that case, you need to get a new one. 

If none of our previously mentioned solutions work, and if your fretboard problems are recurring, then an upgrade might be a good idea. Maybe this is your cue for finally getting your hands into your dream guitar!


How to Take My Strings Closer to My Fretboard?

If your strings keep getting too far from the edge of the fretboard, you need to get your fretboard fixed. It’s likely that you have a warped fretboard, so deal with that and you’re good to go!

How Close Should the Low E String be from The Edge of The Fretboard?

Generally, the rule of thumb is that your low E string has to be at least ⅛” away from the edge of your fretboard. However, if you have any issues with your fretboard, it might move from its original position. 

Why Does My Low E String Keep Slipping? 

If your strings keep slipping, it could be due to a faulty knot at the head. Loosen up the knots and tie them carefully. If the knot is tight, you can avoid such hassle.

Bottom Line

The material in your guitar is very sensitive. Even the slightest error could lead to a lot of trouble. If your fretboard is bent a bit, it will cause a lot of trouble for you. Such as your low E string getting out of position. 

So, if you were wondering, “why the low E string on my guitar is too far from edge of the fretboard?”, We hope you find this article helpful!

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