Facing issues with the beloved low E string can destroy your weekly music sessions. Especially, when you have less time during a studio or live performance.
So, exactly what are the low E string problems?
String Elevation is one main E string problem that can distort the tuning. The strings being too close to the fretboard is also an issue that can’t be overruled. In addition, the low E strings are commonly associated with depreciating nut issues.
In this article, we will outline several Low E string problems and their solutions based on the guitar type. Therefore, you must keep on reading to find more.
So, let’s jump right in!
- What is the Low E String on the Guitar?
- Common Low E String Problems in a Guitar
- Low E String Problems Seen in Bass and Electric Guitars
- Low E String Problems Seen in Acoustic Guitars
- How to Change Low E String on Guitar?
- How to Tune Low E String on Guitar?
- Can You Play the Guitar Without a High E String?
- Bottom Line
What is the Low E String on the Guitar?
The thick low E string accounts for the lowest sound that can play. E tuning represents a standard tuning of any guitar.
Many guitar players like you would want to make the overall tuning perfect.
This is when you are trying to work with the low E-string sound.
The low E string frequency can go down to 83 Hz on electric guitars. For bass guitars, the open low E frequency can go down to 41 Hz. This represents one octave lower than electric guitars.
Ensuring a low E-string guitar gauge means getting a 42-gauge string. For bass guitars, the lower 46 gauge strings are supported.
This represents the 12 flat and sharp notes of any guitar. This is with a lower E-tuned pitch variation. The low E-string guitar notes start from E and end with G#.
Common Low E String Problems in a Guitar
You may experience a loud buzzing sound with Low E strings. This means the strings are not aligned properly to the nuts. They are either elevated or a deep cut on nut slots.
In such a case, it messes up the tuning of the guitar. As indicated before, the 12 notes in the strings are not sounding in tune.
This is why you will realize that the low E-string guitar vibrates. Rattling sounds on E string are also common. This can be due to a higher gap between strings and fretboard.
As you may know, acoustic guitars can be made in both Alder and Mahogony. So, string issues may arise due to humidity and moisture formation in that particular type of wood.
In a common case, you may be feeling the guitar’s low string slipping off the fretboard. This happens when the low E string is too close edge fretboard
If you see that the low E string sounds weird, something is wrong with the guitar. In addition, muddy sounds from the string are also common. This can happen due to the intonation problem of low E strings.
Difficulty in intonating is also another common occurring issue. In this case, you will face the issue of a low E string stuck in the bridge.
Keeping all the problematic areas in mind, we are going to apply solutions accordingly. This is of a low E string construction.
We are also going to highlight the bass, electric guitars, and acoustic guitar scenarios.
Low E String Problems Seen in Bass and Electric Guitars
You can find two main low e string problems in bass and electric guitars. These problems along with their solutions are described below.
But wait a minute. Before moving forward check out this table that I made for you summarizing all the problems.
|Bass Guitars||Problems||Solutions||Electric Guitars||Problems||Solutions|
|String Elevation||Raised higher than 3.5 mm||Adjusting the fret height||String Elevation||Raised higher than 2.38 mm||Action adjustments|
|Low String Action||Bent Guitar Neck||Truss Rod adjustment application||Low String Action||The short distance between frets and strings||Using Allen Key to adjust|
|Low E-string Far from the Edge of the Fretboard||Wrong Tuning and Misplaced string||Re-tuning the Guitar and fixing the guitar action||Low E-string Far from the Edge of the Fretboard||Misplaced Truss rod.||Fix the truss rod and bridge|
Now let’s move on to the nitty-gritty details of the low E string problems seen in bass and electric guitars.
Problem 1: String Elevation
Any buzzing sound may come about when the string is buzzing against the fret. What if the string is causing a bassy sound?
The strings causing a bassy sound means that the fret is not adjusted enough and the strings are elevated. When the string is elevated higher, you will face difficulty tuning the guitar. Keeping the string ⅛ inch away from the fret should resolve the issue.
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.
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.
However, in the elevation scenario, the type of guitar plays a crucial role.
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.
In this segment, we are pointing out the bass and electric guitar low E string issues. When the low E string is too high, adjustments for bass and guitar are required accordingly.
For example, the solution for bass guitar fret height adjustment is different from normal guitars. You will need saddle screws or Allen keys to align the fretboard.
Here are some steps that you need to follow to fix the issue of string elevation:
- Tune the bass to E.
- Inspect if the strings are buzzing out or elevating from the nut
- Remove the truss rod
- Use the Allen key to adjust the truss rod
- After ⅛ turn of the rod, tune the strings
- In the case of elevated strings, you must raise the bridge
- Adjust the string saddle accordingly
- Play the bass to see if any issues occur again
For electric guitars, you will need action adjustments. The steps that you need to follow to fix high elevation in electric guitars are:
- Loosen the strings by working with the tuning key
- In the case of an electric guitar, the strings should be removed to adjust the action
- Raise the action by adjusting the truss rod
- Once the strings are out from the nuts, raise its action a bit
- Raise the bridge saddle as well
- After the raising is done using Allen key, it’s time to insert the strings
- Tune the strings accordingly
See if the problems persist by playing the guitar. One thing to note is that the application of the plekking process can help to deal with the fretboards. However, some people may find plek not worth the extra hassle.
Problem 2: Low String Action
Low string action is the exact opposite of string elevation. This means the strings are very close to the fretboards. This usually happens the neck of the guitar is bent.
For the basses, you will experience that low E string not staying in tune. The thick and heavy strings are buzzing too much in this problem area.
A common question is why the low E string is too close to the edge fretboard.
The low E string being too close to the edge of the fretboard indicates that you are tuning the guitar too often. This also means you have to re-align the fretboard by adjusting the bridge. A standard tuning procedure is needed to fix it.
As you can imagine, the simple solution is about adjusting the fret height.
Here are the things that you need to do to fix this issue for bass guitars:
- Tune the strings as perfectly as you can by using a tuner
- Inspect how close are the strings to the fretboard
- Remove the truss rod
- Again use the Allen key to adjust the height of the truss rod
- Lower down the bridge a bit
- You will see the fret is adjusting itself to the bridge
- Make the truss rod fit perfectly
- Tune the bass again and play the bass to see if the bass is in tune
Here are the things that you need to do for an electric guitar:
- Work with the tuning key to loosen and remove the strings
- Adjust the nuts and truss rod to lower down the action
- Lower down the bridge saddle
- Inspect if the fretboard is aligned with the bridge
- If the strings are old, try changing the strings on your electric guitar.
- Insert the strings
- Tune the strings with an E standard tuning
Keep in mind that if you have to change the strings of your bass guitar then opt for strings that are specially made for it. For my bass guitars, I always get the Ernie Ball Bass Guitar Strings from Amazon. It has never created any problems for me.
Also, to tighten the string, use any of the Alpha and CTS pots for better functions.
Another thing that you can do is to change the truss rod. However, getting just any truss rod won’t fix this issue for you. Here are some of the truss rods that I’ve personally used to solve low-string action-
- Musiclily Pro Dual Action Guitar Truss Rod – A two-way adjustment truss rod that acts in both directions.
- LT-1419-000 25 Inch Double Action Truss Rod – This truss rod is ideal for bass guitars.
Hopefully, these will solve your issue.
Low E String Problems Seen in Acoustic Guitars
The way that acoustic guitars function is different from the way bass and electric guitars function. That’s why acoustic guitars have separate reasons to have low E string problems.
Problem 3: Depreciating Nut
For acoustic guitars, the main low E string problem comes about with the nuts. A depreciating nut can lose its placement after a certain period.
The good news is, you will not face acoustic guitar low E string sounding dead issues. This is more common with electric guitars.
Fixing the acoustic guitar scene is easier than the other guitars. The same goes for acoustic basses. The conditions are similar.
But before jumping on to the solution here are some tools that you’d be needing for it:
Now, here’s how you can fix it:
- Remove and loosen the strings from the nuts
- Clean the fretboard and nuts using a gentle cleaner
- Straighten the neck easily to stay aligned with the nuts
- Use the Allen key to fix the truss rod nuts
- Place new strings back on by tightening and tuning it
- Make sure you tighten the strings according to the E standard tune
Overtightening may make you break the strings. So be very careful as you need to put extra attention into tuning an acoustic guitar. This is the best way to change low E strings on acoustic guitar.
Fixing the low e string can be quite tricky and frustrating. That’s why a lot of people despise this string as you can see-
However, the solutions that I suggested should let all of your worries rest. Play all the songs you love to play with the standard tune!
Problem 4: Low E String on My Guitar Too Far from the Edge of the Fretboard
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!
Solution for Acoustic Guitar
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!
Using any of the pots, especially either CTS or Alpha pots can also help!
Solution 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.
How to Change Low E String on Guitar?
The process of changing the low e string on a guitar is relatively easy. All you have to do to change the low E strings on acoustic guitar is to follow the steps below:
- Loosen the strings by loosening the tuning key.
- Cut the strings by using string cutters
- Remove the old strings by letting them out through the bridge and nut
- Clean the guitar, especially the fretboard before inserting new strings
- Open the packaging of the new string
- String the guitar accordingly to insert it through the bridge and nut.
- Wind the strings to the knobs that attach the tuning keys
- You can also cut the extra flying strings over the tuning key
- Clipping the tail ends is a good option as well
- Tune the strings accordingly
By implementing the right tuning approach, you can avoid low E string problems.
How to Tune Low E String on Guitar?
Starting the tuning with tuning the Low E string is more common than tuning the higher string method. You can use a tuner to ensure the perfect tuning.
The tuner should be pointed at the middle end of the E tune. This is when you should stop moving the tuning key. Do the same with the lower 5 strings accordingly.
Tuning a low E string tuned to D is also easy. But still, you may wonder how to tune the low E string to D?
All you have to do to tune the low E string to D is to make sure the tuner display is indicating a middle-end D tune. By accomplishing that you can successfully tune your low E string to D. However, keep in mind that doing it by ear is difficult if you are not a pro.
The same goes for tuning the low E string to C. To tune the low E string to C keep adjusting the tuner unless the tuner display reaches the middle-end C directions. With the tuner, low E-string hard-to-tune issues can be resolved.
You can avoid low E-string tuning problems with a tuner. You can do it by adjusting the d note on the low E string. The use of a tuner will make things perfect and also keep the tune from falling.
Can You Play the Guitar Without a High E String?
It is possible to play the guitar without the high E string. All you have to do is adjust the chords and notes accordingly. Many pro guitarists can easily do that.
Playing with no high E string is very common. Especially, if you are having live performances or recording in a studio.
A common scene is that many guitarists remove the higher E strings. This is because they are not needed on most occasions.
Such a case is not common with low E strings. This is because any base of a song comes from the Low string. It is also easier and fancier to play.
What to do when my new strings are making squeaky sounds?
New strings can make squeaking sounds if they are aligned too close to the fretboard. Remove the strings to adjust the action a bit higher. Insert and tune the strings again to see if the sound persists.
How do I adjust the strings to the edge of the fretboard at the right distance?
A rule of thumb is to keep the strings ⅛” away from the edge of the fretboard. It can be hard for you to measure the distance. Just have a proper understanding by applying different options.
How to keep the strings from slipping away too often?
A faulty knot at the head is the main reason for the strings slipping often. All you have to do to fix this is to loosen up the knot and then tighten them properly. A tight knot would keep the strings from slipping.
The Low E String Problems can be avoided if you take the necessary steps. Such as casing the guitars are essential to deal with the moisture formations. .
We hope you find success in dealing with guitar strings.
Wishing you all the best. Adios!