String sqeaks

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Danny Crockett
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String sqeaks

Postby Danny Crockett » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:07 pm

When I practice ascending up or down the fingerboard, I get awful squeaks on the base strings. Does anyone have a recommendation to minimize this? :roll:

Cass Couvelas
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Cass Couvelas » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:01 pm

Matthew McAllister's tutorial is very useful. See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY8LzKm ... e=youtu.be
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SteveL123
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby SteveL123 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:11 pm

I became very concious of string squeaks after being made aware that it is a problem in classical guitar technique. In steel string playing it is not considered a problem afaik. I have found that it is very difficult not to squeak on the wound strings. You practically have to lift the finger perpendicularly off the string before sliding it up or down the string otherwise it will squeak. I find the harder your finger tips are (as in dry skin), the louder the squeak.

To demonstrate that, try soaking your finger tips in warm water for a few minutes (to soften them), dry your hands and and compare the difference in the loudness of the squeaks before and after.
Last edited by SteveL123 on Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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eno
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby eno » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:13 pm

You can also use polished bass strings, they sqweak much less although they are more expensive.
In general (unless you do bass string glissando on purpose) you need to eliminate the habit of "lazy" right hand sliding along the bass strings and instead develop a "jumping" movement where the fingers softly take off perpendicular to the board and fly slightly above the strings. Even more refined technique is McAllister's two-step release. Of course it takes a bit more effort than easy sliding but it's a necassery effort for clean playing. If there are sliding chords (like in Villa-Lobos Prelude #1) you can still slide on the trebles but jump on the basses.
Last edited by eno on Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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eno
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby eno » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:16 pm

SteveL123 wrote:I find the harder your finger tips are (as in dry skin), the louder the squeak.

Right. I usually file my hardened fingertips to make the hard layer thinner and softer (but not too thin because some hard layer thickness for protecting the fingers is still needed to avoid pain and injury), it helps with the squeaks and makes playing easier in general.
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Danny Crockett
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Danny Crockett » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:05 am

Thank you Cass Couvelas, Steve123 and Eno for all the advice and the Youtube link. I'll try the techniques. Interesting enough, my hands have been very dry. Thanks Steve123. Time for some heavy moisturizing. I will also wear gloves when working.

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michaeledward64
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby michaeledward64 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:12 pm

I read somewhere, removing your base strings and placing them in hot water for a few minutes, then reinstalling them, reduces string squeak.

I have not tried this.

I think it sounds rather, well, dopey.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Andrew Fryer » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:18 pm

michaeledward64 wrote:I read somewhere, removing your base strings and placing them in hot water for a few minutes, then reinstalling them, reduces string squeak.

I have not tried this.

I think it sounds rather, well, dopey.

Yes. Considering they contain many fibres in the middle, they will soak up water by capillary action and be very flat, is my guess. So you'll tune them up, and as they dry they will get sharper and maybe snap.
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joelmalit
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby joelmalit » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:57 pm

You may want to try the LaBella 900 strings. I've been using this specific set since in the 1980s. The special thing about this set is the polished windings of the 3 bass strings.
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dtoh
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby dtoh » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:29 am

Start at a slow enough speed to avoid the string noise. Then gradually speed up while being very conscious of any noise. Eventually you will be able to execute the movement with very little noise. Not a Magic bullet, but with time and a lot of practice you will develop good and clean technique.

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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Tim W » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:04 pm

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Andrew Fryer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:16 pm

I think I read somewhere that someone like Williams has a technique whereby he doesn't slide with the hardest part of the finger tip (that's what makes the noise), but shifts to a softer part before sliding. Sounds fiddly to me.
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RectifiedGTRz
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby RectifiedGTRz » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:01 am

eno wrote:In general (unless you do bass string glissando on purpose) you need to eliminate the habit of "lazy" right hand sliding along the bass strings and instead develop a "jumping" movement where the fingers softly take off perpendicular to the board and fly slightly above the strings.


Good advice and close to the advice of a private teacher I had back in the day who studied with Able Carlavaro. I can pretty much minimize my squeaking using a somewhat similar method (hard to explain), but I can't get rid of the "creaking" you can get sometimes when you have a hard fingering that is using your three fingers and you have to move the fourth.

Villa Lobos' Prelude No 1 is great for this type of practicing. It's almost like you are lifting the pressure off the fretboard, keeping tactile touch still on the string and rapidly moving your whole hand to the next position then putting the pressure back down. I didn't have to purchase the polished strings (and I don't know if they were out there in the 90s).
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Luis_Br
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Luis_Br » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:43 pm

I think we should try to minimize, Carlevaro exercises book 3 is great for this, but sometimes it is just part of the guitar music and some portamentos help connecting the melody. I remember Fabio Zanon telling that once he asked Bream if he didn't bother all the squeaks in his recordings and Bream answered something like this: "for sure, but when I try to remove them, I think the music looses its singing line".

Guitar Nut
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Re: String sqeaks

Postby Guitar Nut » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:24 am

I agree with this last point. Sometimes it's part of the music. Sometimes it's even written in the score. To take a recent example for me, Sagreras lesson 1, number 85 shows a slide on the fifth string. I don't think there's any way of performing that without making some kind of rubbing noise (though some strings might be quieter than others as discussed above). You could lift your finger off the string completely but then it doesn't sound as smooth.


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