Acoustic Guitar sounds different on several days

Hi everyone, didn’t know where to post this, so please feel free to move this post in an appropriate category.

Strange question maybe, but I noticed, that my acoustic guitar (Fender CD 60 SCE) sounds different on several days. I noticed before from time to time, that my guitar sounds slightly different in my ears from one day to another. It is, as if she (it’s a female guitar, called Black Betty :slightly_smiling_face:) had her moods from day to day. Normally, her sound is full and warm, but the next day she’s sounding just dull. Sometimes also certain strings resonate longer than normal or buzz (especially G string). The next day it’s gone, the guitar sounds as normal as before.
This was particularly noted after I came back from holidays, when I didn’t touch the guitar for about 14 days. She was stored in a soft case in my music room, where conditions are pretty even.
I came back, she was slightly out of tune, so I tuned her, but the sound wasn’t the same as before. I tried some fingerstyle on Hallelujah, but it sounded weird and several strings were buzzing. After trying to ignore this (hard job! My ears were bleeding), everything was fine after practicing again for 3 days.
I have to say, that my callouses softend during holidays due to a lot of swimming, I almost lost them, but I haven’t any issues on the electric, except that fingertips are a lot softer and I can’t probably hit strings as precise as before. But I had this issue from time to time before, when callouses were fine.
Should I just ignore this, or is there any reason for this? Maybe my guitar is just a diva?

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Look at what the weather conditions have been like, different temperatures and humidity can make a difference. The differences can manifest themselves in different ways including going out of tune, affecting the setup of your guitar and changing the tone. Depending upon how different the changes of conditions are will influence the magnitude of the effect on your instrument.

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Hi Helen,
This sounds more like a problem with your ears than the guitar. Could you have fluid in your ears?

Temp and humidity can play havoc with a guitar if the changes are extreme and sudden. Small changes will also affect guitar tone in less noticeable ways.
I have had similar experiences as you and I am fairly meticulous when it comes to humidity levels and the storage of my guitars. Buzzing and sharp/flat tones generally appear when I have played my acoustics for a few days and then go to an electric. It seems I apply way too much finger pressure on the electric at first, causing some note and tone variation. On the acoustics it happens more when I haven’t played for a while or when my hands a tired from working all day. I put that down to less-than-ideal finger placement.
Play your guitar daily and see if the erratic tones start to disappear.

Certainly one’s own mood is more variable than the guitars, but I wouldn’t expect buzzing to be a mood issue.

I would consider checking your set up. Weather and humidity can change enough to be quite noticeable and if your set up is so tight (and therefore wonderful on a good day) that there is no room for a little weather related change it could be noticed.

What I mean is that if the action is really low and the relief really slight, it becomes too low and too little respectively in certain weather conditions.

I would start by measuring the relief, since that will be much easier to adjust, and if it is too much already, give yourself a titch more.

@DarrellW @ChasetheDream @Jamolay Thanks for your replies! According to your replies, I think it’s maybe a combination of external conditions and setup. I was wondering, if anybody else has experienced things like that. As it happened for the first time, I thought, I had a bad day and that it was caused by my playing, but it happend again and when I’m switching to the electric, everything is normal. So, must be an issue with the acoustic guitar. The problem comes up suddenly and goes within 24h.
I’m very careful with the storage of my guitars, mostly store them in their cases. Thank you all for your help!

Not sure if you are kidding :joy:. Everything ok with my ears, no fluid in my ears. As an ex competitive swimmer I surely know when there’s something wrong :wink:


No, I was serious! :grinning: But you know your own ears better than anyone.

This doesn’t sound like a setup problem to me. But, as suggested, it’s definitely worth getting it checked.

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My guitar sounds similar from day to day… but definitely sounds different when played in different rooms, or outside.

Buzzing that comes and goes from day to day could be a string snag - maybe there is a proper term but that’s what I call it. I sometimes get them when the guitar has fallen out of tune sharp and I have to retune. Seems to happen or G or B strings to me. I loosen them about a semitone below tune, it goes “pink” then I tune up. Not sure if what your getting or something entirely different.

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Aha, understandable if external conditions change. Seems as if guitars are more sensible as I thought and even smalest changes of conditions cause recognizable differences in sound.

For me it’s G or D string, which sometimes ring out much too long and cause an awkward buzzing and vibration. I had to change the bridge by my guitarshop last time as I changed strings, because the old bridge got broken (accidenally stepped on it as it fell out while changing strings). But everything was just fine for weeks.
However, I think even guitars have a soul :slightly_smiling_face: and mine was a little offended not beeing played for a while.

What do you mean by strings ringing our for too long? You can always mute them when they are not supposed to ring out.

Hi Jozsef, its not a normal resonance time as on the other strings, but some kind of an unpleasant, piercing sound which lasts longer than on any other string. Lets say, I do a simple down strum on all 6 strings. All strings stop ringing out after a short amount of time, but G string rings out longer and in an unpleasant tone.
Now everything is normal again. But it occures from time to time.

When it is “acting up”, will any other D or G note elsewhere on the guitar do the same thing (wolf note)?

If you put a capo on fret 1, does it still do it (nut)?

How is the action and relief of those two strings? Maybe the new saddle is not the right radius.

The fact that it comes and goes means something environmental is happening to bring it out. The guitar doesn’t change unless you do something to it or if there are humidity and/or temperature changes.

I would hazard a few guesses. One would be the wolf note, as it may only come out under certain conditions. The other is slightly off action and or relief of those two strings such that a small conditions change brings them to a problem zone.

I would start by loosening the truss rod a hair and seeing if that helps. Then, to the Luthier…

What @jkahn is talking about, different rooms, is likely an acoustics issue. I often play in a corner with big windows and a tile floor. Bright and reflective, definitely not ideal. Sometimes I am banished to the basement and then there are no big windows and a thick rug. Much warmer sounds. The basement is far better acoustically, but I like being in the family room upstairs more.


Can’t tell you right now, because currently it’s gone…

With the original bridge it was even worse

Just looked for a definition of a wolfe note, this seems to be a reasonnable approach. In my case it has to do with sort of a certain vibration thing, I just hear that the frequency is somehow off, the string produces an annoying kind of sound that creeps into my ear and doesn’t stop.

My music room is at the east side of the house, some very soft sunlight in the morning, but pretty stable conditions concerning temperature during the day, no direct sunlight. Didn’t ever measure humidity, but this might be a reason too.
Thanks Joshua for taking your time to answer, I really appreciate that!
Next time when I go to my local guitar store, I’ll ask what they think about it.

Have you tried different strings?

I had a set recently where the b string (new) would have an after ring that sounded just like a cell phone ringing in the distance. Couldn’t figure it out.

Eventually, the string manufacturer (small independent) and I decided it might be the string that was bad, so they sent me a new b string (and a free full set! Kind of them) and when I changed it, the sound was gone. Yay!

I sent the “bad” string back to them and they did not find anything wrong with it. They were looking for diameter inconsistencies and such.

So, in the end, I suspect I did something wrong when I strung the guitar. Operator error as they always say. The string manufacturer was very gracious and helpful, and I had several back and forth emails with the owner.

I love their strings by the way. Straight Up Strings. Great company, great low tension strings and the best customer service ever.

Yes, I started out a year ago with the original set of strings by Fender, then switched

  1. to a lighter gauge of 10’ d’Addario Phosphor Bronze, Guitar was checked by my local shop
  2. Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze
  3. Martin Authentic Acoustic Extra light 80/20 Bronze
    Every set of strings sounded different, but I had the same issue with all of them. It suddenly appears and it’s gone after one or two days. It’s the first time since late May, that it happens with the Martins, otherwise it occured maybe once or twice a month.

If they are all light or extra light, I would definitely nudge the truss rod for a tiny bit more relief. Easy to do and undo and may help.

That was my first thought. If the radius is to flat the two center strings will be closer to the frets.

The change to 10’ was made including a setup of the guitar at that time. So the truss rod should have been ok. But maybe it’s worth checking this again.

I went back and read you replaced the saddle at your last change of strings. The problem was also present before that, then, so maybe not the saddle.

The truss is still the easiest, non-permanent thing you can muck with your self.

Curious about the capo trick and if other g and d notes set it off.

@stitch it wasn’t the saddle, but the bridge. The new bridge was inserted by the shop, but this issue occured also with the old one.