Why My Guitar is in Tune But Sounds Bad [6 Ways to Fix]

At a certain moment, you might find yourself asking why my guitar is in tune but sounds bad! Well, if this is your problem and you are finding the solution to that then know that you are on the right site.

This problem can often occur and make you realize that your guitar is not sounding like it before rather something is bugging it. Nonetheless, there could be several reasons for this problem like having old strings, intonation, or wiring issues or the guitar amp might have some error.

My Guitar is in Tune But Sounds Bad

So, to know elaborately why your guitar sounds bad or humming or buzzing when you play the chords, bear with us till the end. We will discuss every possible reason for this problem and also, find the probable solutions.

Fix My Guitar is in Tune But Sounds Bad – In 6 Ways:

Let’s see the fixing guide: the guitar sounds bad when I play chords. We have already mentioned there can be several reasons for your guitar to sound bad or buzzy when strumming. Let’s explore the reasons in detail.

1) Change Old Strings:

Change Old Strings

Even though your guitar is in tune still it might not sound good because your guitar strings have become old. Remember when is the last time you changed them. You can realize this by seeing the strings as well. If the strings are still shiny and sparkly then the problem is not in the strings.

But if they look rusty losing their shininess, then there is no reason they would sound good. Older strings produce dampened and dull sounds. However, strings get old when they gather too many dead skin cells, oils, and other substances.

Thus, while strumming, the vibration gets resisted and consequently, the tone does not come out right. Moreover, older strings need to be tuned frequently since there is constant stress, tension, stretching, and pressure going on it.

Fixing Guide:

Once your strings get rusty, the only way to get rid of this is to change the strings. You can easily change the strings by yourself. But still, if it seems hard, go to a professional.

2) Pressing Technique:

Pressing Technique

This may be another potential reason for your guitar not sounding good that you are unaware of. The problem is mostly faced by beginners out there. They think the harder you press, the clearer the sound will be.

But the fact is pressing the string with intense pressure can bend the string down in between the fret wires. And this fact will literally produce the sound which is also disturbing. It also affects the fretboard of the guitar.

However, it is true that you need to give a certain amount of pressure to the strings. But pressurizing too much can create such problems.

Fixing Guide:

To get rid of this problem, you should know some techniques. Firstly, put the right amount of pressure on the string only when it reaches the fretboard. Do not put excessive pressure.

3) Intonation Issue:

Intonation Issue

If your guitar is sounding bad while playing chords, then the probable reason is bad intonation. This is also the answer to your question ‘why does my electric guitar sound out of tune and bad?’

Intonation refers to the accuracy of the pitch of your electric or acoustic guitar. To get the right or accurate pitch you can change each string’s scale length by forwarding or moving backward the guitar saddle.

Any issues with the intonation can make the fretted notes produce flatter or sharper tones. This sound is not pleasant at all specifically when you keep pressing chords. However, the problem can take place even when your guitar is tuned perfectly.

Nonetheless, there could be other reasons, but when the chords sound out of tune, bad intonation is still the reason for the problem. Moreover, it becomes more obvious when you go to play barre chords.

In this case, some barre chords sound just fine whereas the rest of the chords on the fretboard produce out-of-tune sounds. So, yes, this way you are sure that your guitar is having a poor intonation.

Fixing Guide:

To get rid of the poor intonation, placing the saddles in the right place is the only way. Also, tuning the guitar properly can help you out, especially on the 12th fret.

Make sound on the string of the 12th fret and adjust the saddles till it gets in tune as well. Settle the saddle on the bridge properly by inspecting which way you need to move the saddle. Since the problem occurs mostly in the electric guitar, fine-tuning is necessary.

Nonetheless, the task is not that easy. Thus, it is suggested to take your guitar to the professionals to fix the intonation problem.

4) Fretting Hand Technique:

Fretting Hand Technique

Depending on this technique the sound may become good or bad. The technique plays a big role, especially while playing the chords.

The poor and inaccurate technique may produce muted and buzzing notes. It also creates out-of-tune chords. This can happen both for pressing down the chords either too light or too hard. Also, not touching the right chords will create the same situation.

Fixing Guide:

Since this problem mostly occurs to beginners out there, good practice can help them out. Balancing is also the key. Do not press the chords harder rather know how much pressure you should give to produce the full sound while striking.

Otherwise, pressing too hard can exhaust your muscles. Therefore, it is important to know the range of the pressure you are supposed to put on the chords while also conserving some energy. It will allow you to play the guitar for a long time.

However, the best way is to put your fingers in a chord and then check out each string separately. If you realize one or two strings are buzzing then press the chord harder. Again, if a string is sounding out of tune, then press down the chord a bit lightly.

5) String Action:

Strings Action

It may seem ignorable but the fact is it can produce muffled and muddy sounds even when the guitar is in tune. However, here action refers to the string height from the fretboard.

If the string is adjusted too high from the fretboard, then it will sound bad by making a higher tone. Also, the action makes the string move away from the actual position of the fret wires.

Fixing Guide:

This problem takes place especially when your guitar goes through any modification. This makes the notes buzz significantly. Changing the saddles can also be the reason. Again, modifying nuts can also cause this problem.

Thus, you have to be very careful while performing the modification. Also, to fix the lower action, you better take the guitar to a licensed professional.

6) Amp Settings:

See if something is wrong with your guitar’s amp setting. This problem is constant for every electric guitarist out there. The pedals are involved to amplify the sound. But if the certain pedal is not working then the sound is not amplified at all. Hence, it needs to be fixed.

Fixing Guide:

First, check if the pedals are responsible for this problem. If they are not causing the issue then the amplifier itself is the problem. Thus, set your amplifier or you can add a fiddle around it to have the more desired sound.


Question 1: Why does my guitar sound bad even when tuned?

Answer: Several facts are responsible for such a situation like wrong strumming, worn frets, bad techniques, intonation issues, and all. However, beginners face this problem most compared to experienced ones.

Question 2: Why does my guitar string sound weird?

Answer: It occurs when the environment is not in favor. Continuous changes in temperature and humidity make buzzing from the frets. Consequently, the strings sound weird.

Question 3: How do I know if my guitar is bad?

Answer: Several indications are there that confirm you have got a bad guitar. They have worn frets, buzzing of the strings, loose electronics, cracks at the heel, wrong amp settings, and all.

Question 4: Why do my guitar chords sound muffled?

Answer: A muffled sound from the guitar chords is obvious when you put way too much pressure on the strings. Also, pressing the strings lightly can produce a sound that is out of tune.

Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by Perry Garner

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