Skip to main content

Is it actually possible to remove fretboard squeaks from an acoustic guitar track after it's been recorded? If so, what kind of technique is employed? Thanks.


jonyoung Thu, 01/29/2004 - 13:56

Sidechain a compressor to parametric EQ, locate squeak frequency with a narrow Q, and try "ducking" it. What's the context of the track in the big scheme? Is it solo, guitar/vocal, or in an arrangement with several other tracks? Since there may be pumping or holes apparent in the track with this method, how you set your threshold, attack & release is critical to minimize these. If the acoustic is mixed with many other tracks, merely reducing the level of the squeak may be enough of a solution.

anonymous Sat, 01/31/2004 - 16:42

The last project I recorded had a lot of acoustic guitar and some really annoying squeeks. Like Uncle Bob, I actually like some, seems more natural to me. But sometimes these monster squeeks come out that just have to go. I mainly used volume envelopes in the DAW to tame them but in places where there was a lot happening in the song I cut them out completely without it being noticeable. And still in other places I cut and pasted a different section of the same chord change where the noise was less.

The client was happy with the results so I'll probably try the same stuff again next time.

I wasn't aware of the Elixir or Alchemy strings. They may cut fret noise but how do they sound? I'll have to look into them.


audiokid Mon, 01/09/2012 - 17:58

Agree, I actually use slides and squeaks per-say as an effect and part of my guitar style. However, you are missing the big point here. This is an example of how easy it is/was to remove click track bleed or other unwanted noises the same way without effecting the other sonic parts in the timeline. Amazing life saver and restoration tool.
The guitar squeak removal was relevant to the OP.

Yes, it can be done!

chavernac Tue, 01/10/2012 - 05:06

Whenever I came across this problem... I found that using an eq was just not the optimal solution. Yes it will remove the peaking frequencies... but It will remove much more... like air, definition, etc...
The ultimate weapon I found is the Supresser from Sonnox, or any multiband compressor (or de-esser)

Mo Facta Tue, 01/10/2012 - 10:22

If it's just a couple of annoying, un-musical squeaks, then just manually edit them out in your DAW's clip editor.

However, and no offense to the OP, I find the whole notion of wanting to remove each and every squeak from an acoustic guitar recording as a definitive display of the expression, "missing the forest for the trees".

Fret noises are part of the acoustic guitar sound and when someone is clearly bothered by them I can't help but chuckle silently to myself that they're obsessing too much, often because they're just not listening to the song. It also sometimes stems, imo, from being insecure about their playing or equating no fret noise with a "clearer" or "better" performance. The truth of the matter is that studio trickery does not always improve these types of situations and more often than not, makes them worse and unnatural sounding.

Music is about the bigger picture and that is why I like fret noise.

Cheers :)