Should Guitar Strings Be Parallel To The Fretboard [5 Reasons and Fixes]

As a guitarist, one of the hardest things is dealing with strings and their issues. Most of us struggle with setting up our strings as a beginner. However, what disturbs most guitarists is keeping their guitar strings parallel to the fretboard. It is what most of us struggle with and still fails to find the correct answers to the question, should guitar strings be parallel to the fretboard?

In short, it will help if the guitar strings are parallel to the fretboard. It allows you to play your guitar with ease, avoid buzzing and enjoy music like never before. However, there must be neck relief near the 18th fret of the fretboard. The relief or the forward bow will enhance the pliability of the guitar. Other than that, the strings should be parallel to the fretboard to improve the quality of music produced.

Now, if you want to know more about parallel guitar strings and fretboards, we have a deal for you. Here, we are going to introduce you to everything about guitar strings that will help you understand more about your guitar. So, follow the article below to have a proper insight into parallel guitar strings.

5 Reasons why should the guitar strings be parallel to the fretboard

Most of the new guitar students ask why the guitar strings should be parallel to the fretboard. So, below we are going to introduce you to five of the most common reasons that will help you understand why you should have guitar strings parallel to the fretboard.

1- Parallel strings avoid buzzing

The most common issue that guitarists face is the buzzing of the strings. This is something that ruins an entire chord progression, and playing fingerstyle with this issue is near to impossible. However, the solution to this issue is as simple as swimming for fish.

What you need to do is have parallel strings with slightly low action. The main reason why your strings buzz is because they are not pressed correctly. So, for this, most professional guitarists suggest having parallel strings to the fretboard.

With this said, you will not have to push hard to press the strings of your guitar. So, when you have a parallel string to the fretboard, the pressure on the fingers is reduced, thus mitigating the chances of buzzing while playing. Along with it, if you have parallel strings to your fretboard, you will be able to play longer with no issues faced.

So, if you want to enjoy pure guitar sound with minimum issues, we suggest you have parallel strings to the fretboard. This is the best possible way to enjoy music with no negligible issues.

2- Helps the guitarist practice with ease

Initially, as a guitarist, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to play longer than half an hour. This is because of your weak fingertips. We know very well that we have to play the guitar with the help of our fingertips, and this is one of the most sensitive parts of our body.

So, when we press strings against the fretboard using our fingertips, they start hurting. Along with it, if you own a local or beginner guitar, things are going to be tougher for you. A beginner guitar has quite a high action when compared to a regular guitar.

So, as a beginner, if you are using a guitar with high action, it will be a hard nut to crack. So, this is why most professional guitarists suggest you have parallel strings to your fretboard. With parallel strings, the distance between the strings and the fretboard is reduced; thus, you will face no issues while playing the guitar.

3- Offers ease while playing fingerstyle

Fingerstyle is one of the hardest formats of the guitar. Here, you have to move both your hands so quickly that the rhythm does not break. However, this will be hard to do when you have no parallel strings to the fretboard.

A fingerstyle guitarist will only be able to perform well when a low-action guitar with parallel strings to fretboard is available. Doing fingerstyle on a high-action guitar will be hell of a task, and even if you are a professional, you will not be able to perform for a longer duration.

So, if you are someone who prefers to play fingerstyle guitar, then we suggest you get a guitar with strings parallel to the fretboard. It will offer you the ease of playing, and the sound created will be better than always.

4- Assist in chord shifting

Chord shifting is what every guitarist needs to master to become a good musician. For smooth chord shifting, you need such guitars whose strings work on even a minor touch of your finger. And this is only possible if you have a guitar with parallel strings to the fretboard.

No matter how great a musician you are, if you have a high-action guitar, it will be hard to shift chords. This is why when you are going to shift from chord G to chord F; you will need a low action and parallel string guitar to make it smooth and impressive. Therefore, if you want to have full control over your guitar, ensure that it has parallel strings to the fretboard.

5- Let you play for a long duration.

In our initial days of learning guitar, our fingers start to hurt just after a few minutes, and we are not able to continue. This is because our fingertips are sensitive to strings, and also, the guitar we use has no parallel strings to the fretboard.

So, if you want to play longer, even as a beginner, it is suggested to have parallel strings to the fretboard on your guitar. Not only will it help you play with ease, but it will also reduce the chances of buzzing or chord misplacement.

How to adjust the action of your guitar?

One of the main issues of your guitar is setting up its action. The action is what decides how parallel your guitar string is to the fretboard. So, if you have a high-action or low-action guitar, you will have nothing with an Allen key and proper neck adjustment knowledge.

Pick up the key and start rotating the truss rod slowly. It will allow you to increase or decrease the action of your guitar. However, if you have a guitar with no truss rod, there are alternatives to it too. For a guitar with no truss rod, you will have to remove the saddle or the bridge of that particular guitar.

Though this is a tough task, this is how you will be able to reduce or increase the action of your guitar. So, if you want to reduce the action, then simply decrease the height of your guitar saddle or the bridge. And, if you have a low-action guitar, then you will have to change the saddle or the bridge to offer your guitar a higher action. This is how you will be able to adjust the action of your guitar.

How far should guitar strings be from the fretboard?

Well, this is something that depends entirely on the person playing the guitar. Some of us prefer to have a low-action guitar, and there are some who love to have a high-action guitar. However, if you want to know the average or standard action for a guitar, then it must be 1.6 mm or 0.06 inches.

This is what we call the standard action for any good guitar. But, if you are not comfortable with this height of your guitar strings, you can easily reduce or increase it with the help of an Allen key and truss rod. All in all, the height of your guitar strings will depend entirely on the player.

Why Does playing the guitar hurt your fingers?

There is no hard and fast rule on why playing guitar hurts your fingers. Any guitar is played with the help of your fingertips, and this is why you get hurt when you start to play the guitar. Most of the guitar strings are made up of stainless steel, and it continuously puts pressure on your fingertips, eventually affecting the upper skin.

Also, in beginner guitars, the action is a bit high, so when you try to press the strings against the fretboard, they try to return back to their actual position, and this creates extra force on your skin. However, if you are a professional, the strings will not affect you any longer. The continuous practice of guitar hardens the tips of your fingers, and they no longer feel the pain caused by the strings of your guitar.

So, if you want to avoid the pain caused by the strings of your guitar, you will have to play your guitar so much that the tips of your fingers become hard, and the strings aren’t able to affect them any longer.

Is it good to have a flat guitar neck?

Well, this is something that we will never suggest you have. An entirely flat neck is what every guitarist demands, but it must have a forward bow for easy playability. If you are new to the guitar world, you must be demanding a perfectly flat neck, but this is what will affect your playing.

So, always get a guitar with a flat neck and a forward bow. A flat neck without a forward bow will always create a buzzing sound that no one would love to have.

For those who do not know, a forward bow is a relief or a concave curve that improves the playability of the guitar. The relief or the forward bow creates a small space between the fretboard and the strings, reducing the chances of string buzzing. This relief is caused by the strings pulling the neck of the guitar towards the body.

So, if you need a guitar that looks amazing and produces impressive sound, then we will suggest you have a guitar with a flat neck and a forward bow. This is how you will be able to enjoy music at its best.

Conclusion

To conclude, we can finally say that the article has answered to its best whether guitar strings should be parallel to the fretboard or not. This is what most professional guitarists debate about, and most amateurs are confused about.

So, keeping all this in mind, we have concluded everything about the guitar having parallel strings to the fretboard. Above you will get everything that you need to know about a guitar’s fretboard and strings. However, if you need any additional information, let us know. We are just a single comment away from you. 

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