How to Make Your Acoustic Guitar Sound Better

Unlock the true potential of your acoustic guitar with our easy-to-follow guide. Our expert tips will help you achieve a richer, more captivating sound.

Let’s look at all the ways to improve your acoustic guitar tone.

Change Your Acoustic Guitar Strings

By changing your acoustic guitar strings, you can greatly improve the sound of your instrument. Learning how to do it is an important skill that will definitely make a difference.

You should change your guitar strings:

  • If you feel roughness when you touch the strings
  • If you see spots on the strings
  • If you have tuning issues
  • If the tone sounds dull
  • If you haven’t changed your strings recently

Choose The Right Strings For Your Acoustic Guitar

Choosing the right guitar strings for your acoustic guitar is essential for achieving the perfect sound.

With this type of guitar, you can use a variety of string materials, each with its own tonal characteristics:

  • Steel: Steel strings are the most popular choice and are commonly used in many acoustic tracks.
  • Nylon: Also known as classical strings, they are used primarily for playing classical music.
  • Bronze: Known for their bright and lively tones, bronze strings have good corrosion resistance.
  • Phosphor Bronze: These strings produce a natural tone with less brightness than bronze, and they are more corrosion-resistant.

Changing your strings regularly and stretching them properly before tuning can also have a considerable impact on the tone.

Tune Your Acoustic Guitar

Mastering acoustic guitar tuning is essential in getting your desired sound.

The most common and easiest method is using an electronic tuner, which offers precise and accurate tuning for your strings, making it particularly suitable for beginners.

Alternatively, tuning your guitar by ear is possible, but it demands more skill and practice to get it spot on.

Keep in mind that even with a perfectly tuned instrument, other factors like string type and pick-up settings can influence your guitar’s sound when aiming for the ideal tone.

Check Your Acoustic Guitar’s Intonation

Make sure your guitar’s intonation is on point. Intonation refers to how well each string is in tune with the others.

You can use an electronic tuner or a tuning fork to check if the intonation needs adjustment.

Keep in mind that this process requires gentle handling, patience, and careful attention to detail to get the best results.

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Choose the Right Pick For Your Acoustic Guitar

The type of pick you use can significantly influence your guitar’s tone and your playing comfort. Here are some factors to consider:

The Pick Thickness

Thinner picks are generally preferred for acoustic guitars, as they offer more control and produce a brighter tone. Heavier picks can add volume to the bass and mid-range tones, providing a powerful, booming sound. Experiment with different thicknesses to find the one that suits your playing style and desired tone.

The Pick Shape

Different pick shapes cater to specific playing styles. Rounded picks are excellent for strumming, while pointier picks are ideal for playing single notes and solos. Choosing the right shape can enhance your playing experience.

The Pick Material

The pick’s material also affects the tone.

  • Nylon picks offer a vintage feel and various tones depending on thickness.
  • Celluloid picks provide a snappy tone with lots of high-end frequencies.
  • Wood and metal picks produce unique and more aggressive tones, but they may be challenging for beginners.

I just remembered an interesting fact about guitar picks – in ancient times, picks were crafted from materials like porcupine quills and fragments of turtle shells.

Upgrade Your Acoustic Guitar Nut

The nut is critical to your guitar’s tone, affecting the sustain and overall sound quality. Consider upgrading the nut to enhance your guitar’s tone. Some popular nut materials and their properties include:

  • Bone Nut: Offers excellent tuning stability, reliability, and resonance.
  • Graphite (Tusq) Nut: Provides low friction against the strings, resulting in extended string life and great tuning stability.
  • Brass Nut: Known for extreme durability and low maintenance requirements.
  • Ebony Nut: Offers a warm tone and a unique appearance, but may be less durable than other materials.

Upgrade Your Acoustic Guitar Bridge Saddle

The bridge saddle also impacts your guitar’s sound. The shape of the saddle affects intonation and the tone of each note you play.

Also, the guitar bridge wears out over time and needs to be replaced.

Upgrade Your Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins

Upgrading the bridge pins to bone or ivory can have a small but noticeable effect on your guitar’s tone. Properly fitting bridge pins can also contribute to a more stable tone.

Fix Your Acoustic Guitar Action

The guitar action, referring to the space between the strings and the fretboard, plays a significant role in the ease of playing chords and notes on the guitar.

The ideal action height for an acoustic guitar is subjective and varies from player to player. Striking the perfect balance is crucial – high enough to prevent fret buzz yet low enough to maintain comfort and playability during your sessions.

That’s why it is important to know how to adjust the action on your acoustic guitar.

Check Your Acoustic Guitar Fret Buzz

Fret buzz, also known as string buzz, is the undesirable rattling sound that can happen when one or more guitar strings vibrate against another part of the guitar, typically a fret closer to the bridge.

This metallic rattle leads to a reduction in sustain and diminishes the overall sound quality. If you want to know how to fix it, check our article How to fix frett buzz on a guitar?

Upgrade Your Electro-Acoustic Guitar Pickups

For electro-acoustic guitars, upgrading the pickups can significantly improve your tone when playing through an amp, PA system, or interface. Different types of pickups include:

  • Magnetic Pickup: Similar to those used in electric guitars, they do not pick up the guitar’s body resonance, offering a more electric guitar-like sound.
  • Piezoelectric Pickup: These common pickups offer a brighter and more natural tone with a great dynamic range.
  • Internal Microphone: Provide the most natural sound but are prone to feedback and require professional installation.

Check Your Electro-Acoustic Guitar Electronics

For electro-acoustic guitars, ensure that the onboard preamp and pickup elements are in good condition.

If you’re experiencing strange noises when plugging your acoustic guitar into an amp, the issue might lie with the onboard preamp or the pickup element. Before diagnosing any electronic problems, start by installing a fresh battery – equivalent to putting on a new set of strings for electronics. A dying battery can cause various unusual sounds and result in poor tone if the preamp doesn’t receive sufficient power.

Once you’ve replaced the battery, rule out any amp or PA system issues by swapping amps and cables. If the problem persists, focus on the guitar. Check the under-saddle transducer by pulling the strings out of the bridge and tapping the saddle with a screwdriver while plugged in.

Listen for an even volume as you tap from side to side. The uneven output might indicate poor contact between the saddle and the transducer, which may require adjustment or replacement.

Additionally, be aware of other potential electronic issues, such as a faulty output jack or stripped pickup wiring.

Make sure all wires inside the body of the guitar are securely fastened to avoid buzzing caused by loose connections against the bracing and top material.

Improve Your Playing Skills

Improving the tone of your guitar is all about practicing and staying dedicated to enhancing your playing skills. Whether you learn from someone or teach yourself, the key is to focus on refining your playing techniques.

Listen closely to each note you play and aim to make them sound great. Try different finger placements, techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs, or even playing without a pick to improve how your notes sound.

By dedicating time and effort to master these techniques, you’ll unlock the best tones from your guitar. And remember, make sure your fingers are correctly positioned on the guitar for a better playing experience.

Make Sure the Humidity Is Right

Maintain the right humidity range (40-60%) for your guitar to prevent damage and maintain its best tone.

To achieve this, you can use different methods:

  • Use a humidifier or dehumidifier in your living space to control humidity levels.
  • Opt for a humidity-controlled guitar case to provide an ideal environment for your instrument.
  • Place your guitar in a plastic bag with silica gel packets to regulate moisture.
  • Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the room where you store your guitar.
  • Consider using an acoustic soundhole cover to minimize moisture buildup during extended playing sessions.
  • Invest in a quality hygrometer to accurately measure and monitor relative humidity levels, making necessary adjustments as required.

Clean Your Guitar

As you play your guitar over time, it’s normal for dirt and grime to build up, especially on the fretboard.

I always clean my guitar when changing the strings. By taking off all the strings at once and giving the fretboard a nice cleaning, you’ll not only make it look better but also improve how it feels to play. Plus, this simple practice can extend the life of your strings. 



By following these tips, you can significantly improve your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability. Remember that small adjustments and upgrades can make a big difference in how your guitar sounds.

Explore different options, experiment with various materials, and most importantly, keep practicing to bring out the best in your instrument.

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