Sympathetic Vibration on Open String

When I play A note 2nd fret 3rd string, my fifth string open A also sounds. Is that supposed to happen? Stupid question, but I just bought a new classical guitar and am teaching myself; so I'm a bit ignorant. Thanks


Hi, katnipj--

You are experiencing what is known as "Sympathetic Vibration". This happens when vibrations from one string are the same frequency )or a harmonic multiple of that frequency) as another string. Thus, the "A" on the 3rd string, second fret will have vibrations which are a harmonic multiple of the vibrations from the open 5th string.

This is a normal occurrence. You can eliminate it by dampening the 5th string slightly with a finger, or you can make use of it and allow it to add additional resonance to your tone--it depends on the situation.

Most likely when you are playing a song, the vibration will be less noticeable than when you just strike the one note in isolation.

If you are teaching yourself, why not try our Absolutely Free Guitar Lessons?

Best Wishes,

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Aug 10, 2009
Thank you
by: Alice

I had a feeling it was normal, since in the process of playing it sounded like a fine addition. Thanks so much for the fast response.

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