My Fender Squier Rock Band 3 Guitar and Controller often doesn't register when I pluck the thinner strings, especially the thinnest one (at the bottom of the guitar, but which produces the highest notes). I can't use my pick to pluck them, I have to do it by hand, and pluck very hard indeed.

Is something wrong? Is my guitar broken?


A helpful post from Reldan

I’ve been playing with mine all evening. There are three ways you may need to adjust the sensitivity for detecting plucks.

  1. Adjust the height of the pick-up. This is the boxy looking thing below the string near the bottom. There are a couple small phillips head screws on either side that let you adjust how close to the string the pick-up is. The farther away, the less sensitive.

  2. Adjust the height of the string themselves. Where the strings attach to the base are a pair of tiny hex-screws that match the small allen wrench included with the guitar. These adjust how high each individual string is. Again, the closer to the pick-up the more sensitive it will be.

  3. Inside the battery box are a couple of small phillips head screws holding in a thin plastic strip. Take these out and underneath are 6 gold potentiometers – one for each string. Loosen them (counter-clockwise) to increase sensitivity and tighten them (clockwise) to decrease sensitivity.

A combination of these adjustments has my guitar, which originally would barely register the G or high E, working fine.

  • 1
    I would definitely emphasize these, and I would check your string height first -- if they're consistently higher or lower than your pickup on one side, then adjust the pickup, otherwise adjust your individual strings. You want the strings to be about 1/16th of an inch from the pickup -- mine came from the factory anywhere from 2/16ths to 3/16ths and were detected much better after lowering them appropriately. I also recommend getting a variety of picks (they're cheap) and finding the one you like best -- but thinner picks are usually recommended for beginners. – Austin Mills Mar 16 '11 at 16:35
  • WARNING - adjusting the action (height of the strings) will screw up your intonation, causing the guitar to sound like crap. If you want the action lowered while preserving the intonation, you'll have to bring it to a luthier (aka a guitarsmith. Will probably run you about ~$50, more if you need the frets lowered too). You can of course attempt to do it yourself, but you need patience and a good ear, and if you mess with the truss-rod or the fret-height, you risk ruining your instrument. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 4 '11 at 1:52

I eventually figured out that it's the pick I was using. I was using a thicker, rubber-like pick that felt really nice to use, but apparently had too much give to it.

Switching to a cheaper-feeling pick that's really just a tiny little slice of plastic improved things tremendously. I went from not being able to trust my instrument to feeling completely in control.

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