Hello gang!

I made my first guitar, a reso, and I love it. It's got an amazing sound when open strumming, but once I put a finger on a string it sounds much more muted or dead and the sustain definitely disappears. I've never played guitar before, so I'm looking for advice about how to fix this. Specifically:

A) Are there hardware issues I can fiddle with that may be causing this? Is a higher or lower action, different nut/bridge, etc. going to change this specific issue? It sounds great (like, amazing) when open, so hardware alone being the problem seems unlikely. But maybe a higher action would make a difference and make the angle of my finger holding the string down greater, making it clearer and increasing sustain?

B) This seems more likely: I've never played guitar before (did play viola though) so is this simply a user error situation? It sounds muted whether I'm using my fingers or a slide, though certainly better with a slide. If there are beginner tips to getting a better sound with the finger down I would love to be pointed towards them.


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Some pics of your action or a video of the cbg in action would give more of an insight to your problem?

 Welcome, Christian.

The only thing I can think of that would instantly kill the note when fretting the string is putting that finger directly in the middle of the fret, making it so that the string is muted. One wants to put one's finger just above the fret, (The side of the headstock), and push the string to the wood.) If that makes any sense, good, (not sure it makes sense to me), if not, let me know and I'll try another approach. (You may already know this...)

There is a natural decrease in volume and sustain once a string is fretted. For reasons I don't understand fully, sustain and volume is effected by the open string being interrupted at a fret. Part of that is that there is less mass, (string) to vibrate. There may be someone with more understanding come along and address this more fully later.

Welcome aboard,

Oh, just one thing I forgot, higher action usually messes up intonation pulling the note sharp due to the string becoming more taut except for slide work.

Is this a fretted or un-fretted instrument?
Is it being played acoustically or amplified?
Is every string muted or just one or two?
Is the sound actually muted when you use a slide at the first fret position?

Like BrianQ said, a few photos would do much to let people try to help you solve this.

In my experience, my first build had a tall bridge and a low action nut which made a bike ramp look.  I did not know better then but the action sucked on it.  Low notes would play alright if not, discorded. But trying to play anything past the 12th fret was impossible. It will fizzle out and mute. I call that guitar "The Tragedy".  Hey, my first build.

Afterwards, I've maintained to keep the strings parallel from the fretboard. And its been ace ever since.  So my advice, is try and try again.

The "Tragedy" would be if you didn't fix it by installing an appropriate nut & bridge.  :)


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