Guitar Frequency Range Chart – Every Important Frequency to Know

The fundamental range of the guitar spans between 82Hz and just under 400Hz. These are the frequencies where all of the open strings on the guitar exist between. Understanding what’s happening there and at each overtone section allows you to more effectively EQ your guitar, so let’s break down this guitar frequency range chart section by section.

Guitar Frequency Chart

guitar frequency range

Below 80Hz

As I alluded to in opening, the first practical frequency on guitar is 82Hz. As such, we can apply a high pass filter at 80Hz and know that we’re not getting rid of anything musical.

Use a relatively gentle EQ slope of either 12, 18, or 24dB/oct at 80Hz to clear out all the low end rumble, electrical noises, or any other unwanted noises in the case of a mic’d amplifier.

As I covered in my guitar EQ guide, we can actually put the high pass filter higher up to begin rolling off some fundamental frequencies, depending on the part, tone, and the context of the guitar in the overall mix:

electric guitar eq cheat sheet

A lot of times I’ll put a gentle slope of 12dB/oct at 150Hz to transparently soften the low end of my guitar. We sacrifice a bit of the low end of our guitar to create more space in the low end of the mix (see my low end mixing guide):

high pass electric guitar

I err on the side of going higher to 150Hz in busier mixes and in the case of distorted guitar (see my distorted guitar EQ guide) in particular.

Not only does this create space for the bass, the bass actually fills in what we take away from the guitar so the two compliment one another to create a solid low and mid tandem nicely.

Guitar String Frequencies

An instrument’s “fundamental” frequency range is where the most prominent frequencies exist when you play that instrument. In the case of the guitar, it’s the lowest frequencies associated with each string when played open in standard tuning, so let’s cover the guitar string frequencies now.

Open E Frequency

A guitar’s low open E resonates at 82Hz. Technically 82.41Hz, but we’ll round down for simplicity sake.

As I mentioned in my overview of the parts of a sound wave, this means the sound we hear when we pluck the open E string on a guitar is resonating at 82 cycles a second:

sound wave frequency

The low E on the guitar is an octave up or double the frequency from the low E on the bass guitar which is at 41Hz as I showed in my bass guitar frequency chart.

Open A Frequency

The A string frequency resonates at 110Hz. Go up an octave, fretting the A string at the 12th fret, and we effectively double the frequency at 220Hz.

Open D Frequency

The D string frequency resonates at 147Hz.

In a busier mix, I oftentimes filter up to 147Hz, albeit with a gentler slope of 12dB/oct.

Note that even if we’re using a high pass filter at 150Hz, we’re not completely erasing all trace of strings whose fundamentals are lower than that like the low E string at 82Hz.

Every note contains its fundamental as well as sounds which resonate octaves above it, not to mention the percussive sounds of the strings themselves.

So while we may be attenuating the impact the fundamental of those lower strings may have by high passing at 150Hz, we still get a lot of their tone and character.

Open G Frequency

The guitar’s open G resonates at 196Hz. Why does the G string always break first?

Open B Frequency

The B string when played open resonates at 247Hz. When it’s not the G string, it’s the B string.

Open E Frequency

Lastly, the high E string on guitar’s frequency is 330Hz.

Going an octave up, the 12th fret on this string is double that at 660Hz.

400Hz-600Hz (Boxy Overtones)

We begin to get into the first proper range of overtones, meaning an octave above our fundamental frequencies.

As I mentioned in my guide on cleaning up muddy mixes, the boxy kind of unflattering frequencies typically exist in that 500Hz region.

A small cut around 400Hz or so can help to create a little clarity.

600Hz-2kHz (Presence and Overtone Character)

The character of the guitar really asserts itself in those mids and upper mids between 600Hz-2kHz.

As I showed in the aforementioned electric guitar EQ guide, a small boost in this pocket can add presence to your electric guitar.

electric guitar 2k

If your tone is feeling flat, try a boost here to bring out some life and character in your tone.

2k-4k (Clarity Frequencies)

A small cut in the aforementioned 500Hz area can create some clarity by way of subtractive EQ, but if you’re not getting the clarity you want from low passing and cutting the mud, try a boost around 3k to add some clarity.

Be careful not to go too much higher as, depending on the recording and existing tone, you can bring out more harshness.

4k-6k (Sparkle or Harshness)

Distorted guitar can get notoriously hissy and harsh in the 4-6k range. I like to create a little cut here on distorted guitar ahead of a low pass filter.

That said, it’s not always a liability on guitar. There’s some sparkle here and transient character from the strings themselves on clean guitar which may sit well and help punch through in the mix. The main takeaway is to be mindful of potential harshness in this region on guitar (and check out my harsh mix fixes).

6-10k (Sizzle and Air)

Once we get above that 5k region, boosts here add a little top end bite on the strings to help the guitar assert itself without needing to worry about harshness.

If you want a little extra sizzle and subtle top end clarity, try a small high shelf at 8k.

Above 10k (Inaudible Frequencies)

There’s not a lot that we need above 10k on guitar. I won’t go so far as to say it’s completely inaudible, but generally speaking these frequencies are better suited for vocals, cymbals, synths, etc.

As you can see from my EQ guide, I actually typically low pass as low as 8k:

low pass electric guitar

It really just depends on what else you’ve got in the mix. As always, when it’s a busier mix with more tracks which are in demand of those higher frequencies or frequencies in general, I’m more aggressive with my EQ moves, particularly my low and high pass filters.

This is especially important in busier mixes when panning isn’t enough and you need to carve out frequency space from instruments which are forced to share nearby proximities in the stereo field (see my audio panning guide).

Now that we’ve dissected the guitar frequency range at length, make sure you ALSO know how to compress your electric guitar.

2 thoughts on “Guitar Frequency Range Chart – Every Important Frequency to Know”

  1. Pingback: Acoustic Guitar Frequency Range - The Complete Guide - Music Guy Mixing

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