Plectrum Clicks

Hi, this is my first post in here and I’m new to audacity as well.

I was looking for a post on this but the search results werent helping -

My plectrum when I record with my guitar makes a clicking noise. Now, obviously from now on I try not to strum anywhere close to the pick-ups but I have this specific track that I would like to keep but get rid of these annoying pick-attack noises.

Noise removal doesn’t really help, even when I isolate the sound. It seems that each click is different because it’s embedded within the frequency of the strum.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

  • Yarden

Like those annoying fret slide squeaks? I don’t think we can get rid of those, either.

The definition of “noise” as in Noise Reduction, is an undesirable sound that stays the same through the whole show. Air conditioning whine, microphone hum. That’s why Noise Reduction didn’t work. Another reason is each pluck is slightly different, like trying to get rid of each snowflake that looks exactly like this one.


If it’s just the occasional click you may be able to fix it by careful editing, but if there are lots of clicks throughout the recording then that will take forever.
If you upload a short sample you may get some more specific suggestions.

Thanks for the replies, people. What sort of file should I upload, a simple MP3 or an audacity file?

  • Yarden

Upload a short section as either WAV or FLAC.
(Maximum file size is about 1 or 2 MB)

Here we go. Note the clicks at the beginning of each note.

If you look carefully (zoomed in both vertically and horizontally) you can see three little wiggles in the waveform where the plectrum click is.
I don’t know of any way to automatically remove the clicks, but you could delete them then use the “Repair” effect to smooth the edit boundary.
Tip: You only need to select the “Repair” effect once. After that you can use Ctrl+R to Repeat the effect.

It will be time consuming to go through every click, but here’s a before/after.

Brilliant, thank you very much. Though, what’s that beep in the middle of the track?

The sound before the beep is your original recording. The sound after the beep has had the plectrum clicks edited out. The beep indicates that one version has finished and the next version is about to start.

Brian Davies “Click Repair” does a pretty good job of removing the clicks automatically. I just used the default setting for 78 rpm records, but I am sure you could experiment with other settings to improve on the results.

That’s pretty impressive - the Audacity Click Removal hardly touches them.

I’ve just had a go with “Gnome Wave Cleaner” (an open-source sound restoration program for Linux) and with a bit of fiddling that also did a pretty good job.

In this sample I used Declick Preferences of
Weak Click detection = 1.0 (default 1.0)
Strong Click detection = 1.0 (default 0.75)
Use FFT Click Detection = Off/not selected (default = On/selected)

I then ran “Big Click” removal followed by “Small Click” removal.
I quite like this version as you can still hear the plectrum but it has had the nasty clicky edge taken off.

I’m not sure if it’s appropriate as a feature request, but it would be great to see Gnome Wave Cleaner made into a plug-in for Audacity (though perhaps not so great for Brian).

But as you point out Steve GWC is a Linux only piece of s/w - not so great for those of us runnining Windows PCs or MACs. And AFAIK (but please correct me if I am wrong) there is no longer any support for or maintenance of GWC. :confused:

So for now I certainly will be sticking with Brian’s excellent ClickRepair - one of the great things about buying from Brian is that he does not charge you for any future updates (and he makes many) once you have purchased his software. :slight_smile:


GWC (as it stands) is a Linux application, but the algorithms that it uses are not platform specific.
There was some correspondence with the developer of GWC on the audacity-devel list quite recently. He’s not wanting to become an Audacity developer in the sense of
actually compiling the code, but says he would be very happy to help someone understand the basic algorithms used by GWC.