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Question about my acoustic.

6 Posts
5 Users
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 30
Topic starter  

Hey everybody, I've been goin unplugged lately and I noticed the higher up on the fretboard I get, especially with barre chords, the worse I sound.
SO I did a little test... Turned on the old chromatic tuner, and hit my open high e string. After making sure it was completely in tune, I played the twelfth fret on the e string, and lo and behold it was exactly in between an E and an Eb.
I did it with each fret, and the higher I go up the fretboard, the flatter the note becomes compared to the note it is supposed to be.
I'm just wondering, since I doubt this is normal and/or supposed to happen, is there anything I can do to correct it?


Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 174

I can't answer whether this is normal but I've noted that on my guitars (including a nice Gibson J45) that tuning the open string to dead-on puts fretted strings off by a little. If I use my tuner and tune for fretted strings the guitar seems to be better overall.

Am interested in hearing what real experts have to say.....

(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)

Alan Green
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5342

It's called Intonation. If your strings are fresh and in tune, and the problem's still there, unless you've got an adjustable bridge there's not going to be a lot you can do about it.

I've probably got this the wrong way round, but your string-length needs to be marginally shorter so that when you fret the string at the 12th fret you're stopping exactly half the length.


A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 30
Topic starter  

Hahahah thanks, I feel like an idiot

It must have been a year since I changed my strings hahaha... I finally switched on the set I got for Holiday and it's all working great.

I didn't know old strings could make such a difference, but thank you

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2736

New strings do make a difference...

Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 74

if not for intonation and sound then at least for the great feel that only new strings can bring!

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott