This is more for electric-acoustics but...

should the onboard turner accurately represent the note being played for a particular fret?

For instance, if you hold down the first fret on the 6th string (bass E is 6th right?? ) should the onboard turner say F?

I'm testing each fret and so far finding that about 20% of them are off by a half step.

Is this a sign of a poor craftsmanship which will require repair/adjustments or is this normal for acoustics? I'm sure physics may have something to do with this, but damn it Jim I'm a doctor not a physicists!
If you're holding down the first fret on the 6th string and getting an F, the tuner is trying to tell you something - it's an F.

If you play all open notes, you should get EADGBE, from 6th down to 1st.

Which guitar are you writing about? What are you seeing displayed when you play that F? What do you see when you tune the open strings?

Edit: FWIW, it's a well known fact that the tuning on most guitars drifts as you fret notes. Your best bet is to use the tuner with open notes. Buzz Feiten, and others, have come up with systems to overcome this, however they require specialized guitar tuners.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Apr 12, 2012,
I don't know how the onboard tuner on your guitar works but in general yes, it should read the correct note on every fret. If it's up to a half step off on some frets then your guitar has some major intonation issues which may be the result of: A warped neck, a misplaced bridge, or improper fret spacing. A warp neck can be fixed with a truss rod adjustment. A misplaced bridge on an acoustic will probably need to be removed then re-glued in the proper position. If the frets are off then I'd just forget about the guitar.
Quote by chiefboo
This is more for electric-acoustics but...

should the onboard turner accurately represent the note being played for a particular fret?
Yes, absolutely! All the onboard tuners I've ever seen are "chromatic". This means they have the ability to measure and display all the notes of the chromatic scale. Back in the day there were tuners specifically for guitar tuning, which only would display the pitches of the six open strings. You don't see them much nowadays.

Quote by chiefboo
For instance, if you hold down the first fret on the 6th string (bass E is 6th right?? ) should the onboard turner say F?
Again anywhere you place your finger, the tuner should show the name of the note you're fretting.

Now, if your question involves you fretting an "F", but seeing an "F" being read as slightly sharped, read on.

When you fret a string, the pitch will generally pull slightly sharp. Three factors affect this. The gauge of the strings you're using, the height of the guitar's action, and the height of the frets themselves.

Thin strings sharp more easily than do medium strings.

These phenomena affect guitars that are perfectly constructed

However, as was mentioned above, improper construction, can exacerbate the problems.

It might help to know if the guitar in question is sixty buck saturday night special, or something decent we should be expecting more from.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 12, 2012,
There are usually minute differences as you move higher on the fretboard. It's kind of unavoidable unless you either have an impeccably crafted acoustic or a fanned-frets guitar. As long as your open strings are on the dot it shouldn't be all that big of a thing to worry about.
Thanks so much for the responses Caption Cranky and KG6. Monstermetal scared the crap out of me...

It's a Martin DCPA4. The first fret on the 6th string (bass e i mean) reads sharp and the first fret on the 1st string reads flat. Thing is as I was testing this at one point the first fret 6th string went from sharp to flat then to natural.

Is Monstor right? is this guitar messed up?

::EDIT::LOL @KG6... I"m not trying to turn my strings that way. I'm just wondering if this guitar is jacked or not cause it put a lot of money into it.
Last edited by chiefboo at Apr 12, 2012,
I kinda doubt if the guitar is "jacked" as you put it. Onboard tuners are inconsistent at best. Another thing is crosstalk and sympathetic resonance. When you strike an E, every possible E on the guitar resonates also, to one degree or another. the same with all other notes. Tuners tend to be too sensitive, and are thrown off by effects like this. Add to that, strings themselves tend to change pitch from attack to decay, particularly unwound strings. So, you can't tune the e-1 while the E-6 is ringing, (even if you can't hear it, you should mute it as you tune the other). And obviously, vice-versa. So, you fret an F and the E, or other open string might resonate causing "crosstalk" and throwing the tuner slightly off.

How does this guitar sound? Does it stay in tune? These are things that count more than anomalies in a jittery tuner.

Also, you might try a pedal tuner since this guitar is AE.

Another solution if you're truly bothered by this is to get another saddle, and grind the correct intonation into on a string by string basis. This is a limited return type of endeavor, not really a necessity, unless you're constantly playing at the 18th fret or so.

All other things being equal, a good guitar, once it's perfectly tuned, should actually play itself into tune, simply because of the perfect harmonic intervals that have been set.

If in the meantime, the temperature of the room changes by 20 degree, or the strings wear out, these outside forces might negate some of this effect.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 12, 2012,
Thanks again Captin.

I love the way it sounds. My last guitar was a Takamine EG5013S and I longed for the deep punchy sound of a dreadnaught.