#1
I've noticed something about intonation issues and the open A chord. I know that strings too high will cause notes to go sharp. What I've found, though is that this problem doesn't seem so noticeable on typical open cowboy chords (E, D, G, Am, etc.) but you hear it immediately on open A, which sounds way out of tune.

I've gotten to the point that on a new (to me) guitar, I tune the open strings, strum some open chords and listen to open A. If it sounds bad, time to start checking why the string height is too high. I know how to fix the string height problem and all my guitars are now fine in this regard. What I was wondering is why open A seems especially revealing of intonation issues caused by too much string height.
#2
There isn't much of a reason the 1st fret of the B string should be in tune, but the 2nd fret isn't. Unless the 2nd fret is so worn out that the crown has worn away, causing it to go slightly sharp.

Can you confirm that the 2nd fret of the B string is actually out of tune with an electronic tuner? How does it compare to the 1st fret of the same string?
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#3
Sorry if I wasn't clear. The intonation problems were due to strings being too high in general. In theory, all the open chords should have sounded "off". It's just that it seemed much more noticeable on an open A versus any other open chord. The other frets were just as out of tune as the ones needed for the open A.
#4
Intonation problems on open chords is usually the result of the nut being too high. There are a couple ways to go about fixing this but the best way does require some, rather expensive, nut files so unless you plan on adjusting action and intonation on a lot of guitar I would suggest taking it to a shop and getting a complete setup, including nut, saddle, and truss rod adjustments to make the action and intonation just right.
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#5
You don't need nut files to lower a nut, all you need to do is pop out the nut, sand down the side which glues to the fretboard until desired nut action is achieved then glue it back in.

Why you would go to a shop and pay a extortionate amount of money for a full setup when all that is needed is 10 minutes of work is beyond me.

Doing a set up is something every guitar player should know how to do, it's a piece of piss.
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#6
Intonation issues can also happen if you're working with a guitar with jumbo frets and you press down too hard on the strings (for example, pushing them all the way to the fretboard). A light touch and lower action usually prevents this -- you only need to touch the strings to the fret, not to the fretboard below it.
#7
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma

Why you would go to a shop and pay a extortionate amount of money for a full setup when all that is needed is 10 minutes of work is beyond me.

Doing a set up is something every guitar player should know how to do, it's a piece of piss.


The reason I say to use nut files or have a luthier do it is because most of the low to mid range guitars have slots that don't properly follow the contour of the fretboard. Rather than adjust each slot so that it is exactly the right height guitar companies tends to follow a "close enough" approach and then they overcompensate for the less accurate nut and fret work by leaving the nut too tall. This means that you can probably minimize the overcompensation by sanding from the bottom of the nut but you will most likely still have individual strings that are higher than they need to be which means intonation and playability can still be improved buy doing the job the right way and adjusting strings individually with nut files.
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#8
To me it is always open C. If my A string is going sharp on me and my B is less so... in combo with the open G being spot on, it turns my stomach.
#9
Quote by jds2
Sorry if I wasn't clear. The intonation problems were due to strings being too high in general. In theory, all the open chords should have sounded "off". It's just that it seemed much more noticeable on an open A versus any other open chord. The other frets were just as out of tune as the ones needed for the open A.


I am wondering if you are just pressing harder on that C# note, especially if you play the A Chord with a barre. Thus, it sharpens that C# which can be dissonant to the ear.

As has been said previously, each slot needs to be filed meticulously for the best result..
Last edited by julianjannetta at Mar 27, 2016,