I own three guitars--two acoustic, and one electric. I've been playing them for a while now, and every one of them has had the same problem: if I play a certain string (let's say the high E string, as it's the one that most commonly does this) the string may be in tune if I play it open, but as I proceed up the neck, the string gets flatter and flatter. So if I'm in tune with my E string when I play it open, at the 12th fret it will be way too flat. All three guitars have this problem on the high E string, one of them also has it on the B string, and the other has it on the low E string as well. However, the low E string is actually getting sharper as it proceeds up the neck. This problem is extremely annoying when I'm playing a song that goes up and down the neck because no matter what, I'll be out of tune. If I don't get an answer from this forum, then I'll take my guitars to the nearest music store, which is a couple of hours away, but I would prefer if there was some easy way to fix it. A couple of theories of mine are that perhaps there's something wrong with the bridge, or, even simpler, the strings are just getting old. (I haven't changed them for a while now-- a couple of months.) Any answers or suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Last edited by guitar_master19 at Sep 25, 2007,
Your intonation is out, and by the sounds of it, by alot, go to a nearby store and ask them to fix it.
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um yeah thats what guitars do is go out of tune the higher up you go up the neck,
one thing you could do is intonate(sorry for spelling)
the guitar and that would help out the electric
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Like the guy above said, its more than likely the intonation.

You can test this by hooking the guitars up to a tuner. If the harmonic on the 12th fret doesn't match the tuning of the open string, the intonation more than likley is out of whack. A guitar shop SHOULD fix it, but if you are really ambitious you can do it by reading up on it on the web.
Ya, your intonation is screwed. You need to take it in to a guitar shop anyway and get it fixed, thats the only option unless you fancy yourself a luthier and can do it on your own.
on an electric its pretty alright, you can do it yourself. On an acoustic take it to someone
Ok, it looks like I'm going to have to go to a guitar shop to fix them. Thanks for your help everyone; I just hope that the music store will be able to fix them. I looked up the basics of intonation on the internet, and I guess it might only be possible to intonate them if there are screws on the bridge allowing me to adjust the strings. I have the screws on my electric, but not my acoustic . Oh well, thanks for your help everyone.
it's just an intonation problem, and it's really easy to fix, you only need a tuner and an allen wrench

what guitars do you have?
Intonating an acoustic is more difficult than an electric because they generally have a fixed bridge saddle, while on an electric each saddle is adjustable. But, before you do anything, you said that the strings are old. Get new one's and start from there. Old strings can cause this issue too, but in smaller amounts. As the strings go dead over time, the intonation can go off as well. Once you have a new set on, let it rest for a day or two for the strings to settle in properly. Keep playing it in between and retuning as necessary. Then check your intonation with an electronic tuner. Each string when played open should match that string fretted at the 12th fret, neither flat or sharp. For the electric, move the saddle either forward or backward to compensate until they match. Remember to start from DEAD ON in tune with each string before adjusting the saddle, then retune once the adjustment has been made.
For acoustics, it's a bit more difficult and I don't want to go into it here as it'll take up a lot of space. But try new strings first, and match the gauge to the original set of strings if at all possible. That way you eliminate different string gauges causing the guitars to play out of tune, which can happen also. Good luck to ya.