Notes Sharp at the lower frets

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by LunarSlingShot, May 23, 2019.

  1. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    Hello everyone,

    I've noticed that particularly with my three highest pitch strings on my telecaster the fretted notes at the lower frets are sharp when the strings are tuned to pitch. At around the 1st through maybe the 4th or 5th frets the note is sharp when using my tuner. This makes some of my cowboy chords sound a bit odd.

    It is a partscaster and the neck I am using is from Warmoth. Is it possible that this is a nut issue? Possibly the nut slots are not cut deep enough? I pretty much just put the neck on the body, intonated the bridge and started playing it, never touching the nut.
     
  2. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. Nut slots.
     
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  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    Could be a nut issue. But could also just be, what one luthier years ago described to me as, "pilot error". Could be pressing too hard and/or fretting the string at such an angle that it is bending slightly. I find this happens more often when I pick up an electric after playing acoustic a lot for a while. More likely to happen at the lower frets, as the tension is higher closer to the nut (shorter distance = less slack). Try moving your finger tips around and changing pressure a bit to see if you can get it closer to pitch. If it's impossible, have a pro look at it.

    EDIT: I see it as this: Lower frets are wider to compensate for pitch changes closer to the nut. That also leaves more room for error.
     
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  4. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Holic

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    Nut slots being too high sounds like the culprit to me too.
     
  5. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

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    You need to intonate those strings with a good setup. The neck may/will need to be adjusted. I do these adjustments myself, and believe me most guitars will need additional adjustment after the last setup. When the intonation changes, it's usually due to additional neck relief, which may occur over time or with changes in string gauge.

    Get a setup….
     
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  6. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    What is the pitch at the 12th fret? Is it spot on. Sharp/flat? Did you stretch the strings?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  7. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Open string clearance over the first fret should be about .015".
     
  8. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    I guess the OP figured it out.
     
  9. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    He hasn't logged in since he posted (an hour and 20 minutes ago!). I'm guessing he posted before heading off to work and will check the thread later today.
     
  10. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Holic

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    o_Oo_Oo_O
     
  11. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Meister

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    This may or may not be relevant to this thread, but I've noticed with Fenders, I have to be more precise in how I fret the notes... i.e. I've got to be right next to the fret to get a clear, on-pitch note. I've attributed to the longer scale. It forces me to be less sloppy. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed this, too?

    I might also ask the OP if he uses thinner gauge strings.
     
  12. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    Yeah I have a day job and posted before I got to work.

    I’ll take a look at the string clearance at the first fret when I get home and document it.

    When I intonated the saddles the 12th fret pitch is pretty spot on. As close as I feel I can get from three saddles.
     
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  13. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    I use hybrid slinky’s. The higher pitch strings I believe are the ones they put in the 9 gauge packs and the lower 3 are from the 10 gauge packs
     
  14. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    I suggest you stretch the strings if you haven't because they won't keep tune until stretched properly. Then check your intonation again then very precisely fret the notes in question again. This may be easier on the bench as to not bend the string at all. Or use a capo. Move your posistion slightly on each fret and see if it makes a difference.
     
  15. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Holic

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    This! Make a video of yourself playing and see if you're accidently bending the strings. I did, and it looked awful.
     
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  16. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    I’ve stretched the strings already. I’ve been playing this set of strings, including soloing/bending for over a week now
     
  17. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Meister

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    Lots of guitars have this problem, even with a perfectly cut nut. Earvana nut is the best fix I have found. I have an LTD ec401 that came stock with one. It rings true and sweet.
     
  18. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    Bear in mind that no guitar can ever be perfectly in tune on every fret every string, and this is why people use "sweetened " tunings.
    I agree to check the nut as well. Like you've guess, if the slots are cut too high, it can make the first couple frets go sharp.
     
  19. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    This deal is a balancing act between nut height, intonation and neck relief. All three have to come together at the same time. It's called a setup.
    This is why i hate setups. Such a pain...
     
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  20. macatt

    macatt Tele-Holic

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    Even with a properly cut nut, I and many other experienced players will tune the strings that sound sharp when fingering 1st position chords just a little flat.
    That's usually the low 'E', the 'g' and to a lesser extent the 'b' strings.
    It's a compromise.

    S Mac
     
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