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High E string flat on 12th fret octave.

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Hi there,

I have a steel strung acoustic that I don't play that much, mainly because of one annoying feature. All the other strings are fine and stay in tune all the way up the neck to the 12th fret and higher. However, the high E string is flat in pitch even by the third fret. Whenever I play it I have to compromise by having the open E slightly sharp so that when I press it down higher up the neck it sounds at least somewhere near.

Question: Is there any remedy for this that I could tackle myself? It has a fixed bridge so I can't really move anything back or forwards. It seems strange that all the other 5 strings are fine.

Any ideas? Thanks, Gordon.

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What you're describing seems like a typical problem with fixed bridges - no matter how expensive or elegant the guitar, there will always be a compromise at some point along the neck.

I echo what Almaink and Allthumbs say in that you should bring it to a trusted tech who may be able to adjust the compromise so that it is dispersed more evenly across the neck and not as obvious at just that one point on the 12th fret.

Another possible solution might be to find out which strings and which gauge strings the guitar was shipped with in that the manufacturer may have set the intonation based on those particular strings.

Hope you're able to resolve the issue. Even though it's only that one point that is frustrating, I understand how knowing it's there can impede the pleasure of playing.

Best of luck!

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Thanks for the replies. I did in fact change the strings and put a slightly lighter set on. What seems weird to me is that it is just that one string, all the rest are fine.

I will take it to a guitar tech though. The only thing I could think of myself was to somehow adjust the position of the nut. This sits in a slight groove so even that would be a tricky one.

I'll get it to a shop and let you know how it goes.

Thanks, Gordon.

p.s. If your'e wondering why I bought it in the first place... Well, I did what I always recommend folks not to do. I ordered it on-line and I noticed it straight away but couldn't be bothered returning it. It seemed like a tiny problem at the time but as you say, it gets annoying after a while... I need to listen to my own advice sometimes it seems, ha, ha....

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If the nut is cut wrong the string will play sharp at the 12th fret, not flat, so that's not it. I've seen this problem only happen with a defective string. If the string is too weak it will play flat. This is common with the wound strings. I had a three pack of D'Adarios that all had bad A strings! When I put a Martin A string on the intonation was fine. I won't buy D'Adario acoustic strings any more.

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