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I have a Segovia backpacker guitar (Segovia is a Korean company; the guitar was made in China). The problem is that it doesn't play in tune very well--especially if I play up the neck.

The strings seem to be unusually sensitive to pressure; varying finger pressure makes a huge difference in the string's pitch, especially in the bass range. And using a capo makes the guitar sound really bad.

For clarity, if I push just hard enough to avoid string buzz while fingerpicking softly, the guitar sounds OK. But if I push hard enough to avoid buzz while strumming vigorously, the strings I'm fretting go considerably out of tune.

How can I fix this problem?

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  • This may sound obvious, but... is the guitar in tune? The strings may be in tune with each other, but if the guitar itself is below standard tuning (ie. the E-string is playing closer to a D), it screws up the intonation, especially on the bass strings. Apr 22, 2011 at 22:40

2 Answers 2

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It sounds like you must have either a high action or high frets, or possibly very low tension in the strings, for that amount of detuning to happen just from pressing the string. You should expect a note to go a little sharp as you push harder, but nothing significant.

If you have a very high action, you can try to lower it - I don't know the Segovia so some of the following may be irrelevant - by lowering the nut or the bridge, or by adjusting the truss rod.

But it sounds more like maybe you have overlarge frets - I would avise taking it along to a luthier to check and get first person advice.

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  • After comparing it with my dreadnought, it appears that I have high frets. I'll have to look around and see if I can find an English-speaking luthier around here. Or is there anything I can do myself?
    – Anonymous
    Apr 17, 2011 at 6:40
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3mm at the 12th fret. Acoustics can be tricky. Adjust the truss rod 1/4 turn at a time. Get you neck as straight as possible. If your buzzing and rattling at 3mm, at the 12th fret or any of your frets then you may need to file a few of your frets down. Maybe even all. Of course it slightly depends on what type of music that you play but over all. Nothing, nothing beats what awesome action, intonation will do for you. There's so much more to setting up an Acoustic than what I'm sending but its worth the education to learn these and perform this on any guitar you own, electric or acoustic. Plus, a big plus is LESS pressure to push the strings down to make a clear note/tone. FYI: If you haven't done this before then side note. Cover your wood if you file on your fretts. And watch as many videos as you can before even attempting this. I hope this helps and works as well for you as it did for me back in 1984. I have twenty one guitars, 12 and 6 strings. Electric and acoustic. I always use the lightest strings that will hold up to my aggressive picking and playing style. I use 8's to 12's It's completely what works best for the musicians. And incase I'm unable to respond to the other topic of tuning and htz. 432 V's 440 lmfao 🤣 I jam with a local band and I'm a bedroom bandit lol. So, that being said, it's a fkn pain in the ass tuning to proper tuning with proper htz as to play along with original recordings from artists. For example one band which you may or may not play is Metallica- I have to use 435 to 450 to achieve playing their first 7 albums. So from classical to country to metal im constantly changing my tuning. Totally a PIA. Yes i can get a digital setup that will change it for me through yhe peddle or software. That obviously depends on one's setup 😆 Good luck to you all

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