When I press down on my fretboard(let's say 50% pressure is lightly and 60% is normal or a little harder for example)with 50% pressure it sounds fine but if I put 60% pressure it sound completely different and if I go back and forth quickly from light pressing to fairly hard it sound like I'm bending the note but I'm not I'm just pressing down straight. I hope this makes sense. Does anybody know why?

1 Answer 1


This is probably caused by the frets being higher than normal, and possibly in combination with very light-gauge strings.

A higher fret allows more room for "downward travel" towards the fretboard. This basically allows you to "pull" on the string which alters the tension of the string, causing a pitch change. This is what the tuning machines do, and it is, essentially, a bend.

Light gauge strings are more susceptible to this. Most guitars do this, but usually one has to try to make it happen.

You can try changing to a heavier gauge, but if that does not help, it may be advisable to have a luthier take a look at the frets (fret dressing) and the setup.

  • 1
    Drove me mad when I moved from bass to guitar. Took me a long time to learn not to simply push every string sharp; I was just used to having to press harder to get a clean note.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 19:08
  • @Tetsujin I had exactly the same experience. The silver lining is that I had also been using too much tension on the bass, and this taught me to lighten up on both instruments. Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 0:10
  • 1
    It would have to be a special fret wire to be higher than normal. Fret wire crown height varies from .035 - .055. Vintage guitars that have had a number of fret dressings will be lower than new guitars. You can still get deflection on the lower frets, but the pitch change will be more on the higher frets. Many students think that they have to push the string against the fingerboard wood. Teaching to play with a lighter touch clears up the pitch bending. Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 0:19

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