I have a baritone ukulele, which is basically a classical nylon-string guitar except missing the 2 bass strings.

I've noticed when I tune I can either have fretted notes in tune or open notes in tune but not both. I adjusted the truss rod and now the fretted notes are all within a few cents of each other but still all sharp of open.

Should I lower the bridge? I do feel the action is a bit high but I can't find anything online about how it will affect tuning/intonation....

It is like, a solid block and angled toward the fretboard, so sanding it down should increase the distance from the saddle to the nut, yes?

I am a beginner and so am hesitant to experiment...

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If all the fretted notes are in tune (pretty much) with each other, the problem is most likely at the nut, not the bridge. Either the strings are too high in the nut or the distance from the nut to the first fret is too great. But you probably should get a luthier to look at it.

  • I checked around what string height at the nut should be and it seems, according to what I can find, that mine is a half millimeter too high at least. So yeah I think this is the correct answer – jisaacstone Jan 8 at 6:32

With a high action, inevitably when strings are pressed down, there will be a slight stretching going on. This could be the cause of sharpness. Another could be that the intonation isn't good. Check that the 12th fret harmonic is exactly the same pitch as the fretted note there, hopefully without pressing too hard, which in itself has been a cause of sharpened pitches. I had a student who used that technique to produce vibrato - quite effectively.

Other answers have pointed to the high action and very well may be your particular problem, but I've noticed the same kind of symptom a few years ago on a telecaster that I'd purchased. I realized the frets were considerably larger than the ones on my strat, and when I pressed the strings down to the fret-board I was effectively stretching the string sharp. The large frets make string bending and vibrato much easier, but I had to get use to not pushing the string past the point of contact with the fret if I wanted to maintain accurate pitch. It took a little getting used to, but I like it just fine now.

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