I am a bass player for over 35 years. Also play guitar. I have worked on my own electrics, setting intonation, etc. I have an acoustic. When I tune it, the low E, fretted at the 2nd 3rd frets are sharp. I checked on a tuner. Do I need to lower the nut where the E passes. Thanks in advance.

  • I always have to make compromises when tuning the E string, if the open E is well tuned , the F# and G are sharp. It is like Tim says. But as an experienced Bass player you will know if the neck is bent or you are pressing not quite straight the strings. Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Depends on several factors. If the action is high, pressing a string anywhere will sharpen its pitch due to it being stretched. It will show up more at the lower notes. That high action could be due to the nut being too high, or the neck relief being too great, or the bridge being too tall. Or all of these.

Old strings sometimes do strange things, so a change may be all it needs. Tuners sometimes need a second to settle, and often show sharp initially.

The intonation could be way out on only that low E string. Check it's good using 12th and 19th fret harmonics. Last ditch effort - it may be a duff guitar, so take it to a luthier for checking.

  • Ok. I know the intonation is sharp for the most part. It's not an expensive guitar. That E just sticks out to me when I play a G chord. Thanks for all your input.
    – Stubby
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 10:45
  • In that case I'd try to move the saddle for bottom E string away, making it longer. A 12th fret harmonic/fretted note check will help determine.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 12:26

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