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Scale Length Good, Pitch Bad

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The guitar I'm building right now has a 25.5" scale. Everything measures out right, but the notes still get sharper as I go up the neck.

What else affects pitch the way scale length does?

The strings I'm using to check are those crappy fender strings that cost like 4 or 5 dollars a pack. Could they be the problem?

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Still not accurate enough in the description of how you achieved the measurement..it should be 12.75" to the 12th fret from the fretboard side of the nut,and about 12.78" to the high E bridge saddle from the 12th fret,with about 2mm action at the 17th fret or so and increasing slightly at every saddle upwards until it is increased by about 3/16" at the low E..if you are using 9s...

Everything that varies from that will mean different compensation to reach proper intonation.

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  • 1 month later...

You may want to read up/buy a book on setting up a guitar. Setting intonation is basic, and understanding why you need string compensation (definintely at the body end, some folks compensate nuts as well - either a la Buzz Feiten patented method, or in general).

The 'basic' intonation guideline is to play a harmonic at twelfth and compare it to the fretted 12th fret note. The two should be pretty much identical. If your nut is too high that'll throw things off, in which case capo at 1st and do harmonic/fretted check at 13th. Any of Dan Erlewine's books are good for this, either the guitar player repair guide for an extensive bit-of-everything plus repairs approach, or 'How to make your electric guitar play great' for the 'light' version. You also need to use fresh-ish strings, although price shouldn't be an issue. I often use bulk Martin strings that cost a few bucks a set, and the quality's perfectly fine...

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