Originally posted by Kelby
It sounds like an intonation problem, which means that the sadlles on the bridge need to be moved backwards or forwards.
To correct intonation, first make sure each string is in tune when open. Once the open string is accurately tuned, fret that string at the 12th fret. If that note is sharp when played at the 12th fret, you need to move the saddle on that string further away from the neck. If the note is flat, you need to move the saddle closer to the neck. A little adjustment goes a long way. Once you have adjusted the saddle, retune the string when open, play it again at the 12th fret, and continue to adjust until it is in tone both when open and when played at the 12th fret. Repeat on the other strings.
You may want to pick up the Guitar Player Repair Guide by Dan Erlewine. It's an excellent guide to guitar setups.
This is not quite right. You tune the open string, and then compare the 12th fret harmonic to the twelfth fret fretted note. The other issue is you will never get this accurate with a digital tuner, as they are not accurate enough. A digital tuner is usually only accurate to within two or three cents. In order to get intonation right, you must be within less than 1/2 a cent. The only tuners accurate enough for intonation are strobe tuners, which are quite expensive. The best thing to do is to spend the 60 bucks to get the set up done right at a good repair shop. Aside from having all of the right tools, we have the experience. My shop does over 2000 guitars a year, and almost all of them require set ups. That's about 500 set ups a year for each of our employees, which gives us a level of skill you can not get any other way. Get it done right.
Danís book is excellent though. He is a good guy who comes up with some great tools for the trade.
"Cowards can never be moral."
"It's not about who killed my son, it's about what's killing our children."