Sharp notes after 2nd Fret

is it a phantom problem or fixable?

  • phantom

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • fixable

    Votes: 11 78.6%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Strat-Talk Member
Jan 18, 2022
Ok... so this problem has been going on since i had this taken to a luthier to do some work (new bridge, tuners, and some wiring work that i did that i now needed the guitar set up correctly). This guy was the "strat" guy. He did a set up and adjust neck and fixed my bone nut. but I CANNOT use a capo at all pulls everything super sharp and if i play naturally without a capo its still sharp. G chord is 10-25 cents sharp. SOOO....i did my own intonation and it was perfectly in tune. except the 2nd fret and more play sharp. its insane. i feel insane.

Took it to another tech who found more issues. Neck was not properly done. needed new frets. so he did the work. plays better. but still playing sharp and still cannot use a capo at all. recording i can hear the random notes playing sharp and its very aggravating. i still feel insane.

What is wrong with my guitar!?

If this guitar wasn't super special to me, i would have threw it in the trash already. PLEASE HELP ME!

it is a 1999 fender strat MIM.


Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
Gravity Falls, USA
The average Capo does not do well on electrics due to pressure from the capo, and the thin strings on the guitar. Sometimes the radius also gives issues.

Wear that capo out until it’s looser, or find an adjustable one, and it should work unless you have other issues going on.
I play with capo all the time, but my Kyser type has a lot of the pressure taken off over years.

a regular strong capo on a Strat with 9s is going to pull sharp most of the time. I know the struggle. The capo is usually the problem/answer. It’s like pressing down super hard, gonna pull it sharp

also, if you put 12s on it, it may get better. But I’m not going to do that.
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Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
Altered States
Taller frets, if you have them, will pull sharper. You can put the capo right on the fret and it should help a lot but it can inhibit play too.

I've never tried, but I suppose you could put something just smidge shorter than the fret height behind the fret, under the strings, and clamp on that. As long as it's right behind the fret, the fret should still become your "nut". Pain in the butt to set up though.

Tell us more about the "plays sharp even without a capo". If you tune to a perfect setting open, then fret at 1, 2, 3 with the guitar flat on your lap, just pressing enough with your index finger to get a good sound... how many cents are they off?


Strat-Talk Member
Jan 18, 2022
without the capo-

on the low E string.
3rd fret G 10-15 cents sharp

is my ear too sensitive to the note?


Strat-Talk Member
Jan 18, 2022
Yes, something's off.

The distance between the top of the first fret and the string is where to look. A business card should clear it between the string and fret, but just barely.

A high nut causes sharp notes in the first five frets.
I’ll check this tomorrow