I recently purchased the McCarty 594. My question is whether anyone else has had issues with the 'G' string going out of tune particularly on the 1st two frets and problems being able to intonate? Apologies if I'm missing the obvious.
Out of tune in the first couple frets likely mean the nut was cut a little too high. If you hold down the third fret there should be very little to no gap from the 1st fret to the strings. If there is a more significant gap and you can “bounce” the string onto the fret then the slot wasn’t cut deep enough and will mean it won’t be in tune when playing first position chords
On every guitar I have owned and currently own, the first couple of frets on the third string can always go slightly sharp....even when the guitar is perfectly intonated.
I've noticed that it is basically attributed to how heavy handed I am when gripping the board and also my finger placement. If I grip too hard, it goes waaaay sharp. Also, the closer I can get my finger to the fret, the better the intonation is.
I've learned to condition my grip and adjust while playing if I need to, both in practice and live performance situations. It hasn't been much of an issue for me once I figured out what was causing it. It drove me nuts until then, though...
Of course, this is just me....your guitar may also be suffering from a setup issue, which any competent guitar tech should be able to remedy. A combination of both heavy grip and a setup issue, that could really take the wind out of the sails.
To echo other points, this can be caused by several factors:
- Old strings
- Nut cut too high
- Gripping the neck too hard
- Intonation issues at the bridge
To isolate the problem, get a fresh set of strings. If this is happening on the factory installed strings, they might have gotten flabby from age. The rest is remedied by setup adjustments. The grip thing might be from a badly cut nut, where you feel like you need a lot of pressure to fret up there.
If you want to check yourself, buy a cheap set of feeler gauges. At the first fret, and it's subjective, but I usually recommend.020" -.025" between the bottom of a string and the top of the first fret. If it's more than that, the nut needs a recut. You don't need to replace it, just a simple recut.
I will toss this in:
The G as the thickest/stiffest of the unwounds is most susceptible to going sharp. I have seen this same issue on numerous guitars. I put a wound 3rd in and it largely resolves it. But, as others have said, verify your nut slot is not too high and make sure it is lined with graphite or some other product so the string isn’t binding. I picked up 25 guitars today looking for a new daily - 24 of them did this exact same thing. Last, if you are coming from acoustic land, you probably need to relax your grip a bit. Touch is important. Cheers!
(P.S. If you haven’t filed a nut slot don’t even think about doing it if you haven’t spent a bunch of time reading up and watching how it’s done, buying a replacement nut for the one you will screw up, and have a proper set of nut files).