I have had problems pressing the top e string down

I have had problems pressing the top e string down to the fretboard. It hurts my fingers....especially on frets one and two. I put a lighter gauge string on and it is easier to press.....but the notes played on the first two frets play sharp. To try to offset this I am having to tune the open e string down slightly. So when I play chords on first or second fret the sound ok...but playing chords with the top string open...it clashes a bit. Have to tune down open string about 10 cents.


  • manofgresleymanofgresley Posts: 137Member

    Hi Frankieabbott


    How long have you been playing?


    I think it's fare to say all beginners go through this stage, persevere and get your callouses, then all will be fine, don't practice for to long, but practice often, is the advise i would give.

  • FrankieabbottFrankieabbott Posts: 26Member

    Hello.....have been playing 14 months. Well, I say 14 months. I've had guitar 14 months but maybe haven't used it as often as I could have due to pain pressing top string. Its easier to play now.....albeit slightly out of tune!

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,704Member, Moderator
    edited August 2016

    My suspicion is that your guitar may not have been properly set up by the manufacturer nor double-checked by the shop that sold the guitar. I find all too often the slots in the nut have not been made deep enough and that makes fretting at the first fret extra hard and can contribute to out of tune open chords. It would be worth getting your guitar checked (by a shop's guitar tech. that you trust).

    A while back Jocko wrote a topic about how to do this yourself. It would be worth reading just to understand what is checked, how and why. It is expensive to get your own tools - albeit that you pay once and you will always have them.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Are you having lessons ?


    Sometimes it's worth a few to get you on track and have someone check that you're doing it right. 


    Good luck !

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    The combination of it being a problem pressing down the strings at frets 1 and 2 and of tuning / intonation problems does, as Lester comments, point very strongly towards a badly cut nut. If it's a lot more difficult pressing the strings down at frets 1 & 2 than say 5 and 6 then it points very strongly indeed to the nut being the culprit.


    I reckon at least 75% of the lower budget electric guitars I've had (and there's been a good few) have needed the nut filed down to get rid of this problem. It's not that uncommon for more expensive guitars to have some of these problems too unfortunately. I used to get really frustrated at those out of tune chords down near the headstock until I realised there was a solution.


    It's because cutting the nut just right involves skills of a human being and judgement being used. Two things that do not fit in with a production process done with a primary aim of minimising all possible costs. They just quickly stick the pre cut nut in there and do the next one and do as many as possible every hour.


    I ended up investing in a set of nut files and saved a load of cash in set up costs. Of course that is only a sensible route if using the files is well researched, the work is done with high caution, and very gradually, and that the files are eventually used on a fair number of guitars to make it cost effective.


    Hope you find a solution!

  • AndyjrAndyjr Posts: 659Member

    I agree with Lester.  It sounds like the nut is cut too high.  This results in difficulty pressing down the strings at the first few frets and, when they are pressed down, they stretch in the same way as bending strings.

    take it down to a local (proper) guitar shop to confirm and they should be able to fix it or give you a contact of some one who can.  It's an easy and quick job so shouldn't cost a lot.

    it will transform the feel and sound.

    btw. Easy way to check - pop a capo on fret one, check the tuning and see if that cures it.


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,704Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by Andyjr:

    btw. Easy way to check - pop a capo on fret one, check the tuning and see if that cures it. 


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