Guitar makers set up their instruments according to their own specifications, and any guitar service technician can easily handle either a basic setup or a more customized setup to suit a seasoned player’s preferences and playing technique. The technician will check the guitar’s action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard), as well as the instrument’s neck relief. If a note on the 12th fret is out of tune, that indicates a flaw in either the manufacture or configuration of the guitar. It could be the case that our intonation is flat, sharp, or both simultaneously across the fretboard. On occasion, even if you’re perfectly intonated, the guitar can still sound slightly off. Particularly with older instruments. So if you are a newbie when it comes to setting the intonation of your guitar, hopefully, this article demystifies the process and gives you the courage to give it a go yourself. I record this information for reference while making adjustments. While the string composition affects its stiffness and density, the tension as well as the pitch are also affected that lead to intonation. That a d# is a d#, and a Bb is a Bb. This refers to the slight bowing intentionally created in the neck to set the action. First, you’ll want to tune your guitar as best as you can using a good quality tuner like the ones we have named above. On a traditional Fender Telecaster, there are only three-barrel saddles, and each one of these sets intonation for two strings. Checking an acoustic guitar intonation will require a strobe type tuner. To set intonation, you only need a few non-specialist tools you might already have around the house. For a clip-on headstock tuner, the TC Electronic Polytune Clip, the Planet Waves/ D’Addario NS Micro Tuner, or the Korg PC-2 Pitchclip2 are among the best we’ve used. Florentine Cutaway Grand Symphony Models Are Here! So following steps 1 to 4 above, we check intonation with the harmonic note at the 12th fret is in tune for each string. Optionally, we might want to keep a check on string height while we’re making our adjustments. You can preset the basic intonation of your guitar by taking a tape measure and measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the 12th fret (the fret wire itself; not the fingerboard). It can be controlled by tightening or loosening the truss rod, which is located in the neck. When correcting poor intonation on an acoustic guitar I use an electronic tuner to evaluate the strings tuning at the 12th fret. The tools are a screwdriver, and depending on the guitar you have, this could be either a flathead or a Phillips Screwdriver. When you play alone, it’s hard to find a frame of reference for intonation issues that your guitar may have. To set intonation, locate the screw that allows you to change the position of the saddle. 32nds or 64ths of a turn if it is your first time adjusting the saddle. You should be turning the screw by tiny fractions each time. Take the guitar to a luthier. Testing a guitar’s intonation, and therefore the guitar quality, is actually quite simple. Typically, proper acoustic guitar intonation begins with a full setup, along with a fresh set of strings. You’ll find the screw to adjust between the two strings. Since there are so many variables, we recommend that players change their strings before consulting a service technician to adjust their intonation, since guitar strings naturally lose some elasticity with time and wear. Explore our in-house publication in a new digital experience. The action of an acoustic guitar is slightly different from the action of an electric guitar in that the strings of an acoustic need more space to vibrate. Guitar Frets: How do I properly clean and polish my frets to a mirror finish? If your intonation is off, so are the chords. Double that measurement to find the scale length of your guitar. However, you can’t always get things exact. To check intonation you will need an electronic tuner. Essentially, the technician is trying to get everything right before actually adjusting the acoustic guitar’s intonation. X-bracing, by virtue of its design, creates disorderly zones of vibration in the top that cause clashing sound waves (think of choppy sea conditions). To test the intonation of a guitar, use a tuner-app. Once that’s done, press down the note at the 12th and compare with the harmonic. But the design accomplishes another impressive feat: It largely resolves an acoustic guitar’s natural intonation imperfections. You can tell when your intonation is out if an open string harmonic at the 12th fret (lightly touch string at the 12th fret and pluck it) and the fretted note one octave higher (hold the string down at the 12th fret and pluck it) are not the same. From there, they’ll usually address the nut and saddle, where the strings stretch over a piece of bone, plastic or other synthetic material. How do I hand sand my guitar body properly before I apply paint? First, you’ll want to tune your guitar as best as you can using a good quality tuner like the ones we have named above. How To Check Intonation on Your Guitar. For guitarists who record or play music live, intonation problems can ruin a recording session or a live performance. When the guitar is in tune according to the tuner, we’ll check that the harmonic note played at the 12th fret is in tune for each string. So when we are checking our intonation, we do not want octaves of any given notes to clash, wherever played along the neck. The technician will check the pitch of each string at the 12th fret to ensure that it’s in tune with the pitch of the open string. If you have questions about intonating your guitar, check with an authorized Taylor service technician or call our Customer Service department. It can be controlled by tightening or loosening the truss rod, which is … There are only a few tools that you will need in order to set the intonation on your guitar. Learn more about V-Class bracing and how it solves intonation issues here. Only after any issues that can contribute to poor intonation are corrected do I … This article aims to try to shed some light on what causes intonation issues and how we prevent them, and most importantly, how we fix them when they do occur. Most acoustic players take their guitars to a qualified guitar technician when they need their intonation adjusted. Once done, hold the note at the 12th fret and compare it with the harmonic. Something else to keep in mind is that the closer a string is to the frets, the less it needs to stretch since it doesn’t have as far to go. When a player tunes a guitar using an electronic guitar tuner, they do so by plucking the open (unfretted) strings. I play in a lot of open tunings, which usually involves using chords high on the neck. Barnsley, The intonation of your guitar can change over time, so it is important to regularly check your intonation as explained below. String slots that are cut flat, high-centered, or left too high, along with improper placement of the nut, will prevent a guitar from achieving good intonation. Intonation: How do I check and properly set the intonation on my own guitar? If the fretted note is sharp, the string needs to be lengthened. An acoustic with poor intonation will always sound out of tune. When the guitar is in tune according to the tuner, we’ll check that the harmonic note played at the 12th fret is in tune perfectly for each string. Without those clashing waves, those slightly dissonant chords sound clearer with more harmonic agreement, and without the sourness that can be heard with certain voicings. We experience that chaos as dissonance, the beating or wavering sound that occurs when you play a chord voicing that the acoustic guitar isn’t built to reproduce accurately. So to properly check intonation, follow these steps: 1. If the fretted note is sharp, move the saddle backward (away from the neck); if the fretted note is flat, move the saddle forward.
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