Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
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How to Set Intonation on Your Guitar
By Paul Benfort Harrison
Paul has picked up many new hobbies with dvd courses. You can learn them too. Check out his articles and websites to find out more!
Blog URL: blog.guitarplayerworld.com
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Intonation of a guitar can be explained as its capacity to play in tune throughout the entire length of the scale. If you notice that your guitar frequently plays out of tune in higher frets, it means that the instrument requires intonating in order to produce correct pitch at every frets. This process can be done by adjusting string length. Every guitarist should know how to set intonation.
Poor intonation can be caused by various factors such as wrong positioning of bridge or saddle,
high action or excessive pressure on the strings, damaged saddle, badly grooved or worn flat frets,
excessive neck relief, and poor quality of strings.
Changes in the string gauges or in the adjustments of neck relief can also result in the need for intonating the instrument. You may also have to reset the instrument when you change the parts like strings, gauges, bridges or saddles.
Here is a brief description on how to set intonation. Prior to resetting, do all other corrections like changing the strings, setting the height of strings, and adjusting the truss rod. You need a tuner, cable and a screwdriver to do the intonating.
The first step in this procedure is to hold the instrument in the playing position and tune it with the tuner. Play a harmonic note on 12th fret;
now fret the same string at the 12th fret. If it is sharper than the harmonic note, the strings need to be lengthened. Turn the saddle adjustment
screws clockwise to make the saddle move from the neck and thereby stretch the string.
These screws are located at the bottom of the bridge. Retune the guitar and repeat this procedure until you get the right octave. Then, intonate the next string to get the same result. If the note that you fretted remains flat, it means that you have to make adjustments to the string and shorten it by moving the saddle towards the neck. This time, rotate the saddle adjustment screws in the counter clockwise direction. Go through the process again and again until you get the proper octave. Repeat this on each string. Do not forget to retune after each adjustment.