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Keys to Tone Part 4.. Intonation.

Guitar Setup

Intonation is Key....

No matter how good your guitar "feels" if it always sound a bit out of tune, it will be very frustrating. Not only will it sound bad, there will be harmonics and overtones the simply will not be possible.

The Great Compromise

As we discussed in the preceding articles, on the Neck Relief, the String Height, and the Nut, we saw how key each of these adjustments were to your overall playability and to your overall tone. Since there is no right answer for what each of these measurements should be, understanding how they all work together is key to the final adjustment.... Intonation. Because we are in effect "pulling" the string from one note to another, the other measurements have a direct effect on each note played. If any of the other adjustments are set to an extreme, we may have trouble with intonation. This may not be apparent when playing open strings, or single notes, but when we play chords, we may sound out of tune.... Just remember, when choosing your personal specs for your setup, all the adjustments affect each other.

Setting Intonation...

The video below will go into greater detail and give you some pointers to make the task goe smoothly. The basic idea is this. After making your adjustments to the truss rod, String height, and checking the nut, do the following.... 1. Tune the guitar to pitch 2. Fret the note on the 12th fret. (just enough to make the note, don't press too hard) 3. With an accurate tuner, check that it matches the note of the open string. 4. if it is flat, move the saddle toward the nut. If it is sharp, move the saddle away from the nut. 5. Move in small increments tuning the string and rechecking between each adjustment. The video below will give you some more pointers and details.  

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