How to Set the Intonation on a Guitar

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Guitars and basses will be difficult to play well unless they are set up properly. You may own a Fender or Gibson but can never get it to sound tuned in when fretting different chords. The point is - even quality instruments will sound bad if they are not set up properly.

Steps

  1. Tune the guitar as close as you can get it.
  2. Starting on the bottom string, fret the 12th note.
  3. Fret the harmonic at the same position. If the pitch of the harmonic sounds the same as the fretted note, then that string is ok.
  4. If the sounds are not the same, adjust the length of the string in order to re-calibrate its intonation. The pitch generated by the harmonic is the natural pitch for reference.
    • If the fretted note sounds lower than the harmonic, then the length of the string should be shortened. Move the saddle towards the headstock. Try one millimetre at a time.
    • If the fretted note sounds higher than the harmonic, then the string should be lengthened. This is achieved by moving the saddle in the opposite direction to the headstock, one millimetre at a time.
  5. Repeat this process with each string.

Tips

  • Using a digital tuner can help when comparing the harmonic with the fretted note.

Related wikiHows

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