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Old 11-26-2012, 09:38 PM   #1
TommyGunn9999
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Question Proper Way to Set Intonation

I have always set my intonation by comparing my open string to fretting the 12th fret. I read recently something where someone was talking about comparing a harmonic at the 12th vs. fretting the 12th.

Which is more accurate? Are they the same?
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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The natural harmonic is how you're supposed to do it, but personally I prefer to compare the open note to the fretted note. In fact I pay little attention to the 12th; I test at the 9th and 15th frets. ''Proper'' people will tell you this is wrong, but it makes more sense from a practical, playing perspective. The harmonic thing comes from violin, double bass and other fretless instruments. With guitar you're going to fretting the notes far more often than you're playing natural harmonics, and just getting the 12th fret right is no good if the other frets each side are off. Hence, I go with fetted notes at the 9th and 15th frets and try to get a good average between them. You'll never get both totally right, but you can get the best balance so the intonation is more correct where you actually play, rather than just at the techncial halfway point.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
The natural harmonic is how you're supposed to do it, but personally I prefer to compare the open note to the fretted note. In fact I pay little attention to the 12th; I test at the 9th and 15th frets. ''Proper'' people will tell you this is wrong, but it makes more sense from a practical, playing perspective. The harmonic thing comes from violin, double bass and other fretless instruments. With guitar you're going to fretting the notes far more often than you're playing natural harmonics, and just getting the 12th fret right is no good if the other frets each side are off. Hence, I go with fetted notes at the 9th and 15th frets and try to get a good average between them. You'll never get both totally right, but you can get the best balance so the intonation is more correct where you actually play, rather than just at the techncial halfway point.

The happy medium IS the 12th fret harmonic because it ensures that all notes are slightly off, rather than some notes are closer and others are further off.

Basically, tuning to any other harmonic than the 12th and 24th fret makes no sense to me. But I guess if it works for you, then more power to you

Last edited by W4RP1G : 11-26-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:17 PM   #4
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I though you did the open and 12 so the notes in between and after are equally off.

Like if it's your low E string your open and 12 both E's will be tuned together but that makes the F notes 1 and 13 fret equally off and thus still tuned together.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:28 PM   #5
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I recommend everyone watch this 3 part video series. This guy does a great job of explaining how a fretted instrument works, and why some methods for tuning are better than others.

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
I recommend everyone watch this 3 part video series. This guy does a great job of explaining how a fretted instrument works, and why some methods for tuning are better than others.


Random people on the internet giving me homework.

I'll watch it later.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
Random people on the internet giving me homework.

I'll watch it later.

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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Tomorrow k? I'll watch it tomorrow when the information can actually be applied in the real world. Had a bad day guitar wise. Don't want to talk about it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
Tomorrow k? I'll watch it tomorrow when the information can actually be applied in the real world. Had a bad day guitar wise. Don't want to talk about it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:54 PM   #10
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Well I go with Dan Erlewine's recommended method. He's got enough experience and weight in the industry for me. Open note and fretted 12th and if you use a really accurate tuner (ie strobe) it's as close as you'll get without compensating systems like earvanna or Buzz Feiten.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
The happy medium IS the 12th fret harmonic because it ensures that all notes are slightly off, rather than some notes are closer and others are further off.

Basically, tuning to any other harmonic than the 12th and 24th fret makes no sense to me. But I guess if it works for you, then more power to you
I use different frets because it's so rare that I'll use the 6th string above the 9th fret and typically for the higher strings it's the higher frets that matter more. So I started off basing my intonation adjustments on different parts of the fretboard for different strings, then due to lazinass began doing both slightly higher and slightly lower frets and averaging it out. I simply find I get better-sounding results than if I only check the 12th fret. Yo're never going to intonation perfect on every fret of any fretted instrument anyway, so why not perfect the portion you'll actually use instead of an arbitrary point?
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
I use different frets because it's so rare that I'll use the 6th string above the 9th fret and typically for the higher strings it's the higher frets that matter more. So I started off basing my intonation adjustments on different parts of the fretboard for different strings, then due to lazinass began doing both slightly higher and slightly lower frets and averaging it out. I simply find I get better-sounding results than if I only check the 12th fret. Yo're never going to intonation perfect on every fret of any fretted instrument anyway, so why not perfect the portion you'll actually use instead of an arbitrary point?

Fair enough. I don't think I could ever do that since I'm pretty much all over the place, but like I said, if it works for you then that's what matters.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
I recommend everyone watch this 3 part video series. This guy does a great job of explaining how a fretted instrument works, and why some methods for tuning are better than others.



Great video. I must admit I have been victim on the 4th fret harmonic tuning. I am about to watch the rest of them.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
The natural the 12th fret right is no good if the other frets each side are off. Hence.

What that means is that the neck wants using as firewood.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenG
Well I go with Dan Erlewine's recommended method. He's got enough experience and weight in the industry for me. Open note and fretted 12th and if you use a really accurate tuner (ie strobe) it's as close as you'll get without compensating systems like earvanna or Buzz Feiten.

The string height height/neck relief need setting prior to doing the intonation.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by John Swift
The string height height/neck relief need setting prior to doing the intonation.

Of course! Also any nut adjustments (slot depth). All in Dan's book(s).
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