randomguy2000
<3's ToppScore
Join date: Apr 2012
60 IQ
#1
Hey guys, a quick (probably noobish) question. How does one adjust intonation on a classical guitar? I don't have too many tools, so the simpler the better.
Thanks
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Bikewer
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
10 IQ
#2
Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot you can do, at least easily. Perhaps it's better if you describe what's going on, since what you think might be an intonation problem may not be.

Intonation (literally, "playing in tune") on a guitar is not a precision thing at best. The mechanical layout of the guitar and it's strings makes getting absolutely accurate intonation near impossible. Not that folks haven't tried....

So if your guitar is accurately made; if the frets are properly positioned and the saddle is properly positioned... Then it's going to be pretty close. With modern manufacturing techniques, it's very unusual to have frets in the wrong place or a badly-placed bridge/saddle.

What is usually going on is that the action is too high. Especially with nylon-string guitars, as the low tension strings vibrate more than do steel strings, and require more clearance. So....At the upper frets, you are pulling the strings down to the fretboard a longer distance than is optimal, and you "pull the string sharp".
Again, that's the most common problem. If you get the action adjusted properly, the problem will be diminished.
The second thing is that the saddle is not compensated. Perhaps you've seen better-quality guitars with the saddle full of little cut-outs and such? That's compensation. By altering the "break point" of the string, one can adjust it sharp or flat to a small degree. Only the width of the saddle....That's all you have to work with.

If the intonation is well and truly out... Then expensive repairs like removing and re-positioning the bridge or filling and re-cutting the saddle slot may be called for.
This would exceed the value of most entry-level guitars.