#1
I've noticed that, with at least a couple of my guitars, when I set the intonation using the open string, and then again at the 12th fret, the intonation will be off a bit at the first fret. It may or may not get closer to being right on as I move up the board.

Is this something with the nut?

I'm talking a fraction of a note, but the lack of precision drives me nuts.

It could also be the tuner, I'm sure. I'm using an inexpensive Fender clip-on tuner, as well as the built-in tuner on my Peavey Vypr 15 watt bedroom amp.
#2
due to the way guitars are made they can't be perfectly intonated. the best you can do is get close enough. what you're experiencing is normal. granted most techs use a far better tuner.
#4
You're playing an open string and then fretting the 12th to check intonation? I've always played the 12th fret harmonic, then the 12th fret. Maybe that won't make a difference. Maybe it will.
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#5
If your action at the first few frets is too high you could be pulling the strings out of tune just by fretting them. Try fretting with a very light touch and see if it is still out of tune. Take a thin pick (.46mm) and slide it under the strings at the first fret. The strings should hold it snugly in place without raising the strings. If not, your action is too high. This can be fixed by either filing deeper slots in the nut or sanding off the bottom of the nut.
#6
You don't set intonation playing the open string. You get it in tune open then intonate it fretting the 12th fret, NOT using the harmonic.

Above posts are right though, it's basically impossible to intonate a guitar 100% accurately.
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#7
Quote by TheStig1214
You don't set intonation playing the open string. You get it in tune open then intonate it fretting the 12th fret, NOT using the harmonic.

Above posts are right though, it's basically impossible to intonate a guitar 100% accurately.



This is a good method, I've used it for many years. How high are the strings over the 1st fret?
Another point is the more accurate your tuner the better the intonation. If you have an IPhone you can buy the Peterson Strobe Tuner app for $9.99. Strobe tuners are way more precise than chromatic tuners.
Moving on.....
#8
Quote by KenG
This is a good method, I've used it for many years. How high are the strings over the 1st fret?
Another point is the more accurate your tuner the better the intonation. If you have an IPhone you can buy the Peterson Strobe Tuner app for $9.99. Strobe tuners are way more precise than chromatic tuners.


The string height varies from one guitar to another, depending upon what I use it for.

I just went through all of them, and all but one are really close. Variation from fret to fret isn't usually more than .10 to .20. The one that's off the most has a high action.

I don't know how good the tuner is in the Peavey, but I would suspect the $15-$20 Fender clip-on isn't that accurate.
#9
Thanks again for the replies. The one that was off had the action set pretty high. I can't remember why I set it that way. It may have been when I was using a slide. When I lowered it and adjusted the intonation, it was dead nuts on at every fret, even with open strings. I checked it with the harmonic at the 12th fret and it was on there, too.

I then went through all the other guitars, and they were pretty much dead on. Just had to tweak a couple.
#10
Quote by stormin1155
If your action at the first few frets is too high you could be pulling the strings out of tune just by fretting them. Try fretting with a very light touch and see if it is still out of tune. Take a thin pick (.46mm) and slide it under the strings at the first fret. The strings should hold it snugly in place without raising the strings. If not, your action is too high. This can be fixed by either filing deeper slots in the nut or sanding off the bottom of the nut.


That one could be important. I set the nuts slots very low, so that if I press the string down between the 2nd and 3rd frets, there is barely any gap (a sheet of writing paper or less) between the string and the 1st fret. Sometimes I can only detect the gap using a tap test - if the gap in the above test is tiny, I can just hear the ckick if I tap the string above the 1st fret.
#11
Three things affect intonation.

1. Old strings. Never intonate a guitar with old strings, always new ones. I don't know how many times I've "fixed" the intonation on other peoples' guitars by simply putting on new strings...

2. Nut slot height. Partially explained already. If the nut slots are too high you pull the strings sharp fretting the notes, especially the first 2 or 3 frets. My Peavey Patriot is really sensitive to this, I need to check my nut height and have been dragging my feet. Open chords often have a sour B string...

3. There's no such thing as perfect intonation on every fret. I've seen a fretboard with compensated frets, half and one third frets all over the place, probably very difficult to play.

The best you can do is a compromise, get it set up well and use new strings. Try to play open chords or notes with a fairly light touch so you don't pull strings sharp.

Ignore anyone who even mentions the harmonic for setting intonation. Intonation is set by tuning the open string to concert pitch then checking that against the fretted 12th (octave) note. After that is correct, it should match the harmonic just for fun but the fretted 12th fret is what matters, ignore anything else. Always remember to retune the open string after adjusting the bridge saddles.

Sharp is too short.

Variations in fret height shouldn't make a huge difference in intonation, but might, and uneven frets should be leveled. The thing you're looking for is how high off the first fret the strings are. That should ideally be .005" to .010".

Slot height recommendations vary,

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/NutAction/nutaction.html

says fret it at the 3rd fret and you want just enough to see there is a tiny gap between 1st string and 1st fret. If you can't see it well, tap the string and you should be able to see it move slightly. Without fretting anywhere I like .005" to .007". Anything over .010" is probably going to feel stiff and pull sharp when fretting.

Here's a link with a couple of pictures of guitars with compensated frets, different from the one I saw years ago, I can't find it. The one I saw before had partial frets all the way up the neck to compensate for intonation. In other words the top couple of strings would have part of a fret, the lower ones had another part, in a slightly different position. Really weird looking...

http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f19/ngd-jaden-rose-original-series-purpleheart-custom-110098.html?highlight=true+temperament

Here's some pretty good guitar picking on one. I think he needs a little more practice though...hehe just joking...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq4OyQ9m_f4&feature=related

Standard frets will never be completely in tune all the way, forget it. Set the intonation with new strings, close as you can get it, and live with it or get one of those necks. I'll stick with standard frets I think...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...