Okay, I play trombone/euphonium in a chamber winds ensemble. We have started to pay attention to tiny nuances in chord structures that affect the exact frequency of a note. Like if your playing the major 3rd of a triad, you should ever so slightly flatten it. If you're playing the leading tone of a key, you should raise it ever so slightly, and so on.

Now with this in mind, I also know that the guitar is not tempered perfectly, as it is a compromise. So does this mean that guitar music is never exactly in tune? How exactly do the frets stand in relation to each key? When playing a standard barre chord, should I try to push my middle finger towards the bridge to slightly lower the frequency of the third? Or do the frets of the guitar already do this.

Basically, how do you play with perfect intonation on a guitar? Are there any bands/artists who practice this?
Last edited by coffeeguy9 at Feb 25, 2008,
It'd be really hard and I don't know of anyone who does it. I guess slight bends could do it? not really sure.
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Traynor YCV 50 Custom Blue

Quote by Dee'snutz
YES! you, Dazed/confused, are a genius. my thanks to you, good friend
i htink the frets are designed to help with this which is why they are there in the first place but idk.. u can intonate the guitar itself through some process of adjusting the bridge (depending on the guitar) but thats about it
Basically, how do you play with perfect intonation on a guitar?

You don't. Equal temperament is a compromise that allows you to play all keys equally well, but not perfectly. Perfect intonation across all keys is impossible with straight frets. One solution would be to tune your guitar to play the key of a specific song perfectly, but this would throw the other keys noticeably out of tune (not necessarily a bad thing, as this gives each key it's own unique flavor)
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Fretless guitar may be for you.

Also - don't force intonation. Don't drop your thirds just because you think they're supposed to be a bit flat; let your ear be your guide.
That's a really interesting idea; however I think that's impossible on a guitar with straight frets. Extra pressure behind the fret (pulling the string tighter) and maybe slight bends might be a solution, although most people probably wouldn't notice.
Quote by -=Croatoan=-
Steve Vai's guitars have weird shaped frets custom made to have perfect intonation.


ideally though if you were so obsessive about it you can press harder and get a slightly sharper note and also loosen your grip and get a slightly flatter note, but really thats too much effort for me to revamp my who fretting technique. the average persons ears won't detect a difference if you're a couple hertz off.