#1
No matter how much I loosen those tiny screws, the note will barely flatten... OR I loosen them to what should be a reasonable amount and it goes down a whole note... Can someone give me some tips please?

Well I just tested... Everything sounds a LOT better, but they still aren't perfect >:|
Last edited by Demonology at May 16, 2008,
#2
To be honest, it sounds to me like your guitar just has a really bad bridge.

If I were you I'd take it to get set up by a pro. I commend you for trying though, a lot of people don't even bother to learn how to do basic things like set the intonation
#3
Ah thanks for the advice. Yea my bridge is kinda slanted... I took it back to the shop within like the first 2 weeks that I got it but they wouldn't refund it >.< I dunno if that's the problem but I think it is. Well I shall take it to get intonated soon...
#4
Well its supposed to have a little slant to it. But anyways, i figured i'd ask this question here rather than start a new thread. Anyone know a good way to learn how to set your intonation rather than bringing to a guitar shop? I used to the search bar but I mean im not gonna look through a million threads. Just wondering if theres a site or something that can teach you how.
#5
wait, i thought you said you knew how to set the intonation?

you have to test the difference in pitch between the 12th fret harmonic, and 12th fret note. if the note is sharper than the harmonic you have to move the string saddle out to make that string longer and thus flatter. and the opposite way for a flatter string.


i'm having intonation problems, but for me i think the problem is the nut not the bridge
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#6
Oh alright, thats it? I always assumed it was more technical than that. Alright thanks.

ps - when did i say i knew how to do that?
#7
Quote by tdopz
Oh alright, thats it? I always assumed it was more technical than that. Alright thanks.

ps - when did i say i knew how to do that?


I think he thought you were me

Anyway if you want a more detailed guide, go to columns and search intonation. It's the first one I think.
#8
I just recently learned that one of the best in the biz, Dan Erlewine, does the intonation check with the open string and the 12th fret, rather than the harmonic 12th. Try that, too. Made sense to me the way he explained it. That it captures the up and down the fretboard differences better to better compensate.

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#9
Quote by BaffAttack
I just recently learned that one of the best in the biz, Dan Erlewine, does the intonation check with the open string and the 12th fret, rather than the harmonic 12th. Try that, too. Made sense to me the way he explained it. That it captures the up and down the fretboard differences better to better compensate.


What? That's terrible advice.

The reason you use the 12th harmonic is so you don't put any pressure on the string and make it sharper than it really is.

If you do it by fretting it at the 12th fret your intonation will end up being flat.
#10
It might be "terrible advice," but the man literally wrote the book on guitar repair (The Guitar Player's Repair Guide) and since I started it doing that way (not solely, but to start, and fine tuning using both methods back and forth), the intonation on my guitars have gotten better.

Plus, I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to put pressure on the string, the whole point is that when you actually play the thing, you're putting pressure on the string. Why set the intonation in a non-playing situation? The guitar is already an even-tempered instrument. As we play it, up and down the fretboard, we're never gonna be "perfectly" in tune, no matter what we do. It was designed to play in any key, but it simply can't do it perfectly in every key. Really darn close though, which is why it's lasted as long as it has. But why would you only try and set the intonation through a process that doesn't actually test it at the fret?

Not to mention, if you're playing the open string, then the 12th fret to check the intonation difference between the octave, that's less pressure on the string, then if you were to play the 12th harmonic then the 12th fret. Either way, you're fretting at 12, but in the first one, you aren't fretting at all.

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#11
Quote by UncleCthulhu
What? That's terrible advice.

The reason you use the 12th harmonic is so you don't put any pressure on the string and make it sharper than it really is.

If you do it by fretting it at the 12th fret your intonation will end up being flat.


If I'm reading you right, you're assuming that you check intonation between the open string vs. 12th harmonic and adjusting from there? If so, then you are grossly mistaken in your approach. You MUST fret at the 12th fret to check, and that fretted note MUST be checked against the open string. If you had a guitar that you played purely harmonics on 100% of the time and never fretted a single note, then you could omit the fretted 12th. I think we both know that's not a reality. It's also for this very reason, the fact that the guitar is meant to be played by fretting the strings, that the old style of tuning by 5/7 harmonics is lousy. Sure you can get it close, but then what happens once you start playing the guitar normally? Each string stretches a bit each time you fret them, and all of a sudden you're off everywhere on the neck.
The closer the intonation is via fretting the strings, the better the guitar will sound, period.

edited to omit the 12th fret harmonic during testing of intonation. Not necessary. Cross check open string note to fretted 12th and adjust from there.
Last edited by LeftyDave at May 17, 2008,
#12
Quote by LeftyDave
If I'm reading you right, you're assuming that you check intonation between the open string vs. 12th harmonic and adjusting from there? If so, then you are grossly mistaken in your approach. You MUST fret at the 12th fret to check, and that fretted note MUST be checked against EITHER the open string OR the 12th harmonic, or both if you want to do a thorough job of it. If you had a guitar that you played purely harmonics on 100% of the time and never fretted a single note, then you could omit the fretted 12th. I think we both know that's not a reality. It's also for this very reason, the fact that the guitar is meant to be played by fretting the strings, that the old style of tuning by 5/7 harmonics is lousy. Sure you can get it close, but then what happens once you start playing the guitar normally? Each string stretches a bit each time you fret them, and all of a sudden you're off everywhere on the neck.
The closer the intonation is via fretting the strings, the better the guitar will sound, period.


That's what I was saying, I'm not sure what that guy was talking about when he said it was terrible advice. I was definitely not saying go open to 12th harmonic, so maybe he thought I was and completely misunderstood me.

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#13
Stupid question but after adjusting the saddle, do you retune the string?


Your first post made it seem like you didn't...


Oh and the reason we use the harmonic is because it's the same octave as the 12th fret. If you use open + harmonic, the open string is an octave lower.
#14
Quote by Pott



Oh and the reason we use the harmonic is because it's the same octave as the 12th fret. If you use open + harmonic, the open string is an octave lower.


That's kind of the point. We're trying to hear how much we have to compensate the saddle by listening to the difference between open to 12...since the intonation thing is how much the string changes pitch up the fretboard from the open string being played in tune.

Now, if you're doing it by ear alone, and not a tuner? Okay, well, using the harmonic will help you greatly. But if you have a tuner, I don't see why you wouldn't do both open and harmonic.

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#15
Yeah I meant without using a tuner. A surprising amount of people do it that way. I'm a musically hopeless dude though so I use the tuner
#16
Quote by Pott
Yeah I meant without using a tuner. A surprising amount of people do it that way. I'm a musically hopeless dude though so I use the tuner


Hey, if you got the ear. As for me, even though I have a pretty decent ear (years of being a trombone player will do that to you), I also own a strobe tuner, and if you're gonna have that high of an accuracy, I'm sure as hades gonna use it!

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#17
Quote by Pott
Stupid question but after adjusting the saddle, do you retune the string?


Your first post made it seem like you didn't...


Oh and the reason we use the harmonic is because it's the same octave as the 12th fret. If you use open + harmonic, the open string is an octave lower.


Of course you have to retune the string after moving the saddle. Moving the saddle changes the intonation and the tuning because you are lengthening/shortening the scale length for that string.
#18
Fretting at the 12th fret is always going to make your intonation flat. Trust me, i've tried.

Well, atleast for me =p
Last edited by Ze_Metal at May 17, 2008,
#19
Quote by Ze_Metal
Fretting at the 12th fret is always going to make your intonation flat. Trust me, i've tried.

Well, atleast for me =p


If you don't check intonation by fretting at the 12th fret, then you're doing it wrong.
#20
for me my guitar is generally sharp so i have the opposite problem than Ze Metal.

but my intonation issue is still there, I have changed the bridge a little bit, (for my 3rd string, the saddle is all the way out, but its still sharp) but there are still problems with my intonation, is the problem with with my bridge?
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#21
Just try and remember that the guitar is an even tempered instrument that was designed to play in every key. Your intonation will rarely be "perfect" especially because of the frets and minute changes in your finger positions relative and your pressure as you play and even the position of your pickups and magnetic interference...tons of things will make you slightly out of tune.

The key is to get it as close as you can and let it be...

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#22
Quote by LeftyDave
If you don't check intonation by fretting at the 12th fret, then you're doing it wrong.


I meant I use harmonics.

And you can fret at any fret passed the 12th anyways...just it's most commonly done on the 12th.
#23
Quote by Ze_Metal
I meant I use harmonics.

And you can fret at any fret passed the 12th anyways...just it's most commonly done on the 12th.


That is an inaccurate way to check intonation. Look, when you play the guitar, do you play just harmonics or do you press down the strings to the frets? It's a no brainer right? Well, to check your intonation, why wouldn't you fret the strings then as well? The idea is to reach a balance between the open string and the fretted 12th fret, which is the scale length of the guitar. Yes, that's the scale length, not the distance from nut to saddle. That's actually double the scale. The word "scale" should give you a clue, since that distance covers one octave of the western musical scale. Some string length is added to the ends of the strings down by the saddle when calculating out the fret positions and bridge/saddle placement. Things like string gauge, type of wood, scale length and so on are factored in when making these calcs. At any rate, try the open string vs. fretted 12th for checking intonation. I think you'll find it much more accurate.
#24
Quote by Yeti60
for me my guitar is generally sharp so i have the opposite problem than Ze Metal.

but my intonation issue is still there, I have changed the bridge a little bit, (for my 3rd string, the saddle is all the way out, but its still sharp) but there are still problems with my intonation, is the problem with with my bridge?


By all the way out do you mean pulled back away from the fretboard? If a string indicates it's sharp at the 12th fret versus open, then the scale needs to be lengthened, which will flatten the note. If you have it screwed all the way back, and it's compressed the spring until there's no more adjustment, then you could either snip a bit off the spring or grind off some of the back edge of the saddle. I had to do this with a strat clone of mine on the low E string saddle. It was always sharp. So I got some shorter screws for the saddles, then ground down the back side of the saddle so that I could pull it back away from the fretboard more than it could have from the factory. Plays much better now.
#25
Quote by LeftyDave
That is an inaccurate way to check intonation. Look, when you play the guitar, do you play just harmonics or do you press down the strings to the frets? It's a no brainer right? Well, to check your intonation, why wouldn't you fret the strings then as well? The idea is to reach a balance between the open string and the fretted 12th fret, which is the scale length of the guitar. Yes, that's the scale length, not the distance from nut to saddle. That's actually double the scale. The word "scale" should give you a clue, since that distance covers one octave of the western musical scale. Some string length is added to the ends of the strings down by the saddle when calculating out the fret positions and bridge/saddle placement. Things like string gauge, type of wood, scale length and so on are factored in when making these calcs. At any rate, try the open string vs. fretted 12th for checking intonation. I think you'll find it much more accurate.


But harmonics just play the actual note, with no overtones. So wouldn't that make it easier for you or the tuner to distinguish whether it's sharp or flat?
#26
Quote by Ze_Metal
But harmonics just play the actual note, with no overtones. So wouldn't that make it easier for you or the tuner to distinguish whether it's sharp or flat?


Natural harmonics are pure intervals, created not by fretting the string, but by lightly touching it. Yes, it's a pure note. It's not the note you want to check intonation however. You want to check the fretted note since the instrument is to be played by fretting. Each time you fret a string to create a note, the string will stretch until it reaches the fret. It's this stretching action that you are compensating for when intonating. You are taking that into account, and compensating for it when adjusting the bridge saddle. Done correctly, all fretted notes will play as close to their designations as possible. If you did this using only open strings versus harmonic, then when you started to actually fret the strings, the intonation would be farther off because you didn't take into account the stretching. As for distinguishing whether it's sharp or flat, my electronic tuner has no problem. It has more of a problem tuning up the B string than during intonating. I have to mute other strings otherwise it registers those as well, and throws off the B tuning.
My ear isn't as good as all that. I can't tell if it's a few cents sharp/flat unless I have an electronic tuner. I can hear the wavering, out of phase sound difference between 2 notes that should be the same, as in tuning. But not during intonating.
Last edited by LeftyDave at May 18, 2008,
#27
Well, maybe using the harmonic makes me feel better because whenever I fret it's always flat. Haha =D