#1
My guitar has slight intonation problems(the b string is sharp). After I started playing more, it became quite noticeable to me. I want to get it fixed, but when I look up a general price online it varies from about $20 up to $130.

My question is: Generally how much does it cost to set the intonation correctly on an acoustic guitar?

I would like to know before I get a quote from a local guitar shop so I don't get ripped off.

Thanks in advance!
#3
Quote by §ArmyofAngels§
um... have you tried lowering the pitch with the tuning machines?


No. What would that do?

I am no guitar expert, but when I play the b string on the 12th fret it's not the same sound as the harmonic on the same fret so I just assumed it was an intonation issue.
#4
^ You're checking it wrong. Tune up the guitar to standard tuning and get it as accurate as possible to dead on. Neither flat nor sharp. Then compare the open note of each string(not harmonic) to the fretted 12th. And when you fret at the 12th, be sure you're not falsely driving the note sharp by pressing too hard or bending the string, even a little. A decent electronic tuner will show you instantly how far off the notes are. So say you have it tuned up, and you play the open B string, and it shows just a needle width or so over center. Ok, so when you play the 12th fretted note, the needle should be the same distance away from center. If they both play out with the needle dead on center, great. The main point of intonating is to get each note, open and the 12th fretted, the same. When you retune the open strings to standard, the 12th fretted is going to automatically follow. Get it?
Before you do anything tho, put on a new set of strings of the proper gauge for that guitar. This will fix the majority of slight intonation problems in itself. Especially if the strings are old. Chances are you don't need to have it serviced at all, and can save yourself some cash in the process. A set of $10 strings is certainly less than a setup isn't it.
#5
you can check it with the harmonic too, that's how I learned to do it and that method has never failed me.

But yeah getting your intonation fixed on one string shouldn't cost a whole lot unless they need to raise the bridge, maybe $40.
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#6
^ Then you're doing it wrong as well. Look, a guitar is an equal tempered instrument. In laymans terms, all that means is that is was designed to give the best approximation of the notes in the western music scale as possible. But it's not perfect.
The problem in using the 12th harmonic is that it's a pure interval, and you produce it simply by touching the string, not by fretting it. That's where the error comes in. If you don't fret the note, you won't be adjusting the intonation to the rest of the fretted notes of the guitar. I've gone through this recently in another thread. You don't have to take my word for it either, go read what Dan Earliwine has to say about it. He's been doing this for longer than I have, and is a master of his craft. He has books available through Stewart MacDonald, amongst other places.
#7
Quote by LeftyDave
^ Then you're doing it wrong as well. Look, a guitar is an equal tempered instrument. In laymans terms, all that means is that is was designed to give the best approximation of the notes in the western music scale as possible. But it's not perfect.
The problem in using the 12th harmonic is that it's a pure interval, and you produce it simply by touching the string, not by fretting it. That's where the error comes in. If you don't fret the note, you won't be adjusting the intonation to the rest of the fretted notes of the guitar. I've gone through this recently in another thread. You don't have to take my word for it either, go read what Dan Earliwine has to say about it. He's been doing this for longer than I have, and is a master of his craft. He has books available through Stewart MacDonald, amongst other places.


if I'm doing it wrong then why is my intonation always extremely accurate when i do it that way? and if it's wrong then why do a lot of professionals use that method as well?

and you do fret the note, you compare the fretted 12th fret to the 12th fret harmonic, if you're intonation is accurate they should be identical.
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Last edited by Kid_Thorazine at May 25, 2008,
#8
Quote by LeftyDave
^ Then you're doing it wrong as well. Look, a guitar is an equal tempered instrument. In laymans terms, all that means is that is was designed to give the best approximation of the notes in the western music scale as possible. But it's not perfect.
The problem in using the 12th harmonic is that it's a pure interval, and you produce it simply by touching the string, not by fretting it. That's where the error comes in. If you don't fret the note, you won't be adjusting the intonation to the rest of the fretted notes of the guitar. I've gone through this recently in another thread. You don't have to take my word for it either, go read what Dan Earliwine has to say about it. He's been doing this for longer than I have, and is a master of his craft. He has books available through Stewart MacDonald, amongst other places.


I've also always used the harmonic method, but this makes more sense to me. Getting the 12th fret accurate with a tuner would be a better way to correctly adjust intonation than doing it by ear. I wouldn't say that the harmonic method is a wrong way to do it, but why do it by ear and ask for inaccuracy if you have a tuner handy.
#9
You can't make an accurate comparison when you are using the 12th fret both times. You need the open string as a reference point when comparing, and the ideal comparison to the open string is the 12th fretted note, not the harmonic. The harmonic can be used, but in either case, you still need the open string as a reference.
I just don't see where in the comparison of the 12th fretted versus the 12th harmonic you can get an accurate reading of intonation. In both cases, you are only using 1/2 the string. Since intonation means the guitar's ability to play in tune along the entire length of the fretboard, doesn't it stand to reason that you would use the entire string for one of the reference points?
#10
Thanks for all the help guys. I'll try the electric tuner method.

I changed my strings about a month and half ago for the sole reason of fixing the intonation, so the strings aren't terribly old. It worked for a while(about a week), but then every barred chord after the 3 fret sounded kinda weird.

Also, my guitar isn't a top-quality one(Mitchell MD-100S), so anything over a $70 repair is pretty pointless.
#11
I just saw a youtube.com video showing how to fix the intonation on an acoustic guitar. You can see the the whole procedure at www.acousticguitarcorner.com/guitars. The youtube video only has part, but show the finished product. I think if you go to yoube.com/gitfixer you can see the youtube video.
#12
Intonation is driven by the length of the string. If the saddle shows wear that actually lowers the string and can change the length. This throws it out of intonation. Intonation is a set up issue and a $40 set up will fix it.