Guitar Intonation: What is it and How to Set It
Have you ever played your favorite song or you’ve been practicing with your band and your guitar notes seems a little “off” as you play up the neck?
Usually this is a sign that your intonation is not quite right.
In this article we will explain how intonation works and how it is affected by different changes you may make to your guitar.
We will also cover how to set your intonation on both hard tails and tremolos.
First off you must have a good tuner to start this process.
Your intonation is calibrated when your guitar is in tune and when you play the guitar E through E strings Open and then on the twelfth fret.
If the tuning on the twelfth fret is not spot on then there is likely an intonation problem.
Please keep in mind that the intonation can vary a bit since we all have different ways of pressing down on the strings which does impact the intonation.
Why is my intonation off?
A guitars intonation has many variables and will change because of these variables.
Some of the changes that may affect your intonation:
String Gauge ( changing from one set of strings to another set with a different gauge )
Changing the Nut
Lets address Neck Curvature with this below drawing
The neck curvature is adjusted by turning the truss rod which is located inside the neck.
When adjusting your neck’s truss rod keep in mind that your intonation will be off. Most recommended is to give some neck relief.
Once you have noticed your intonation is off the next step is to lock your tremolo, if you have one, and continue string by string to adjust intonation. The idea behind intonation is to note that the distance from your nut to your 12th fret should be the same exact distance from your 12th fret to your bridge.
If your intonation is sharp then move the saddle away from the nut and if it is flat then move the saddle towards the nut. See illustration for fixing intonation:
Always keep in mind that adjusting your bridge height also will affect your intonation so make sure that your action is set before starting your intonation process.
If you need additional help call one of our Guitar Pro's here at MusiciansBuy and we will be happy to walk you through the process.