Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

How do you set your intonation?

Play open string/press the 12th fret and adjust to the depressed 12th fret
4
36%
Press 12th fret/play 12th fret harmonic and adjust to the 12th fret harmonic
5
45%
Press 5th fret/press 17th fret and adjust to the depressed 17th fret
1
9%
Other
1
9%
 
Total votes : 11

Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Wed May 16, 2012 7:01 am

How do you adjust your intonation? I'm trying to determine if there's a "right way" for the best results and wanted to see how others do it.
Last edited by TRG on Wed May 16, 2012 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby strumminsix » Wed May 16, 2012 8:14 am

I am quite convinced that intonation is compromise and fretting is a huge part of that.

Therefore I fret the 12th. I do the 5th fret 7th fret thing to see how my neck is overall once the open & 12 are aligned.

Folks who are smarter than I have said that adjusting the truss rod slightly also impacts intonation, hence checking 5 & 7.
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Re: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Wed May 16, 2012 9:12 am

I had a 24 fret bass for a while, and when I adjusted the intonation at the 24th fret the results were phenomenal. It was a great neck, graphite-reinforced Warwick neck made of Wenge, very even and precise.
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Wed May 16, 2012 3:47 pm

Cool - thanks for those that have responded thus far :cool:
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby mgbills » Wed May 16, 2012 3:47 pm

The Truss rod definately plays a roll. I was neglecting a TR adjustment in favor of extended woodshed time. I was rather irritated by intonation at the 5th & 7th, but the 12th & the harmonic remained fine. Set the TR...back to near square. Which is as good as a Strat seems to get.

I kinda wish Taylor made Strats. My 810 has brutally perfect intonation almost anywhere. :lol:
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Wed May 16, 2012 3:54 pm

So when you say the truss rod plays a roll (which I can completely understand)...are you saying in so much as the screw adjustment has only so far that it can go...and if you've gone all the way front/back and your still sharp/flat that one of the next courses of action would be a TS adjustment?

For example: If you like the current TS setting, but if you run out of screw adjustment on your saddle, you may be forced to adjust the TS?
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby Cmnaround » Wed May 16, 2012 5:28 pm

I'm the outlier that does 5 and 17 - an octave apart and seems to keep everything pretty good across the whole neck. Got this advice from the Peterson strobe tuner manual. They should know what they are talking about as some would suggest you pretty much need a strobe tuner with that level of accuracy to set the intonation properly.
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby Cmnaround » Wed May 16, 2012 5:40 pm

Thought you all might find this of interest - from one of the Peterson tuner manuals. No affiliation here, just a satisfied user.

Source: http://www.petersontuners.com/

"Setting Guitar & Bass Intonation Using Your Peterson StroboRack™
After deciding on string gauge, setting string height (nut & bridge), neck relief, and all other factors that affect the guitar’s intonation considerably, the individual string
lengths need to be adjusted. For this task, use Equal temperament in the StroboRack’s SWT menu.
· Lower the pickups away from the strings to avoid "doubling" and electromagnetic pull.
· Lay the guitar flat on a bench to adjust it, but always check the intonation with the instrument in the playing position, as the readings will be visibly (and later
audibly) different. You should always aim to freeze or "cage" the image on the strobe tuner display; the less movement the more accurate the results.
A common technique in setting the intonation is the 12th fret & flageolet comparison method. In this method, the flageolet or "harmonic" of the 12th fret is compared
to the fretted string at the 12th fret, and saddle position is adjusted as follows:
· If the fretted note is flat compared to the flageolet note, move the bridge saddle forward to shorten the string.
· If the fretted note is sharp compared to the flageolet note, move the bridge saddle back to lengthen the string.
· Adjust until both fretted note and flageolet are identical in pitch.
While this is a common system, it is not always the most satisfactory.
One popular alternative is to adjust each string so that it is in tune at two points an octave apart from each other on the fret board using a strobe tuner. Using the 5th
and 17th fret as an example:
· Tune a string at the 5th fret.
· Check the string at the 17th. If sharp, move the saddle back, thus lengthening the string. If flat, shorten the string by moving the saddle forward. Remember
to fret the string using the pressure that you would normally apply while playing.
· Keep repeating this process until each string is in tune as much as possible at both the 5th and 17th frets.
This method takes time, and has to be repeated if you change string gauges, but if properly executed, it yields very satisfactory results.
Now, depending on your own taste, tune your guitar using one of the StroboRack’s many SweetenersTM. Find out how your instrument can really sound!"
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby mgbills » Wed May 16, 2012 8:10 pm

TRG.

This is just what I experienced this week. I typically use a Peterson StroboFlip, but often once the intonation is set I just use an Intelli-touch (which I don't particularly like). My start like a bit of neck relief. Loosening the truss rod on my Tiger-ized Strat will typically provide this relief in the 4-7th fret most dramatically. It had been showing a bit of fret buzz, which typically means I need to drop about 1/4 turn out of the truss rod. Also, I had noticed that notes on the 5th fret were a bit sharp. When I released the truss rod a bit, the intonation at the 5th came more into tune.

To be honest I didn't check intonation entirely. When I hit the amplified Man-Cave tomorrow night, I'll try & remember to check it and give the results.

I didn't mean to imply that a truss rod adjustment would be the logical step to follow after attempting to correct intonation via the saddles. I tend to think of the truss rod on it's own, and drop out tension until fret buzz is alleviated. I get some pretty wild humidity swings throughout the year. We have a log home & a wood stove, so I'm not in the Man-Cave/Shop in the winter, and my poor guitars are constantly subjected to Damp-it's to keep some humidity in the cases. Acoustics are really fussy. My Taylor will change tune dramatically in 3-4 hours of playing time in the Winter.

Probably more information than was helpful.
Peace
M
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Thu May 17, 2012 5:33 am

Cmnaround wrote:Thought you all might find this of interest - from one of the Peterson tuner manuals. No affiliation here, just a satisfied user.

Source: http://www.petersontuners.com/

"Setting Guitar & Bass Intonation Using Your Peterson StroboRack™
After deciding on string gauge, setting string height (nut & bridge), neck relief, and all other factors that affect the guitar’s intonation considerably, the individual string
lengths need to be adjusted. For this task, use Equal temperament in the StroboRack’s SWT menu.
· Lower the pickups away from the strings to avoid "doubling" and electromagnetic pull.
· Lay the guitar flat on a bench to adjust it, but always check the intonation with the instrument in the playing position, as the readings will be visibly (and later
audibly) different. You should always aim to freeze or "cage" the image on the strobe tuner display; the less movement the more accurate the results.
A common technique in setting the intonation is the 12th fret & flageolet comparison method. In this method, the flageolet or "harmonic" of the 12th fret is compared
to the fretted string at the 12th fret, and saddle position is adjusted as follows:
· If the fretted note is flat compared to the flageolet note, move the bridge saddle forward to shorten the string.
· If the fretted note is sharp compared to the flageolet note, move the bridge saddle back to lengthen the string.
· Adjust until both fretted note and flageolet are identical in pitch.
While this is a common system, it is not always the most satisfactory.
One popular alternative is to adjust each string so that it is in tune at two points an octave apart from each other on the fret board using a strobe tuner. Using the 5th
and 17th fret as an example:
· Tune a string at the 5th fret.
· Check the string at the 17th. If sharp, move the saddle back, thus lengthening the string. If flat, shorten the string by moving the saddle forward. Remember
to fret the string using the pressure that you would normally apply while playing.
· Keep repeating this process until each string is in tune as much as possible at both the 5th and 17th frets.
This method takes time, and has to be repeated if you change string gauges, but if properly executed, it yields very satisfactory results.
Now, depending on your own taste, tune your guitar using one of the StroboRack’s many SweetenersTM. Find out how your instrument can really sound!"


Interesting and helpful - thanks for sharing!
Last edited by TRG on Thu May 17, 2012 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Thu May 17, 2012 5:38 am

mgbills wrote:TRG.

This is just what I experienced this week. I typically use a Peterson StroboFlip, but often once the intonation is set I just use an Intelli-touch (which I don't particularly like). My start like a bit of neck relief. Loosening the truss rod on my Tiger-ized Strat will typically provide this relief in the 4-7th fret most dramatically. It had been showing a bit of fret buzz, which typically means I need to drop about 1/4 turn out of the truss rod. Also, I had noticed that notes on the 5th fret were a bit sharp. When I released the truss rod a bit, the intonation at the 5th came more into tune.

To be honest I didn't check intonation entirely. When I hit the amplified Man-Cave tomorrow night, I'll try & remember to check it and give the results.

I didn't mean to imply that a truss rod adjustment would be the logical step to follow after attempting to correct intonation via the saddles. I tend to think of the truss rod on it's own, and drop out tension until fret buzz is alleviated. I get some pretty wild humidity swings throughout the year. We have a log home & a wood stove, so I'm not in the Man-Cave/Shop in the winter, and my poor guitars are constantly subjected to Damp-it's to keep some humidity in the cases. Acoustics are really fussy. My Taylor will change tune dramatically in 3-4 hours of playing time in the Winter.

Probably more information than was helpful.
Peace
M


Cool, thanks for elaborating on this. I'm about to lower the action a tad via the individual string saddles and essentially want to make sure that I correctly adjust the intonation via the screw adjustments on the individual saddles (if necessary).

Log home - -nice!
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TI4-1009 » Fri May 18, 2012 8:50 am

Invaluable:

http://www.beatgearcavern.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=57166

"I do NOT just set to a strict harmonic / 12th fret check. I start with that. Then I temper tune.

This is what piano tuners do.

I check the third fret on the low "E" /6th string to see if its a "G"

I check the 3rd fret of the "A"/5th string to see if its a "C"

I check the second fret of the "D"/4th to make sure its an "E"

THe first fret of the "G"/3rd should be a G#

THe 2nd string check is to insure the third fret is in fact a "D"

And then lastly the first string/ high "E" should be an F# at the 2nd fret .

I check each fretted note AFTER I tune the open string to its normal note... I use a PETERSON 490 tuner.

I never use a tuner with LED lights.
"Why not ?"

Because there is too much +/- between the points of those LED bulbs. Nice for stage quick tuning ... but not that accurate."
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby TRG » Fri May 18, 2012 9:15 am

TI4-1009 wrote:Invaluable:

http://www.beatgearcavern.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=57166

"I do NOT just set to a strict harmonic / 12th fret check. I start with that. Then I temper tune.

This is what piano tuners do.

I check the third fret on the low "E" /6th string to see if its a "G"

I check the 3rd fret of the "A"/5th string to see if its a "C"

I check the second fret of the "D"/4th to make sure its an "E"

THe first fret of the "G"/3rd should be a G#

THe 2nd string check is to insure the third fret is in fact a "D"

And then lastly the first string/ high "E" should be an F# at the 2nd fret .

I check each fretted note AFTER I tune the open string to its normal note... I use a PETERSON 490 tuner.

I never use a tuner with LED lights.
"Why not ?"

Because there is too much +/- between the points of those LED bulbs. Nice for stage quick tuning ... but not that accurate."


Good stuff - thanks!
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby Cmnaround » Fri May 18, 2012 12:15 pm

+1 on the Peterson 490

Money spent on a decent tuner is indeed a fine investment.
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Re: Poll: Adjusting the intonation - what's the right way?

Postby strumminsix » Fri May 18, 2012 12:47 pm

TRG wrote:So when you say the truss rod plays a roll (which I can completely understand)...are you saying in so much as the screw adjustment has only so far that it can go...and if you've gone all the way front/back and your still sharp/flat that one of the next courses of action would be a TS adjustment?

Nut, truss rod, action, saddles, intonation all inter-relate. Nut has to be cut correctly as the starting point. There is fairly large intonation sweet spot but you'll find that guitars with too much relief or a back-bow never intonate correctly. Think of a guitar neck like a V but a very large angle like 170 degrees with the 7th fret being the low point and that's how it's designed, planned, angled for, everything. All inter-relates.
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