How to Properly Adjust Guitar Intonation
Adjusting the intonation on a guitar is crucial to ensure that the notes played on different frets up and down the neck are in tune with each other. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the intonation on your guitar:
**Tools you'll need:**
1. A good quality electronic tuner.
2. A screwdriver (usually a Phillips head) to adjust the saddle position.
**Steps to Adjust Guitar Intonation:**
1. **Tune the Open Strings:** Before you start, make sure your open strings are correctly tuned to standard pitch using an electronic tuner.
2. **Check the Octave Fret:** Play the harmonic at the 12th fret (lightly touch the string directly above the 12thfretwire without pressing it down) and compare it to the 12th fret note you fret. If they are not the same, your intonation needs adjustment.
3. **Determine Sharp or Flat:** If the 12th fret note is sharp compared to the harmonic, it means the string length is too short (saddle needs to move backward). If it's flat, the string length is too long (saddle needs to move forward).
4. **Adjust the Saddle:** Most electric and acoustic guitars have adjustable saddles. Use your screwdriver to loosen the saddle screws slightly. Slide the saddle either forward (if flat) or backward (if sharp) in small increments.
5. **Retune and Repeat:** After making adjustments, retune the string to pitch and check the intonation again by comparing the 12th fret harmonic with the 12th fret note you're fretting. You may need to go back and forth, making small adjustments until they match perfectly.
6. **Repeat for All Strings:** Repeat the process for each string, making sure the harmonic and fretted 12th fret note are in tune.
7. **Check Other Frets:** While the 12th fret is the most common point of intonation adjustment, it's a good idea to check the 7th and 19th frets as well to ensure overall accuracy.
8. **Lock the Saddles:** Once you're satisfied with the intonation on all strings, tighten the saddle screws to secure their position.
9. **Retune and Play:** After making all the adjustments, retune your guitar. Your guitar should now be in tune not only on open strings but also as you move up and down the fretboard.
**Note:** Intonation adjustments can be a bit of trial and error, so be patient and make small changes. If you're not confident doing this yourself, consider taking your guitar to a professional luthier or a music store for a setup. Proper intonation is essential for a guitar to sound in tune and in harmony across its entire range.