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Intonating your electric guitar or bass

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Tom, it's no bother! I know typing out a question is a different langauge is a challenge; it just takes a bit longer to understand sometimes.

If the note is flat then you need to adjust the saddle towards the nut, towards the tuning keys. Detune to do this because as you slide the saddle forward it will increase the tension on the string and will raise the pitch to be sharp/out of tune.

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That's the one and those are the notes you intonate to.;)

Ah... I see... I always thought you hade to have a chromatic tuner to intonate. :o

Hah, then the tuner was nearly right in front of my nose all the time...

Thank you very much! :)

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JessThrasher    10

I set up my own guitar all by myself with alittle help from my "self taught guitar tech" bandmate. He was so surprized so he asked my other bandmate to have me set up his bass. It turned out ok, the bass was acually easier to set up for some reason. Now I can't wait to go around helping all my friends set up their axes!

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hb    0
Intonating your electric guitar or bass

Is the fretted note flat? This means the saddle for that string in the bridge is too far away from the nut. Is the fretted note sharp? This means the saddle for that string is too close to the nut. You already know what to do, don't you? First, detune the string so saddle adjustment is easier, then using either the screwdriver or the allen/hex wrench, adjust the saddle whichever direction you need to, retune, and try it again. When the fretted note is dead on zero as well as while the string is open it's dead on zero, then that string is done. Move on to the next one. Perform all tunings and fretted notes with the guitar in your lap in a playing position; do not lay the guitar on it's back and make these adjustment. It's that easy!

Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. I have the guitar in perfect tune and a string is sharp at the 12th fret. I move the bridge back a little to get it in tune at the 12th fret but when I check the tuning of the open string, it is now flat. I seem to be just chasing around in circles trying to get them both the same. Am I doing something wrong or do you just keep screwing the bridge back and forth till it all falls together?

Thanks in advance,

hb

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hb    0

Never mind............I got it. I think I wasn't loosening the string when moving the screw. When I de-tuned and then moved the screw, it worked fine.

thanks anyway,

hb

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Sentry    0
how about the height of the saddles? Do I need to adjust every single one to a specific height or all in the same height?

Easiest way to make sure the strings follow the radius of the fretboard is to adjust the saddle heights of each saddle so that each string is a consistent distance from the frets. Usually I set my 3 thinner strings (G, B, & high E) to 3/64 of an inch above the 12th fret and my 3 thicker strings (Low E, A, and D) to 4/64 of an inch above the 12th fret on my strat with individually adjustable saddles. On my Les Paul clone and my hollow body, both of which have tune-o-matic bridges, I just set the high E to 3/64" and the low E to 4/64". But that's just me. I have the lower strings slightly higher simply because I tend to hit the low strings harder, producing a higher wave amplitude in their vibrations. Different people with different playing styles have different string height* preferences. Some players with a very light touch, like Ynwie Malmsteen, have string heights around 2/64", whereas Stevie Ray Vaughn had 7/64" distance!!!!

For a beginner, I personally recommend setting up your string heights to 3/64" or 4/64". If your strings buzz against the frets, then before you raise them make SURE that the buzzing is audible through your amp before you do anything about it. A very slight string buzz that can be heard without the guitar plugged in usually isn't audible through the amp. If it is audible through the amp, make sure your truss rod is set up properly before raising the saddles more. I believe all this is covered in the "Fret Buzz" thread in this forum. To measure your string heights, you should use either an engineer's steel ruler with 64th of an inch increments, or get a string action gauge. To measure your truss rod setup you will need a feeler gauge. Feeler gauges can usually be found at your local auto parts store.

You should make sure that both your string height and truss rod are adjusted to your liking BEFORE you set up your intonation. How far the strings are from the frets affects how far out of a straight line they are when fretted, which thus affects intonation.

If you're starting to think that a guitar is a finicky instrument that relies upon a delicate balance of way too many factors, well.... you're right. But it's fun to play and once you get everything adjusted properly it will be a long time before you have to do it again (unless you change string gauges, like going from 9 gauge to 11). Also, it doesn't have to be perfect. If your intonation is sharp or flat by a very small amount odds are that no human ear will be able to tell the difference.

Hope this helps.

*The height of the strings above the frets is called "String Action", by the way.

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Clabon    0

Hi,

I have a Fender Strat, with an e string that sounds too flat at the twelth fret. I tried to do what your article says, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

I'm not good with the names of things, but here goes:

So I am adjusting the screw on the bridge that has the spring and the thing the string goes through on the other end of it? So that the thing the string goes through is going closer or further away from the nut (the bit at the end of the frets bfore the headstock)? I've been doing this all day and it hasn't made any difference.

Also interested to know why it matters whether it is on your lap or in a playing position while you adjust it?

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fly135    5

The "thing" the string goes through is the saddle. If you string is too flat at the 12th fret, you need to shorten the string. You do this by adjusting the screw to move the saddle closer to the fretboard. If you are seeing no effect by moving it then you either aren't moving it very much or not measuring the pitch very well. If you move the saddle the pitch must change. Make sure that you retune the open string every time you adjust the saddle before measuring the pitch at the 12th fret.

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nicksdad12    0

The neck flexes differently in playing position, but it's not really that big a difference. I find it easiest to start it lying flat, then fine tune it in playing position.

Also you need a good tuner to set the intonation. And the low strings can give funny readings depending on how hard you press and pluck. Close is probably good enough.

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johnmay    0

Thanks for all this info > I adjusted the action and intonated a First Act some one purchased at a yard sale and gave to me . the pick-up is still awful but it plays like a decent guitar now .next I know a man who will sell me used pickups from his shop cheap .I wonder how many is too many?????:) if I am going to practice and experiment it should probably be on a cheap guitar, right ?

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johnmay    0

If you want a couple humbuckers from an Epi Dot plus tuner, stop tailpiece and bridge let me know. I have no use for them. I have the knobs and pots, too.

sure if I can afford them . I have been given two guitars lately both inexpensive but learning a great deal experimenting . I have gone from not owning a guitar to having six laying around the house . I gave my daughter back the the old Vox that I had borrowed,now I need to take the fender to my dad just so I can have room to bring home a yamaha, I think I will keep my brothers classical for awhile that that leaves me two to play around with and two to play. I'm loving it .I may never go back to work

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