Guitar Intonation

Balancing the intonation across the entire guitar is critical to getting a professional sound. Your open chords might sound fine and nicely in tune, but when you go to solo on the high notes you find something is not sounding right. This is because the actual string length needs to be adjusted.

Especially on new guitars you should always check the intonation since it's not always right straight from the factory. In order to do a test, first tune your open strings as precisely as you can with a digital tuner. Next, play each string at the 12th fret being careful not to bend the string or put undo pressure on it.

Check each string on the tuner as you play the 12th fret (octave). If the note is perfectly in tune when fretted at the 12th fret, you are done for that string. If the note at the 12th fret is sharp you have to move the saddle down or away from the pickups, and vice versa.

On a typical electric guitar with a "floating" tremolo system, you have a screw that holds the saddle to the bridge. First you want to.....

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