Guitar intonation

Ed Seith

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    Guitars are imperfect instruments. There was an attempt to fix such problems all the way up the fretboard. They're called "true temperament" frets, and they're the squiggly frets that honestly, don't see a whole ton of use out there. The tried and true method is to intonate 12th fret fretted notes to exactly match 12th fret natural harmonics using the most accurate and reliable tuner you can. There are some who also swear by "sweetened" tuning, which is configuring your modern electronic tuner to a few cents +/- depending on the string.

    It's also possible that you have a flat spot on a fret or two?

    truetemperament.jpg
     

    William Byerley

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    Guitars are imperfect instruments. There was an attempt to fix such problems all the way up the fretboard. They're called "true temperament" frets, and they're the squiggly frets that honestly, don't see a whole ton of use out there. The tried and true method is to intonate 12th fret fretted notes to exactly match 12th fret natural harmonics using the most accurate and reliable tuner you can. There are some who also swear by "sweetened" tuning, which is configuring your modern electronic tuner to a few cents +/- depending on the string.

    It's also possible that you have a flat spot on a fret or two?

    truetemperament.jpg
    looks like the picture is warped xD
    would be awkward to play seems like and need to get accustomed
    maybe it has more possible harmonics?
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    What Ed Said (tm). When you're well north of the 12th fret, then it's possibly something to do with the level of the frets. Is it out by a lot or just a little ?
    Quite a bit, I only noticed it today.

    At first I though 'ooh just gotta change strings' until I realized the strings are pretty new

    If there's a fix for this I would very much like to know 😅
     
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    Forgetabull

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    TBH, I have very little experience with expensive guitars (ie: a squire strats have been about the most expensive guitars I've worked on). With cheaper guitars, the fret work is often not so good post the 12th fret, you tend to see this more obviously as fret buzz and intonation issues (I guess they don't expect people to play above the 12th fret) ? However, I can't say about good guitars as I've only played the odd couple in a guitar store that were neither set up or clean..

    I would say your two choices are:

    1) Intonate accross the whole neck (so that they'll all be a bit out, but no end is "majorly" out)
    2) Get a good guitar tech to set it up and do the fret levelling etc.
     

    Ids Schiere

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    TBH, I have very little experience with expensive guitars (ie: a squire strats have been about the most expensive guitars I've worked on). With cheaper guitars, the fret work is often not so good post the 12th fret, you tend to see this more obviously as fret buzz and intonation issues (I guess they don't expect people to play above the 12th fret) ? However, I can't say about good guitars as I've only played the odd couple in a guitar store that were neither set up or clean..

    I would say your two choices are:

    1) Intonate accross the whole neck (so that they'll all be a bit out, but no end is "majorly" out)
    2) Get a good guitar tech to set it up and do the fret levelling etc.
    Hmm, those are good suggestions. I'm gonna look up a guitar tech I think.
     

    Chris Johnston

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    Kinda low really
    Ah Gotcha, usually with high action above the 12th you can get intonation issues because of that - I've had a few students with Guitar's not set up quite right and they've had that issue 🤔

    Best bet is finding a good luthier to give the instrument a look over and sort the issues, it might even be a simple fix 😊
     
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    Forgetabull

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    A good guitar tech should be able to do it. The inherent difference is someone who makes guitars vs someone who just services them. ie. I know how to service a guitar, change magnets in a pickup, level frets etc, but I don't know any of the eccentricities of making a guitar from scratch.

    Edit: Finding a good one might be the issue though. In oz, the techs in the smaller boutique type guitar shops are pretty good, the ones in the major shops are a bit meh.
     
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