How to Adjust Intonation

Any electric guitar needs the intonation adjustment on a regular basis. Intonation is adjusting the length of the strings. It adjusts every bridge’s saddle so that the string is equidistant from the 12th fret saddle and 12th fret nut. If the length of the string is very long, the tunes will sound very flat and low. If the length is short, the notes or tunes played will sound too sharp or high. This is a very basic adjustment. If you play electric guitars, you must know how to adjust intonation on guitars.

How to adjust intonation?

  1. Put down the guitar on a flat surface with the hind side of the guitar facing towards you. Place a blanket or a soft towel on a flat desk or table. To raise the neck of the guitar upwards, place a rolled towel below it.
  2. Plugging the guitar in the tuner, check each string for its pitch. The indicator or the LED light of the tuner should be right in the display’s center. Your guitar’s user manual will help you understand how to use the tuner.
  3. Play the ‘E’ string of the guitar and check for pitching and tuning with the guitar’s tuner. If required, adjust it using the tuning key. The tuner’s indicator has to be right at the center.
  4. There will be an adjustment screw on the rear, or the front side. Use a screwdriver to adjust this screw. If the screw is on the front side of the guitar, turn it in anticlockwise direction to move the guitar saddle forward and vice versa. If the screw is on the hind side, turn it in the clockwise direction to move the guitar’s saddle forward and vice versa.
  5. The 12th fret notes if sound flat, move the saddle forward, to reduce the length of the string. If it sounds sharp, move the saddle backwards. The movement is very minor, so do not over do it at once.
  6. Again using the tuner, tune the guitar’s open string. Fretting the guitar string on 12th fret you can check the guitar’s tuning. If still the notations sound flat, or too sharp, adjust the saddle again. You will have to adjust it twice or thrice to adjust the intonation on guitars.
  7. For strings 2B, E1, A5G3, D4, repeat steps 3-6 and adjust the intonation by adjusting the saddle.

Although, intonation adjustment is necessary and easy, you must know the pitch of the strings right to check the tuning and intonation.


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