Guitar intonation refers to whether strings are sharp, flat, or in tune when fretted at different locations on the neck. A guitar with improperly set intonation may sound in tune when notes or chords are played at the top of the neck near the headstock, but will sound off when played further up on the neck near the body.
How to adjust a guitar’s bridge and intonation By:
eHow Arts & Entertainment Editor
There are a number of things that can interfere with the intonation of an electric guitar; however, when musicians talk about setting the guitar’s intonation, they are generally referring to adjustments made at the guitar’s bridge to alter string lengths. This is done by moving the saddles forward or backward until they open the strings and the harmonics are in perfect tune.
Step 1: Observe the styling on the bridge of your guitar so that you can locate the saddle screws and select the right tool for turning them.
Step 2: Tune your guitar strings. Then select a string to start with and play the twelfth fret harmonic.
Step 3: Use the electronic tuner to assess the string’s twelfth fret harmonic. Notice whether it is slightly sharp or slightly flat.
Step 4:Lengthen the string if the harmonic is sharp. Use the screwdriver or wrench to turn the saddle screw clockwise a fraction of an inch. Tune the string and check the harmonic against the electronic tuner. Adjust until the string and harmonic are tuned.
Step 5: Shorten the string if the harmonic is flat. Use your screwdriver or Allen wrench to turn the saddle screw a fraction of an inch counter clockwise. Tune the string and check the harmonic. Keep adjusting fractionally until you have it right in tune.
Different makes and models have different bridge and saddle arrangements. The screws you turn to adjust the intonation may require a screw driver or an Allen wrench, and their locations on the bridge may be different.
Reset your guitar’s intonation by adjusting the saddles at least once a year. Make minor adjustments any time you change to different gauge strings.