Intonation

rfrizz

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I use a keyboard and my ear. The only way to do it is to listen to the "beats" as the two overlapping frequencies get closer and closer. It isn't quite as good as a stroboscopic, but it beats the hell out of a Boss TU-3.
 

neoclassical

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I use a Peterson with the guitar in the playing position approximating my or the player's described touch. I also tune the 5th fret and intonate at the 17th in EQU mode (per Peterson's recs) I feel it gives better results all over, but especially higher up.
 

ehb

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Love the Peterson clip-on Strobe.... We use the Peterson black & blue at the shop.
 

rfrizz

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I use a Peterson with the guitar in the playing position approximating my or the player's described touch. I also tune the 5th fret and intonate at the 17th in EQU mode (per Peterson's recs) I feel it gives better results all over, but especially higher up.
I completely forgot about checking intonation at the 17th fret, so I'm glad you mentioned it. From my limited experience, most guitars cannot have precise intonation at both the 12th & 17th frets, so I try to split the difference. Everything I know is self taught from a book/website (basics of intonation) to tricks I have discovered on my own (e.g., intonation at the 17th fret.)

You and rogue3 both tout Peterson, and I agree that they are the Gold Standard of intonation. But the amount of gold required to buy one can be too much, especially for players who had to scrimp for their $250 Epi Les Paul.

I know that tuning (and setting intonation) by ear isn't as spot on as a good strobe, but if that's all a player can afford, it moots the point. As I mentioned, I can beat a Boss TU-3 with my ears. (I didn't mention that the Boss TU-3 kinda sucks.)
 

rfrizz

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Yup, just meant to intonate before the string change...or stretch the bejezzus outta the new ones before intonating.
I try to do intonation with new strings immediately after they have been broken in, and only when I really need to reset the intonation (new guitar, different gauge or manufacturer, action or truss adjustment). Then I want to take my time to get it right.

[Warning: The following is just my opinion...]
When a string is still playable, but nearing the end, it will have uneven wear. When a string is fresh but not broken in, it isn't in the same state it will be for most of its life, and that can make the intonation off when it does break in.

I'm not sure how much stretching you mean by the bejezzus, but I am careful with that because I don't want to kill the string's elasticity. I've seen web sites (guitarandbass.com for one) which advise tuning up a whole fret. Maybe I'm just a 'fraidy cat, but that makes me nervous!
 

LPMarshall Hack

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******Stupid question alert*******

Do you do anything different when checking intonation with a tuner?

Or do you just make sure both the open string and the 12th fret are in tune (green light on tuner)?

I have a Korg Pitchblack...maybe not accurate enough?
 

neoclassical

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I started with the Stroboclip and then got the HD. It's tough doing an intonation job with the clip on. It doesn't hold the note as long. Also the clip broke a while ago.

A Korg Pitchblack would work for most. I did intonation jobs back in the 90's with a Sabine, a Korg, and a Seiko at different points and that kind of accuracy was good enough for everyone. The strobe tech is much cheaper now so it's the new standard.
 

ehb

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CB91710

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I'm not sure how much stretching you mean by the bejezzus, but I am careful with that because I don't want to kill the string's elasticity. I've seen web sites (guitarandbass.com for one) which advise tuning up a whole fret. Maybe I'm just a 'fraidy cat, but that makes me nervous!
A half-step is not that big of a deal. Look at different string gauges... 8-38, 9-42, 10-46, 11-48, 12-56, 9-46, 10-52, 11-54, 12-62....
8-38 compared to 12-62, the set of 12's is tuned up a hair over 5 frets.

But I wouldn't tune the whole thing up 1/2 step and leave it for any length of time, unless I'm having trouble pulling relief into the neck. New strings get stretched individually when installed, retuned and stretched again. Intonation is solid once the strings reach stable tuning.
 

rfrizz

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A half-step is not that big of a deal. Look at different string gauges... 8-38, 9-42, 10-46, 11-48, 12-56, 9-46, 10-52, 11-54, 12-62....
8-38 compared to 12-62, the set of 12's is tuned up a hair over 5 frets.

But I wouldn't tune the whole thing up 1/2 step and leave it for any length of time, unless I'm having trouble pulling relief into the neck. New strings get stretched individually when installed, retuned and stretched again. Intonation is solid once the strings reach stable tuning.
Thanks... I hadn't looked at it this way.

Incidentally, I have an unusually good Epi LePo with a maxed-out truss rod. If I try to adjust it for 9s or 8s, the rod goes loose. Unless I have 10s or 11s string on it, the neck has backbow.
 

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Thanks... I hadn't looked at it this way.

Incidentally, I have an unusually good Epi LePo with a maxed-out truss rod. If I try to adjust it for 9s or 8s, the rod goes loose. Unless I have 10s or 11s string on it, the neck has backbow.
It's not a 2-way truss rod? The Gibson US models don't, but a lot of Epi's do, including apparently my '14 SG Aged.
It's funny that all 4 of my US guitars, all worth (or sold for) over $1100, lack 2-way truss rods.
 

rfrizz

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It's not a 2-way truss rod? The Gibson US models don't, but a lot of Epi's do, including apparently my '14 SG Aged.
It's funny that all 4 of my US guitars, all worth (or sold for) over $1100, lack 2-way truss rods.
If by 2-way, you mean the ability to increase or decrease backbow (or frontbow) then yes. I didn't know there was any other kind, except for the guitars with two truss rods.

One guess for my guitar is maybe it gradually developed backbow over the years (I got it in 2003) and it exceeded the ability of the truss rod to correct it.
 

rfrizz

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I started with the Stroboclip and then got the HD. It's tough doing an intonation job with the clip on. It doesn't hold the note as long. Also the clip broke a while ago.
What if you clipped it to an amplifier?
 
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rfrizz

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That’s what I use at home. Extremely accurate.. It is a strobe.

Love the ‘Sweetened’modes too...
That is what I was looking for. "Strobe" I don't care for the Boss TU3 and the microprocessor doing fast Fourier transforms.

I once made a quick 'n dirty stroboscope with a Raspberry Pi, a transistor, and a couple of LED bulbs. It was extremely accurate, but unfortunately, it could only do integer values. If only it used milliseconds....
 
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dro

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What if you clipped it to an amplifier?
If you're clip broke, call Peterson. They will make it right. One of the best companies in the US> 1-708-388-3311
You have two options. Either you are in tune, or you are not.
If you are using a Snark, I'd say you are not.
Always intonate with guitar in playing position.
Gravity will move the neck enough to throw it out.
If you play with headstock up by your head. Intonate that way.
If you play with headstock pointed down, Intonate that way.
And please Please PLEASE keep it off of a neck rest.
Neck rests are good for holding you're guitar still. But tuning will give you false results.
When you rest you're guitar on a neck rest, it adds bow to you're neck. Tune it and then pick it up and you'll be sharp.
And remember, a guitar is a touch sensitive instrument. So how you play it will determine the note value.
I have a very light touch. So I intonate with that in mind.
If I had a heavier touch that would change things.
 
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rfrizz

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And please Please PLEASE keep it off of a neck rest.
One of the most screwed-up things I frequently see in guitar shops is a "tech" setting the intonation with the neck rest under the neck, and just short of the headstock. They could at least put the damned thing by the body. Either way, there are a lot of techs out there who are self-taught, but poorly self-taught.
 


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