Does setting intonation in the playing position as opposed to on the bench really matter?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Cheap guitar guy, May 12, 2019.

  1. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    Just curious to people's thoughts. I do it all on the bench.
     
  2. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I think it does.

    You’re talking about micro-adjustments.

    When you’ve got the guitar on the bench, more often than not, there’s something supporting the neck in such a way that the neck bow is effected, which effects everything else.

    I always try to do my final adjustments with the guitar hanging around me from a strap.
     
  3. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    So if you did it on the bench. Tuned the string and checked intonation. Then tuned it in the standing posistion isn't it a wash. I am probably reading way too much into this. Lol
     
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  4. GuitarKid

    GuitarKid Tele-Meister

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    gravity affects the neck and the action, even if slightly. the difference may be insignificant, but I prefer to adjust intonation with the guitar on my lap.
     
  5. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Probably depends on a ton a variables. The difference may be negligible on some guitars. But it doesn’t take long to check it while hanging from a strap and make final adjustments.
     
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes.

    You can check it. Tune the guitar in playing position. Then lay it on its back. Check tuning ...


    ...And they say tone wood of the body matters while forgetting the neck wood or the neck truss rod -- that's good tone steel there.

    .
     
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  7. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm going to disagree about intonation. If it's spot on laying down I think it will be spot on in the up position. I haven't done the lay flat tune vs up position tuning test but even if the tune does vary, I still don't think it will affect intonation.
     
  8. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Tele-Afflicted

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    I went to see a friend at a gig last night, and his whole guitar just sounded off. Couldn't put my finger on it, but something wasn't right. So during the break I asked him, and he said, yes, he had intonated the guitar the day before on the bench, not on his lap. Actually, no, none of this happened.
     
  9. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    I don't know, but I don't see that any deviance would be that noticeable. I'm sure it could be measured using advanced calibrating/gauging tools, but I doubt it would be to the extent that I would be able to hear or feel any differences.
    In my opinion only. I'm no expert, and I've only done benchtop setups.
     
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  10. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    ?
     
  11. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    Does it make a difference? Possibly.
    Does it matter? No.
     
  12. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    Since you seldom play the guitar laying down, I don't anyway, I have always intonated it while in the natural playing position. That eliminate the chance of there being a difference in positions.
    But, if you really want to test the OP's concern, I suggest doing it either with an SG or a Mosrite, both guitars having such a long unsupported neck, would answer the question once and for all. For what it's worth.
     
  13. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Intonation is intonation. I don't think it would change much from a bench adjustment compared to a strapped on adjustment. And even if it did, would it really matter? We are talking about intonation at one fret. Everything else is off anyway.
     
  14. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    C'mon, guys. We're talking intonation, not tuning. You can set intonation on the bench. That string length doesn't change when you pick up the guitar. You don't need to ask anybody here, just check it out for your self.
     
  15. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Friend of Leo's

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    I set my intonation from a playing position and according to my “average hand pressure.”
    In other words, I allow for my playing pressure and position and gravity pull to be compensated for with my intonation.
     
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  16. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    I always check it on the bench and playing position but it never seems to make a difference. Its a stretch tuned instrument and is always gonna be “close enough for live” as my old teacher and luthier used to say. I guess YMMV though.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I certainly find that a thinner neck goes in and out of tune depending on position, and even just having my hand on the tuner vs off.
    If a thinner neck keeps bending in and out of tune, get a fatter neck!

    But intonation?
    No, the intonation setting is not different for the position of the guitar.

    Now if we set the guitar on the bench in such a way that bends the neck and puts the guitar out of tune, maybe we need to adjust our bench setup!
    But even if the tuning changes a little when the position is changed, the length of the strings and location of the frets will not change.

    Certainly easy enough to check the intonation in playing position, but if we are setting the intonation on the bench and then find it's off in playing position, IMO we are propping the guitar on the bench wrong, and need to rectify that problem.

    If using a neck cradle, just move it along the neck and see if the tuning goes up or down.
    I prefer no cradle for most setup chores, and a thin neck with heavy tuners might bend up in pitch. With a cradle too near the headstock it might bend down in pitch.
    Move the cradle closer to the body so it stays in tune if it's an issue.
     
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  18. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Intonating on a bench is preferable if you plan on playing your guitar laying flat in your lap or while it's laying flat on a bench.

    I find it quicker and easier to set intonation on a tele while you are holding it in playing position. It also pays to go for maximum accuracy when you are splitting the difference on a 3 barrel saddle bridge because you will struggle to get perfect intonation anyway.
    Especially if it's on a guitar you have just finished throwing together with new strings, neck fitted for the first time etc.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  19. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Cracked me up...LOL!
     
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  20. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    How well does the player play in tune? If the skills are there, maybe it's worth worrying about this minutia. Most players don't focus on tuning enough to develop those skills so it wouldn't matter, because if you checked their notes and chords with a strobe, there would be so many notes that were sharp that any tiny difference in the intonation adjustment would be negligible in comparison.
     
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