Acceptable Intonation tolerance

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by SPECTRUM001, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. SPECTRUM001

    SPECTRUM001 TDPRI Member

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    Hello - this will have been discussed before (I did search, but couldn’t quite find an appropriate thread).

    Is there an opinion on an acceptable intonation standard with three barrel (uncompensated) saddles ?

    Given that a guitar is not a Formula One car, nor a perfect science and will move with climate and play - I would never expect it to be pure precision. That said, I am coming in a little sharp on the low E, A and G when checking at the twelfth (using a digital tuner) fret.

    What say ye - do you expect perfect intonation ?

    Thanks !
     
  2. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You’ll never get “perfect” intonation up and down the neck and in various intervals, so the best you can do is set it where it works best for your playing.
     
  3. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

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    I would care about to low E the least. G is a bit of a culprit, and you might be able compensate at the saddle.

    Regardless, split the difference between the strings on each barrel. It will be good enough for rock’n’roll.
     
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  4. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    James Taylor tunes his guitars slightly flat and says he gets a sweeter sound out of it so I would err on that side.

    I put Glendale brass compensated saddles on my two Teles and I think it helps a little but still not perfect. I also love the way they look.
     
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  5. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Set it up - play through some of your usual stuff for a couple minutes. If it sounds good, it is good.
     
  6. SPECTRUM001

    SPECTRUM001 TDPRI Member

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    That’s an interesting thought - tune slightly flat, which would bring strings to pitch as they climb up the neck.

    To be honest, it doesn’t bother me too much, however I am interested in what variation is considered acceptable amongst this community.
     
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  7. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    many, many ways to get very close. and, yes, there have been discussions ad infinitum here, but just for reference sakes, here's a discussion by Jerry Donahue, who may or may not be your flavor of music, but he's been around telecasters for a good long while, and you can be fairly certain his approach is based on long experience:

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/...donahue-on-telecaster-style-bridge-intonation

    I haven't actually read this whole piece but I would say that his approach finds a lot agreement here.

    I wrestle with the demons in my own way and it works for me. I'm not sure I even do it the same way every time or could not reliably state that to be true.

    best of luck to you.
     
  8. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    My luthier always sets the intonation just slightly flat. Why? With finger pressure you can pull it into tune. If it is sharp, you are up doo-doo creek and can't do anything about it.

    Bob
     
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  9. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

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    Good modern tuners are sensitive to within 1 cent. Sharp human ears are sensitive to within about 4 cents, and most are not that good. If you can get each string to within 5 or 6 cents on two-barrel bridges, you should be fine. Intonation really matters only when you're playing far up the neck. If most of your playing is in the money zone down around frets 1-5, you don't have much to worry about anyway.
     
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  10. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Intonation is only good at the fret you adjust to with only one string being perfect, so don't fret:D about it too much. I flatten my B string regardless.

    I play blues, so a little off is usually a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  11. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    Don't forget that pretty much everything else on the instrument is a compromise. Even if you get the 12th fret to be exactly twice the frequency of open, the way the rest of the frets fell out might not be ideal. You may, in some cases, want to sacrifice a couple of cents at the octave if it helps keep some of the frets you use more closer to in-tune.
     
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  12. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    I'd just do it by ear and be done with it. That's what's good enough. I use a TC Electronics Polytune, so it can be super-accurate. But it's the ear that really counts. If you're looking for a baseline of "acceptable," it's your ears.
     
  13. Prototype

    Prototype TDPRI Member

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    When you're messing with it and it's time to eat dinner, you know you're done.
     
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  14. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

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    It’s never perfect but as close as I can get it. I normally tune my G string alittle flat. When I tune I will fret the A note on the G and tune that note instead of the open string. It makes my D chords sound better but it’s not flat enough to bother me ear when playing a G chord
     
  15. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted

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    I intonate by ear, listening for beating between a reference note and the target note. Close enough is good enough.

    For tuning, I tune my d-string first, then tune d's on all the other strings. (Sometimes I have to adjust the low-e so 3rd fret g doesn't beat against g at fret 5 on the d-string.)

    A critical thing I've found for both intonation and tuning is having nut slots cut as low as possible.
     
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  16. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

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    That's a great way to approach intonation when you don't have a tuner handy! Thanks for the tip.
     
  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just split the errors. Trust me, nobody in your audience will notice. (That girl who seems to be staring at your bridge is really just checking out how your pants fit LOL)
     
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  18. craigs63

    craigs63 Tele-Holic

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    Low E and A are on the same saddle, move it!
     
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  19. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted

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    I even do this with a tuner. I find it yields a more overall in-tune guitar than tuning the open strings spot on.
     
  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Realizing that the guitar is not an equal tempered instrument, and that when one fret is properly intonated, all the others are not... I intonate the 12th against it's harmonic.

    With three barrels, I split the difference. Low E is always sharp, though, and if I let it have it's way, it throws everything off. So, I focus on the A, and then 'give a little' for the E.

    E and B are usually a breeze. G can be very noticeable, and requires attention.
     
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