How often to intonate?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by dscottyg, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I do a complete set up on my working guitars every 3 months.
    I don't change string gauges, so the intonation is pretty stable.
     
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  2. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Intonate before a string change.
     
  3. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    Get a strobe tuner or very accurate tuner and setup the guitar in the playing position playing exactly how you usually play. Use a new set of strings. Then..you can install a second set of new strings that will be free of deformities and kinks.
    Tune up with the same tuner in the playing position playing how you usually play and check the intonation whenever you wish.
    The tuner takes out the guess work.
    A very well done setup will last much longer.
     
  4. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    If the instrument is easy to change intonation (like a Tele or a banjo), I check it after every string change...regardless if the gauge changes or not. Strings vary from package to package.

    On my acoustic...never.
     
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  5. Geo

    Geo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I usually check after string changes, post winter months or some other hardware or something like adding
    a neck shim. Pretty much anything that would change the string length difference between 12th fret and bridge
    saddle centers. Sometimes I find a variance and adjust or find no need to. Over the years found most often can tell
    by ear. It isn't absolutely necessary to put new strings to make the adjustment but good to recheck after installing new.
     
  6. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Generally you shouldn't need to go neat the intonation unless you change string gauge.I bought a 52 ri in 2006. I set it up then with compensated saddles and the intonation is still perfect
     
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  7. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    The intonation goes out of whack naturally when the strings are used up/ worn out. They accumulate corrosion and skin particles in the windings. First they go dead, then the intonation goes. About 20 sets does it for me, a week or two of steady gigging and rehearsals.

    You can squeeze a few days out of an old set if you take them off and boil them, gets the junk out of the windings.
     
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  8. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I thought this was a great question, and thanks to all the replies as I often wondered myself. Seems like I cannot blame my dissonant playing on the intonation anymore!
     
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  9. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    Unfortunately, some string brands will require you to intonate every time you change strings.

    I remember switching to DR Pure Blues strings years ago and had to re-intonate nearly every string change. It was strange, but true and why i gave up on that brand.
     
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  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I do a setup on all of my guitars in January and July. January is when it gets dry inside the house and July starts the humid season. Intonation on my Fenders has always been stable. I check it but rarely find anything I need to do about it. I changed from 11's to 10's on my SG last month. It's not holding tune now. My house is torn apart with a major renovation. I'll check why when I have my music room back and my regular amp out. I check intonation on my Gretsch Anniversary with every string change and sometimes sooner. It has a floating bridge and a tiny bump can push it off. I'd have expected the rollers to give me intonation issues because there's no compensation at all. I can move the bass and treble sides closer or farther from the nut, nothing more. Fortunately for me, I can hear when intonation is off. Unfortunately, it drives me crazy until I fix it.
     
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  11. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have 9 guitars and a bass. I change strings quarterly (except the bass) and I do a basic set up each time I change strings. I admit that I have rarely had to adjust intonation on a Fender after the initial adjustment. I check it because it’s on my check list.
     
  12. franblanc

    franblanc TDPRI Member

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    Old strings do not intonate, change them before adjusting any bridge screws.
     
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  13. tm1303

    tm1303 Tele-Meister

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    for my own guitars my rule of thumb is once it's set it is done but when someone is paying me I recommend once a month usually just after you get paid ;)

    You don't really need an ear for it though. Plug in a tuner, hit the 12th fret harmonic, hit the fretted 12th, if they match you're golden.
     
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  14. bbetancourt

    bbetancourt TDPRI Member

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    Hey - It's a Tele!
    You only need to do this once. Just like tuning ;-).
     
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  15. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Define ‘old’. Better to intonate with stretched strings.
     
  16. Bitoblues

    Bitoblues TDPRI Member

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    Whenever I change strings. Might just need a tiny tweak on one or two strings but I find it's just a good time to check it - when tools are out and tuner is plugged in.
     
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  17. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    I intonate every time I play a note. Not always as well as I'd like...
     
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  18. SackvilleDan

    SackvilleDan Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Intonation is a very easy thing to check. I recommend doing it every time you change strings - takes less than five minutes with a good tuner!
     
  19. decibel

    decibel Tele-Meister

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    Never unless there's a reason to (you'd hear it). Unless you consider tuning and checking octaves the same thing, in which case I do it every day. So, never or always.
     
  20. kilroy6262

    kilroy6262 TDPRI Member

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    So glad to hear so many people saying they don't do it very often. I know a couple of guitar players who obsess over setups and intonations, and their techs make a good living off guys like this. I've gone years, and I mean several years, without having to change the intonation. Maybe I've just been lucky, maybe I just have quality guitars, but I do have a reasonably good ear and despise an out of tune guitar.
     
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