An old guitarist saying is, "For every musical problem, there is a mechanical solution."
Guitarists think nothing of putting clamps, capos, whammy bars, etc. on their guitars to
correct problems and create effects. Maybe that's why I love the instrument so much.
Intonation is the ability of your guitar to note out properly as you play up the neck. Most acoustic guitars are set up at the factory so the High E and the A strings are OK and the other 4 strings are maybe close to OK. The Low E string suffers the most & usually notes out sharp as you play higher & higher up the neck. Even if your guitar is set up really well to begin with, a change in string gauges, lower tunings, string brands, or age itself can change things a lot.
This is a little experiment to try to temporarily fix an intonation problem on the 6th or Low E
string. Find a good quality hardwood toothpick (not like the free soft ones you usually get in
a restaurant), break the point off so it won't hit the A string when you slide it in and place
the toothpick under the Low E string approximately where the arrow shows in the picture. The
diameter of the toothpick should be large enough that a friction fit will keep it there while
playing. Now play the Low E string open and then at the 12th fret. If the 12th fret sounds too
sharp, move the toothpick up the neck a little and try it again. Do the opposite if the 12th
fret sounds flat. The 3rd fret or G tends to play flat so as usual a compromise must be made
while adjusting things. After you get things where you want them, re-tune the Low E string
and play! This toothpick trick can actually be used on any string that
notes out sharp at the 12th fret. A very useful trick for lower tunings
when the intonation changes.
After playing a while, if you like this new guitar...and it WILL seem like a NEW guitar, consider getting your saddle intonated by a competent repairman. This is also a good temporary trick to use if you're using someone else's guitar that has a bad set up or if you're going to record yourself and you want things to sound just right.
Gman ( o )==#
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