how to intonate

Staggered, locking tuners—like the Sperzels on my Suhr Classic S—create enough downward tension on the nut to eliminate the need for a string tree, improve tuning stability, and make changing strings a breeze.

Tuning tips sure to make your life easier and audience happier.

My first instrument was violin. I picked it up a year before I got my first guitar and I played for about seven years. Though I haven't practiced in years, I think playing violin had a profound impact on my ear and my desire to play in tune at all times. There are no frets to guide you on the violin, so you have to be constantly aware of your intonation. There's nothing more excruciating than listening to an out-of-tune violinist! This month, I'm going to focus on maximizing the tuning stability of your electric guitars.

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Fig. 1: Our project guitar: A very cool 1993 MIJ ’62-reissue Fender Telecaster.

Vintage-style, straight-bar saddles will never intonate properly—we find a way to fix this issue that doesn’t involve replacing the entire bridge.

One of my clients recently brought me a fascinating guitar to work on (Fig. 1). It's a 1993 Japanese custom-shop Fender Telecaster that screams “1962-Tele-meets-Nascar." This Tele is in excellent condition and plays great, but not in tune. The bridge has three vintage-style, straight-bar saddles. Unfortunately, these saddles will never intonate properly (and they never did back in the day), so I need to find a way to fix this intonation issue that doesn't involve replacing the entire bridge.

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