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Guitar Care and Maintenance:
Setting Intonation on a Gibson Style Fixed Bridge


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If chords up around 5th or 7th position sound out of tune, or notes up high on the neck sound out of pitch while practicing your favorite solos - you might very well have an intonation issue. The notes on any string must be equal to their fret location and their natural scale temperment. In order to do this properly an electronic guitar tuner will be necessary. After installing and tuning a new set of guitar strings to standard pitch - with the tuner, check your guitars action (string height). Adjust the action to how you like it and do any other repairs necessary at this point (such as fixing any string, or fret buzz problems you might have).

Fixed Gibson Bridge
Gibson style fixed bridge.

With your tuner on, fret and check the note at the guitars first string, 12th fret. You will need to be quite careful here. Pressing or picking too hard will alter the accuracy of this test. If the note at the 12th fret is too high (sharp), or too low (flat), an adjustment will need to be performed.


If the note is SHARP, move the saddle AWAY from the fingerboard. If the note is FLAT, move the saddle TOWARD the fingerboard. After making the adjustments, check the notes again. You may have to repeat this process over and over until the 12th fret note is as accurate as possible in relation to the tuning of the open string.

Fender Bridge
NOTE: Bridges which are fixed might look differently from guitar to guitar. However, all fixed bridges will not have any whammy bar system.

Work through all of the guitar strings, repeating this process until the intonation adjustments for each string are complete. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to have a reference instrument, (such as an electronic keyboard), to compare all of the notes on each string to. Continue to tune and adjust the saddles until every string rings out as true to pitch as possible. After you feel satisfied with your adjustments, play a few barre chords and try a solo or two just to see how true the notes ring to pitch!