What is ‘intonation’? Why does it matter?

Intonation is the measure of how well a guitar stays in tune as you play at different positions on the neck. If the guitar is slightly misaligned or has warped from being in transit or storage, it may seem out of tune when you play it even though the open strings are tuned correctly.

Intonation is all about the notes being in tune all the way up the fretboard, and a quick way to give the intonation on your instrument a basic check is to hit a harmonic note on the 12th fret, and compare it with the same note fretted.

If the note is slightly sharp when pressed down on the 12th fret, the string needs to be lengthened at the bridge. If the note is slightly flat, the string needs to be shortened. You can adjust the length of the strings using the bridge on most electric guitars and basses.

Fixing the intonation on an acoustic guitar is a bit more complicated, however bad intonation can usually be fixed, and our resident guitar techs are experts at sorting it out!