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Joined: 13 Jan 2008
United States
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How to Setup intonate your Guitar - Gibson

by telecrater

4 Nov 2008
Views: 31486

This lesson is more about tweaking the hardware on your guitar rather than your chops. By knowing how to do this it will save you form having to stop by the music shop and being guitar less while the get around to doing this for you, and charging to $30 bucks or more. This is aimed at the Gibson style guitar that uses a Tune-O-Matic Bridge ans stop tail peace.

This Lesson will show you how properly intonation your guitar. Intonation basically sets your guitar so that each note on each fret is in tune. There are some limitations because the frets are embedded in the guitar. What we are going to do to do a "Best Effort" to put your guitar in proper intonation. I would recommend doing this once a year or so and also if you drastically change string gages such as from 9's to 11's.

Here is an image of the gibson tune-o-matic bridge

Notice the little screws there. These screws will move the bridge that holds your sting forward (toward the neck) and back. Also there are screws on the side or in this case thumb wheel that will raise the bridge up and down.

The best way to check your intonation is with a tuner on the octaves. For example play an open E on the 6th string, with a tuner make sure it's in tune, then move down to the 12th fret and play the E note still with the tuner. Is that E is tune or is it sharp or flat?

If it's flat you will want to alter the the screw on the bridge for the string you need to adjust. I highly recommend, loosing the string first, then make a 1/4 turn and tune back up and check the intonation. Repeat until all your strings are intonation.

Another aspect that is often over looked is action and height from the strings to the fretboard. By adjusting the thumb screws on the tune-o-matic bridge you raise and lower the bridge and also the height of your strings from the fretboard. An easy mistake is to lower the bridge too much and then you have a lot of feat buzzing. I recommend having the action high enough that there are no buzzing. You may have some areas that are problematic and the frets may need to be filed to remove the buzzing but this is left for professionals or junk guitars.

As always your feed back is always appreciated and feel free to post a comment or PM me any questions.

For questions or comments PM me



ive heard using the harmonic and the twelfth fret is better for intonation than hitting the note....though i realize its almost hte exact same thing, its on every site ive ever been to to hit the harmonic instead of the note


okay my guitar has the same bridge, but how can you move the bridge up and down without removing the strings?


thanks, i didn't know how to properly do that.


thank!! i always have mixed which way to move the screw, when itīs flat or sharp. now i know!


Thanks guys it's nice to see this old post is still used :)

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