Customer Testimonials

Tuning & Intonation

When your instrument has been calibrated to your preferred preferences your instrument will be a pleasure to play. This is true of any instrument in good condition with the frets placed in correct mathematical position

Helpful Hints

In order for your guitar to sound in tune the following must first be established.

  • Your preferred string guage type and brand
  • Open string tuning
  • Action, String Clearance Settings at nut bridge and neck relief.

When you are comfortable with your choices it is then time to have the intonation of your instrument calibrated.

Any alterations made to any of these three options after calibration will affect the accuracy of your intonation.

Dos & Don'ts of Maintaining Instrument Tuning & Intonation


  • Calibrate to your string and tuning
  • Use a reference note from a tuning fork or tuner
  • Restring your guitar regularly
  • Replace strings when rusty
  • Replace strings when excessively indented from fret
  • Tune the string up to pitch when comparing to the reference


  • Don't tune with open string harmonics
  • Don't rest neck on bench when tuning

Other Factors affecting Intonation

  • High Frets
  • Varied finger pressure on string (mainly excessive)
  • Pitted wide frets
  • Inaccurate technique
  • Non familiarity with instrument
  • Other instruments are not in tune
  • Other instruments are not accurately calibrated
  • Strings are to too flexible

Equal Temperament

Many guitarists ask why it is so difficult to tune the guitar and the answer lies in the system itself.

Equal temperament is a system of tuning constructed by a mathematical ratio which makes all semitones equal. The advantage of this system is that all intervals have the same value in all keys allowing musicians to modulate to any key with ease.

This mathematical construct compromises the tempered values for the major and minor thirds and sixths from a naturally constructed scale.

For example the major third interval has a discrepancy of being 14 cents (14 percent of a semitone) sharp compared to the natural scale. If your guitar is out of tune by an additional 5 cents this will sound wildly out of tune.

The strings of a guitar are tuned in intervals of fourths with a major third between the g and b strings, this is one major reason for it

Mechanical Tuning

The strings on a guitar are anchored from the machine heads (tuners) to the bridge or tailpiece. Problems occur when

  • Tuners have backlash and drop in pitch
  • The floating tremolo needs servicing as it is not returning to same position
  • An Archtop bridge has moved from position
  • The bridge anchors are not securely attached
  • The tuners are not securely attached
  • The strings get caught in the nut slot
  • Loose struts
  • Thin Collapsing soundboard
  • The nut is chipped

Buzz Feiten

My workshop is an authorised Buzz Feiten retrofitter for all fretted instruments. This is due to the fact that I have undertaken the Feiten retrofitters' course in Los Angles under the tutelage of the designers Buzz Feiten and Greg Back in 2002.

The result of this training gave me valuable insights into the intricacies of the system for all fretted instruments. If you are interested in this don't hesitate to come in and try out a Buzz Feiten retrofitted guitar.

Simple Tuning Method

Often you may have difficulty tuning your guitar or keeping your guitar in tune. If this is the case you may want to try the following tuning method and see if this helps.

Octave Method

  • Step 1: Tune the open 1st 'E' string to a tuner
  • Step 2: Tune the 2nd 'B' string fretted at the 5th fret to match the open 1st string
  • Step 3: Tune the 3 rd 'G' string fretted at the 9th fret to match the open 1st string
  • Step 4: Tune the 4th 'D' string fretted at the 14th fret to match the open 1st string
  • Step 5: Tune the 5th 'A' string fretted at the 7th fret to match the open 1st string
  • Step 6: Tune the 6th 'E' string open to match the open 1st string
  • Step 7: After all string are sounding in tune compared to the 1st 'E' string you can play a simple chord consisting of 'E' and ' B' notes it is an E5 chord and I find by tempering any offending notes the 'G' string helps to get the guitar well balanced across the whole fretboard

If after this your guitar still does not play in tune, bring it in for an inspection and we will be able to rectify the problem.

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