Why do we need intonation adjustment?
On string instruments, the fret spacing along the fretboard is calculated according to a mathematical formula. This formula is theoretical, though, and doesn’t take into account variables, such as string tension (tuning), string thickness (gauge) and string height (action). These variables make the actual pitch of a string, which is pressed down against a fret, deviate from the theoretically correct pitch. To compensate for this pitch offset, you need some sort of intonation adjustment that sets the correct intonation (or octave compensation) for each string.
On acoustic guitars correct intonation is achieved by an angled bridge saddle, often carefully shaped to fine-tune the compensation further.
Early electric guitars were basically modified archtop acoustics, which carried on using traditional rosewood (or ebony) archtop bridges with carved „steps“ presetting the intonation. Overall intonation adjustment was carried out by moving the whole bridge carefully closer to (or…
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