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12th harmonic and 12th fret? or open and 12th fret?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Frugle, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    When setting the intonation... The website posted above says to tune the open string, and then play the 12th fret, if it is set correctly it should be the same tuning wise...

    but other people have told me that I'm supposed to set the intonation by tuning the 12th fret, and then see if the 12th fret harmonic is tuned the same..

    which one is correct?
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    12th fret harmonic > 12th fret. Adjust bridge accordingly.

    Peterson Tuners also recommends setting intonation by fretting at the 5th and 17th frets. Supposed to compensate for inconsistencies over the entire 24 fret range.

  3. I believe the result is the same.

    I want to know how to check the 12th fret harmonic. How do you do that?
  4. You just play the twelvth fret harmonic (touch the string there and pluck it).
  5. OK, I think I know but it is hard to do
  6. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    shouldn't be if your guitar is setup right..

    just place your finger above the 12th fret (without holding down) and pluck it.... if that doesn't work well, pluck and then let up your finger...

    should ring the same octave as if you held down the 12th fret...
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The octave harmonic (12th fret) will always be the same pitch as the open string. So, either will work in setting intonation.
  8. Frugle,
    Thanks for explaining
  9. +1 my tuner isn't all that accurate, so I do rely on my ear heavily for adjusting intonation (with good results, mind you)...
    I find that matching the 12th harmonic and the 12th fret tones easier than the open string.

    With that said, check it all...if intonation is right, it should all line up.
  10. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    By the laws of physics, the 12th fret harmonics will ALWAYS be exactly the same note (just an octave higher) as the open string, no matter how bad your intonation is. Use the 12th fret note when comparing to open string or the harmonic to see if the intonation is wrong. Do not compare the harmonic to the open string, it's a waste of time.
  11. Aerolithe


    Jan 23, 2005
    Columbia, MO
    12th fret harmonic by definition can't be out of tune with the open string, the proper way to check intonation would be to check the 12th fret harmonic against the 12th fret fretted, making the difference very obvious.
  12. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I've known this for quite some time, but I just recently set up a friend's bass and made that mistake. I guess I just thought the intonation was perfect straight from Korea... :rolleyes:

    Thankfully I still have the bass and will correct it.