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GKK
06-03-2011, 12:41 PM
What is a simple way to check for proper Intonation?

I've searched a lot on this forum and the internet and can't find a simple to understand method. Thank you.

ItsAMeCasey
06-03-2011, 12:44 PM
I think the easiest way would be to play a chord and listen closely. Is there a fast wavey kind of tone to the chord? If there is then that means one or more of the strings is out of tune. You can also pick the same note on two different strings and listen for that wavey-ness in the tone. The more wavey-ness the more out of tune. A perfectly in-tune chord will sound very settled and kind of drone. Hope this made a little sense haha!

SailingUke
06-03-2011, 12:53 PM
Use your tuner and make sure the string is in tune. Fret up the fret board one fret (1/2 step) at a time and read your tuner.
The notes should read out correctly. When you get to 12th fret you are one octave up. If the note is sharp or flat the intonation is off.
A few cents either way is acceptable. Proper set-up can influence intonation.

ichadwick
06-03-2011, 12:54 PM
First, lightly tap the string at the 12th fret while plucking it. Should produce a note exactly an octave higher.

the52blues
06-03-2011, 01:08 PM
I think the easiest way would be to play a chord and listen closely. Is there a fast wavey kind of tone to the chord? If there is then that means one or more of the strings is out of tune. You can also pick the same note on two different strings and listen for that wavey-ness in the tone. The more wavey-ness the more out of tune. A perfectly in-tune chord will sound very settled and kind of drone. Hope this made a little sense haha!

If you play any chord there should be a wavey tone. All intervals within the octave are slightly out of tune except for unisons and octaves. I am a piano tuner and that's how we tune a piano. Basically we use fourths and fifths as we move through the octave widening and narrowing as we go tuning each interval to so many beats a second flat or sharp depending on the interval. All 5ths are slightly narrower and 4ths are slightly wider producing waves or pulses. We then check the 3rds and 6ths and the pulses get progressively faster as you go up through the octave..6, 7, 8, 9 beats a second. It has only been done correctly when you have reached the octave (I tune F-F but some tune C-C) and it has no waves with it's lower octave. Then we tune the rest of the octave pure.
To check intonation on a stringed instrument you must compare the octave harmonic to the actual octave to see if they are pure. That, of course, will only tell you your bridge placement is correct. If your strings are too high or your frets badly placed your chords may still be out of tune so it really is a complex issue. If you can't get your instrument to play in tune it's best to take it to a professional and have it checked.

GKK
06-03-2011, 01:17 PM
Thanks everyone,

I found a Fretboard Chart with the correct notes for each string up to the 12th fret and my Kala Tenor played each note correctly on each string to the 12th fret as displayed by my Snark clip on tuner.

Here is the chart.
http://www.ukulelestrummers.com/Photos/fretboard5.jpg

ItsAMeCasey
06-03-2011, 02:26 PM
If you play any chord there should be a wavey tone. All intervals within the octave are slightly out of tune except for unisons and octaves. I am a piano tuner and that's how we tune a piano. Basically we use fourths and fifths as we move through the octave widening and narrowing as we go tuning each interval to so many beats a second flat or sharp depending on the interval. All 5ths are slightly narrower and 4ths are slightly wider producing waves or pulses. We then check the 3rds and 6ths and the pulses get progressively faster as you go up through the octave..6, 7, 8, 9 beats a second. It has only been done correctly when you have reached the octave (I tune F-F but some tune C-C) and it has no waves with it's lower octave. Then we tune the rest of the octave pure.
To check intonation on a stringed instrument you must compare the octave harmonic to the actual octave to see if they are pure. That, of course, will only tell you your bridge placement is correct. If your strings are too high or your frets badly placed your chords may still be out of tune so it really is a complex issue. If you can't get your instrument to play in tune it's best to take it to a professional and have it checked.

Lol, okay, you know what you're talking about much more than I do. I didn't mean to spread false info, I was just going off the knowledge of what I learned in my high school band class. All I was told was that the farther out of tune you are the faster the pulse is. Sorry didn't mean to spread false info!

Pondoro
06-03-2011, 03:07 PM
In my opinion the easiest way for a new player is to use a digital tuner. If you have a problem it is often worse at one end of the fret board. Example - you get a string perfectly in tune and then as you go up the frets each note gets more out of tune, until at some point it is hrribly out of tune. Opposite example - the 1st, fret is bad, 2nd fret less bad, 3rd fret is getting closer to correct, etc. The first example will happen if the saddle is too high and/or not "compensated" enough. The second example will happen if the saddle is compemsated too much or if the nut is too high.

Laouik
06-03-2011, 03:12 PM
Use your tuner and make sure the string is in tune. Fret up the fret board one fret (1/2 step) at a time and read your tuner.
The notes should read out correctly. When you get to 12th fret you are one octave up. If the note is sharp or flat the intonation is off.
A few cents either way is acceptable. Proper set-up can influence intonation.

mhmm. Using a headstock tuner, being pedantic, I make sure that both open string and 12th fret are both dead centre. I... yeah. I'm single.

70sSanO
06-03-2011, 03:31 PM
I agree with the suggestions to get a digital tuner. Tune the ukulele, check each string open, 1st fret and 12th fret.

They should all be close to being in tune. If they are not and you don't know how to make adjustments, then you should take the ukulele to a store that can do a ukulele setup.

John

the52blues
06-03-2011, 04:19 PM
Lol, okay, you know what you're talking about much more than I do. I didn't mean to spread false info, I was just going off the knowledge of what I learned in my high school band class. All I was told was that the farther out of tune you are the faster the pulse is. Sorry didn't mean to spread false info!

I didn't mean to be condescending in my answer. Your answer is correct if you are tuning one instrument to another or tuning a stringed instrument by fretting a lower string to give the same pitch on another. You want to eliminate the beat there to tune those two notes provided they are unison or octaves but as soon as you play a different interval or a chord (a chord is defined as playing more than 1 interval at the same time i.e. a major triad = a major third and a perfect fifth) there will be pulses. Have I bored you all to tears yet?

mr moonlight
06-03-2011, 11:47 PM
The easiest way to check if you don't have a tuner is to just play the harmonic on each string at the 12th fret (pluck the string while lightly touching it directly above the 12th fret) then see if the pitch is matched when you pluck the same string while holding it down at the 12th fret. If the pitch is the same, then your uke should be pretty well intonated as long as there's not something seriously wrong with the instrument. There are definitely more precise methods, but this is a just a quick method if you don't have a tuner handy.

Tudorp
06-04-2011, 02:35 AM
Like mentioned a couple times here, I like to check the harmonics at the 12th fret. It's tricky at first to time it, but once you get the hang of it, it is a quic and accurate check for intonation. Just touch the string with your left hand finger (don't push the string down, just lightly touch it). As you are touching the string, pluck that string with your right hand finger. As you pluck it, quickly lift your left finger off the string. The timing will be slightly after your pluck. The string will be a "bell" like ring at the same note as the open string if intonation is set correctly (same note, but an octive higher). So, if you are doing the "A" string, you should get an "A" plucking the open string, and the "Bell" sounding an "A" doing the 12th fret harmonic as said above. And so on with each string. If ya do, your intonation is good.

Pippin
06-04-2011, 04:35 AM
First, lightly tap the string at the 12th fret while plucking it. Should produce a note exactly an octave higher.

BINGO! Straight and to the point.

Dan Uke
06-04-2011, 06:03 AM
Like mentioned a couple times here, I like to check the harmonics at the 12th fret. It's tricky at first to time it, but once you get the hang of it, it is a quic and accurate check for intonation. Just touch the string with your left hand finger (don't push the string down, just lightly touch it). As you are touching the string, pluck that string with your right hand finger. As you pluck it, quickly lift your left finger off the string. The timing will be slightly after your pluck. The string will be a "bell" like ring at the same note as the open string if intonation is set correctly (same note, but an octive higher). So, if you are doing the "A" string, you should get an "A" plucking the open string, and the "Bell" sounding an "A" doing the 12th fret harmonic as said above. And so on with each string. If ya do, your intonation is good.

When I do it, the intonation is good but when I actually push the string down, it goes sharp. Does that mean intonation is off or my action is too high or most likely, my skills are not good enough.

v30
06-04-2011, 06:09 AM
Depending on where you hold that string at the 12th, the note will be all over the place. I think that's why folks are recommending you tap it and not hold it. It will probably take some practice to master

mr moonlight
06-04-2011, 06:35 AM
When I do it, the intonation is good but when I actually push the string down, it goes sharp. Does that mean intonation is off or my action is too high or most likely, my skills are not good enough.

It's pretty straight forward. When you actually push the string down, press it just enough so that it plays the note clearly. Any more pressure and it raises the possiblity of a false reading due to bending the string too much. The harmonic will always be spot on so you as long as you hear it, it's fine. If the note is sharp, the your intonation is off. If it's just slightly sharp you can get away with it.

Intonation can be fixed in a variety of ways. It could be that your action is too high. Your action should be roughly 3mm to 3.5mm high at the 12th fret (the distance between the bottom of the string and the fret board). If you're at 5mm it could affect your intonation. It could also be your strings. Bad or worn out strings could also cause problems. I just had a string on my Uke that was a half step low at the 12th fret while every other string is always a hair sharp. If your intonation is still off then your uke may need to be setup and your bridge bone may need some slight adjustments. Anything more than that and it's most likely time to get a new uke. I fixed the intonation on a friends guitar once and I actually had to remove the bridge and move it about 6mm to get the intonation right.

Dan Uke
06-04-2011, 07:35 AM
Thanks Mr Moonlight...makes sense but when youo said you had to move the bridge 6mm, how did you do that?

mr moonlight
06-04-2011, 07:56 AM
Thanks Mr Moonlight...makes sense but when youo said you had to move the bridge 6mm, how did you do that?

I used steam to loosen up the glue and slowly removed the bridge with a knife. I then chiseled out the finish in just the area where the bridge needed to be moved to and reglued it. I then cleaned up the now exposed area of the soundboard and refinished it.

Tudorp
06-04-2011, 09:48 AM
When I do it, the intonation is good but when I actually push the string down, it goes sharp. Does that mean intonation is off or my action is too high or most likely, my skills are not good enough.

You may be pressing too hard. Many new players (assuming you are new, I dont knwo), take on the bad habit of pushing the string down too hard which will make the note go sharp. That habbit comes from cheaper ukes, or ukes not property set up with good action. Those you do have to mash the heck out of the string. But when ya get your hands on one that is set up properly, you tend to push too hard making the notes sharp. If it is doing that, odds are your action is too high to be really accurate.

Tudorp
06-04-2011, 09:53 AM
Your action should be roughly 3mm to 3.5mm high at the 12th fret (the distance between the bottom of the string and the fret board).

Personally that is too high for me. I set up all mine at 1mm 1st fret, 2-2.5mm at the 12th. Plays like a dream. But then again, that way, ya better be sure you have a level fretboard and frets though.. But if they are, you can get away with a low action like that.

v30
06-04-2011, 11:26 AM
Was just checking my fluke, which are known for having spot on intonation and I have to press the string pretty hard at the 12th to get spot on intonation. What that means....I dunno....perhaps that they are all different depending on model of uke and maybe even strings etc..?

Tudorp
06-04-2011, 11:29 AM
Was just checking my fluke, which are known for having spot on intonation and I have to press the string pretty hard at the 12th to get spot on intonation. What that means....I dunno....perhaps that they are all different depending on model of uke and maybe even strings etc..?

Which would mean yours is "slightly" flat. But, if you can bring it in by pressure, you are pretty close to not worry too much about that.

v30
06-04-2011, 04:04 PM
Which would mean yours is "slightly" flat. But, if you can bring it in by pressure, you are pretty close to not worry too much about that.

....the uke is slightly flat period....or with those particular strings its slightly flat ? Ie, how much of a difference does different strings make?

Tudorp
06-04-2011, 05:21 PM
if they are old dead strings, it can mean allot. But, it could also be the uke itself. But if it is close, I wouldnt worry too much about it. Its difficult to get them spot on every time because other variables could give you a false reading, like finger position like mentioned somewhere above, too much, or too little fret pressure etc. This is why I check it using the harmonics method to take those variables out of it. I have been lucky and getting them spot on on my set ups.

wearymicrobe
06-06-2011, 01:38 PM
OK some misinformation in the thread. A harmonic strike does not check intonation on any instrument. Intonation is checked at any position with you fretting that position the way you would normally play. Its dependent on how hard you hold the string down, the diameter of the strings, string tension, bridge height, finger strength, break angle and the neck. all kinds of stuff goes into it.

Intonation at the 12th is as far as most people go when compensating a bridge on a ukulele. If you really think your Uke is only 1-2 points out from the factory you have struck the lottery have a terrible tuner or your not doing it right.

I have spent hours with a file trying to get one single high dollar uke compensated at 2 points out at the 12th.