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View Full Version : Perfect intonation, fact or fiction?



strumsilly
03-29-2013, 01:17 PM
a certain ukulele brand [who shall remain nameless] claims on their website that their instruments have perfect intonation. I have doubts that this is possible, especially without some compensation in the saddle. wouldn't the differing diameter of the strings make "perfect" intonation[ PI ] impossible without compensating? I happen to have one from this maker. the intonation is very good. I have seen great players take almost any instrument and make them sound good. they have that much control. on the other hand, I can take any instrument , even the best , and make it sound like it has poor intonation.

UkeKiddinMe
03-29-2013, 01:22 PM
For me, that's like saying the number 1.999 is Perfectly 2. Perfect - no. Very, very close - sure.

DaleR
03-29-2013, 01:42 PM
Fiction I says!!!:2cents:

It is all relative.

Patrick Madsen
03-29-2013, 02:04 PM
Depends on how deaf a person is and if the battery on the tuner is new.

strumsilly
03-29-2013, 02:09 PM
The word "perfect" is not perfect, it is subjective and can mean anything to anyone. Hopefully the weather where you are is as good as it is here and you will enjoy a little post on perfection and then get out and enjoy a great Easter Saturday doing something more about the musical part of owning a ukulele.It is and I am. went for a hike by a river today and going to a bluegrass jam at Randy Woods tm. life is good.

Hippie Dribble
03-29-2013, 02:24 PM
The word "perfect" is not perfect, it is subjective and can mean anything to anyone. The commercial standard is to tune everything with a reference of A=440Hz, but history tells us A can be anything from 430Hz to 445Hz.
If you want an objective description you need to specify the frequency of every note at every fret in Hz, relative to a given value for A, and with constant parameters like temperature and air pressure which affect the way the string vibrates and how the sound moves. This is not very practical, and is unlikely to ever be practical.
Beleiving everything you read in advertising material is a waste of time if you don't take it with a grain of salt. The vendor is trying to sell something, get over it. Do some reseach and start to be an educated buyer, so you know which parts of the spiel are spiel and which parts are useful information.
However, this is a great topic for discussion on a Saturday morning. Hopefully the weather where you are is as good as it is here and you will enjoy a little post on perfection and then get out and enjoy a great Easter Saturday doing something more about the musical part of owning a ukulele.

sounds like you could do with some of that beautiful WA sunshine too Bill :cheers:

PeteyHoudini
03-29-2013, 03:05 PM
I know I've been guilty in the past in my new Martin uke reviews of saying/claiming "perfection intonation." I think I would avoid that expression now and just say "good intonation." Nothing to do with the Martins but I doubt many of us just by ear can claim "perfect intonation." However... with BAD INTONATION... Oh, Lord the trouble I've seen. hehe

Petey

OldePhart
03-29-2013, 03:34 PM
I don't think you'll ever see mathematical perfection, but, perfection beyond what most tuners are capable of displaying (precision vs. accuracy) and what most people are hearing...yes, that's definitely achievable.

My most precise (again, precision vs. accuracy) tuner is my clip-on Peterson StroboClip. It is more precise because instead of worrying about how many divisions can be displayed it uses a simulated strobe display where movement is the key. Almost any uke with a proper setup can get "perfect" intonation as displayed by the StroboClip at the first couple of frets. Intonation further up the neck is much more problematic and is affected mostly by string selection.

Up the neck (12th fret) after much experimentation some of my ukes show "perfect" intonation on a Snark but not on the Stroboclip (again, precision vs. accuracy). Others don't even show "perfect" on the snark. Ironically, my most expensive uke has the worst intonation up the neck, and it hasn't liked any of the higher tension strings that would probably correct the situation.

John


John

bnolsen
03-29-2013, 04:12 PM
This is a joke considering string selection is just as important as setup. Tension, relative string diameter and saddle height all affect up the frets.

If this thread is about flea/fluke, i can tell you as shipped the fat Aquila C string is audibly out of tune up the frets.

Doc_J
03-29-2013, 04:31 PM
David Hurd has a nice web page on saddle compensation to get intonation accuracy within 0.001 inch on saddle height.
http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/compensate.html

Seems that you may need to change your saddle compensation for different string types for "perfect" intonation. That's too much work for me. :)

Mim
03-29-2013, 05:20 PM
The thing is, a lot of intonation too has to do with the strings. Not stretched enough, over stretched, old, new, brand. Heck even weather. So it may be perfect at some point but slowly change as your strings age, etc.

gyosh
03-29-2013, 05:42 PM
The thing is, a lot of intonation too has to do with the strings. Not stretched enough, over stretched, old, new, brand. Heck even weather. So it may be perfect at some point but slowly change as your strings age, etc.

Size, shape, height of frets. Finger position. Pressure.

Won't these all have an affect on intonation as well?

Bill Mc
03-29-2013, 06:48 PM
That claim is complete BS.

ricdoug
03-29-2013, 07:10 PM
It's science. Bovine scatology to be exact. Ric

ricdoug
03-29-2013, 07:11 PM
That claim is complete BS.

Billy Mac is a very wise man. Ric

ricdoug
03-29-2013, 07:12 PM
Fiction I says!!!:2cents:

It is all relative.

+1 I says in reply.

pulelehua
03-30-2013, 01:24 AM
Can a ukulele, on a given day, achieve a level of intonation which would be perceptibly perfect (that is, within the few cents tolerance which we simply can't distinguish with our imperfect ears)? If you take only a single string and its relationship to itself into account, then I would say yes.

Everything else gets into all the issues around tuning which were brought up a few weeks ago.

But I think we would all agree that a well-made ukulele gives you the best shot at audible, real world "perfection". With a good setup, it's possible to get "close enough", but with lots of ukuleles, it's totally impossible. And it's worth saying that the one is greatly preferred over the other.

UKEonomics
03-30-2013, 01:57 AM
Just to reiterate what's already been said here...nope. It's not possible for any fretted instrument to have perfect intonation.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't a non-fretted string instrument (in theory) have perfect intonation?

mm stan
03-30-2013, 02:09 AM
Tell me who knows what perfect intonation is and can tell.... :) acheiving as close to possible is what one can do.....is anything perfect for that matter?